The Hotel Alfonso 13th is a historic building located in the city of Seville, between the Puerta de Jerez, the San Telmo Palace and the Tobacco Factory. The hotel is owned by the Seville City Council and currently offers its services, under an administrative concession system, through the The Luxury Collection by Starwood hotel chain.
At the beginning of the 20th century, a contest was held for a hotel for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. The bases of this contest were drafted by the regionalist architect Aníbal González. The contest was won by the architect José Espiau y Muñoz.
The hotel was built between 1916 and 1928. Alfonso 13th showed great interest in the achievement of the works and established indications on how some areas should be completed.
It was officially inaugurated on April 28, 1928, with the celebration of a sumptuous banquet presided over by King Alfonso 13th and Queen Victoria Eugenia, on the occasion of the agreement between the Infanta Isabel Alfonsa and Count Juan Zamoyski. The decoration of the act was that of a flamenco festival with charity that had been celebrated on April 27, coinciding with the end of the Feria de Abril, so there were also lanterns and garlands.
During the Second Republic, it was renamed Hotel Andalucía Palace, recovering after the Civil War its initial name, which it currently conserves.
In 1962, scenes from the film Lawrence of Arabia were shot at the hotel.
It is considered an Asset of Cultural Interest since 1998.
In 2011 it was completely renovated and reopened on March 13, 2012. The reform cost 25 million dollars.
In 2015 it was considered the eighth most luxurious hotel in Europe and 33 in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine.
It is an example of historicist architecture, with roots in the Andalusian regional style and neo-Mudejar. This historicism is characteristic of the rest of the buildings planned for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. The façade and the interior possess an important wealth of decorative elements and details, obtained with typical materials of the region, such as brick, plaster, wood and the ceramic.
The interior is decorated with arches, columns, craft lamps and coffered ceilings and carpets from the Royal Tapestry Factory. The walls, ceiling and other parts are decorated with tiles. The floors are made of marble and parquet slabs.
It has a large interior patio and eight rooms for banquets and etiquette events.
The Royal Room was the old main dining room of the hotel and stands out for its size and ornamentation. This is accessed through an iron fence forged similar to those that close the choirs of some Andalusian cathedrals. Inside, eleven Bohemian crystal chandeliers and gold patinated bronze are described, a palatial coffered ceiling, large arched doors with mahogany and brick interspersed with tiles and doors leading to the terrace above the garden. Also noteworthy are the Andalusia, Híspalis and Cartuja halls, all of neoclassical style with gilded stuccos, doors and arched windows, glass chandeliers of Bohemia and marble floors. The rest are the San Telmo Room, the Itálica Room, the Betis Room (Roman name of the Guadalquivir) and the Triana Hall.
In the field of gastronomy, it has three restaurants. The restaurant San Fernando is focused on local cuisine The restaurant Ena, governed by a chef with a Michelin star, mixes Andalusian and Catalan cuisine. The Taifas restaurant has more usual dishes. It also has a bar, the American, specialized in cocktails.
Diplomats representing the Ibero-American countries, as well as King Alfonso and his wife, attended the 1929 exhibition. However, no foreign presidents attended, except the Norwegian President Johan Ludwig Mowinekel, who came for a private visit, and the Portuguese President Fragoso. The hotel housed personalities during the 1992 show, such as Prince Charles and Diana of Wales. It is usual to host the personalities that visit the city, such as Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Madonna and Bruce Springsteen.
Some employees of this hotel say that on the penultimate floor there is someone who is reluctant to leave the building. Some clients say they have seen in their room a man very well dressed in a tailcoat, sometimes sitting quietly in the armchair and sometimes at the foot of the bed. It appears and disappears suddenly.
They say that it is the ghost of a client who died last century in a strange and strange way.