Parque Maria Luisa, Seville is south of the city centre running along the Guadalquivir river and is full of striking historical buildings spread within a leafy area stuffed with fountains, flower beds and mature trees. It is Seville’s public park and main green area. This isn’t just a large green space, however, it is filled with must see things like exotic colourful tiled benches, and Moorish fountains and pools. It is a delightful space for a peaceful stroll. You can also get a boat ride or a horse drawn carriage from here. This post also reviews Hotel Alfonso XIII which is in the same area.
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Where to stay in the Parque Maria Luisa area of Seville
We stayed in this area at the very grand Hotel Alfonso XIII built for visitors to the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition. The regional style of elaborate brickwork and wrought iron brightened my culture loving soul.
The tram stops just outside the hotel garden, although we plan to walk everywhere, justifying the copious amounts of tapas we’d planned to consume.
The hotel lobby has a wow factor and hubby checked in while I strolled about gaping at ceilings, chandeliers and the vast number of colourful glazed ceramic tiles (a feature of Andalusian decoration for centuries). It’s interior is Neo-Mudejar and sumptuous.
I even needed to squeal and do small jumps on the spot when seeing these gorgeous lifts (I didn’t – bit exhausted from the journey). Beautifully pointed out by hubby here.
Reaching our floor, the lobby area looks more like a beautiful private dining room.
Glancing through the windows we get a nice view of the elegant courtyard below, where some tables of the San Fernando restaurant is placed. There is a beautiful fountain as a centrepiece.
Jame’s turn to model. The wrought iron is beautiful with the colourful Azulejos tile art.
Hunting for the breakfast room takes us through the lush ‘corridors’ that wrap around the courtyard.
Just outside the breakfast room an enormous fireplace demonstrates the elaborate nature of the hotel.
Tables look charming outside, and with a view of the pool, but we opt for the glamour inside.
Breakfast wasn’t as good as we expected. The cooked breakfast was pretty good, but there were a few left overs like peas and chips (odd!). We chatted about our plans for the day and enjoyed the room.
We feel very lucky and happy to be together.
What to see in the Parque Maria Luisa area of Seville
Full of fluffy scrambled eggs and crispy bacon we head for the old Royal Tobacco Factory next door, our first ‘sight to see’.
It’s huge with watch towers and a moat. The King’s tobacco monopoly was highly lucrative (as shown by this impressive doorway engraved with it’s story.
This monumental building is now part of the cities University (Universidad).
Built for the tobacco workers of old on one corner is a small chapel (now used by students) and, at another corner, a jail, used to punish workers caught smuggling tobacco (now used just for amusing selfies, I assume).
Walking straight through we pass into the clock and fountain patio.
Inside ‘cigarreras’, the female cigar-makers, would roll the cigars on their thighs. They were described as ‘more impertinent than chaste’.
The famous fictional gypsy heroine, Carmen, was imagined from the hot blooded ‘cigarreras’ working in this factory.
Tobacco leaves were dried on the roof. I love that the building seems stained a tobacco colour. Today the clouds look like smoke adding to the effect.
The 18th-century Baroque fountain is still intact. I look around wondering where the donkeys were used to shred the tobacco leaves with their hooves. Not around this lovely fountain surely?
We popped out the other side. It was still early, so we casually head towards the Plaza de Espana set within the greenery of the Parque Maria Luisa area.
We spot a promising tower at one corner of the roundabout and decided to head that way hoping it was Parque Maria Luisa.
As we turned the corner by this tower we all stopped in our tracks to the most glorious sight.
The Plaza de Espana was built as an impressive centrepiece to the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition. It’s a stunning semi-circular plaza and is very theatrical.
Gold fish appear to swim through the arches and clouds.
We could hardly believe what we were seeing and happily snapped away.
The semi-circular water way is crossed by 4 beautiful arched bridges.
James took some fabulous photos..
and we larked about having fun.
Crossing over the bridges there’s more to see.
A long row of highly ornate separated areas look like Roman style market stools but with bright Azulejos art each telling a story.
We head into the cooling greenery and meet the ducks, geese and swans.
Some were prettier than others…
Charlotte took a moment. The beads of leaping water were mesmerising.
The whole park is a series of intimate spaces or rooms. Seats are everywhere in the cool shade.
Trees are a mosaic of etched graffiti. Love being the main message.
Reaching the pavilions of Plaza de America, these buildings now house museums. This set of architecture celebrates Mudejar, Gothic and Renaissance styles.
It’s nice and calm,
so we sit and rest for a while…
Horse and carts trot by and it’s easy to imagine back in time.
This fountain seems to be just for the city’s birds.
A young lady near by sells seed. I can’t help but think ‘feed the birds, tuppence a bag’ all very Mary Poppins and late Victorian. Tho’ this area is clean and cheerful and definitely Spanish.
Where to drink and eat in Parque Maria Luisa area of Seville
We loved this dark and masculine bar. The American Bar is 1920’s in style and is old school glam back in the Hotel Alfonso XIII.
We like to sit up at the bar and watch the cocktails being made. The guys ordered Espresso Martinis.
I love the kit, all very from the era.
Charlotte’s bellini and my Amaretto Sour slipped down like nectar from the heavens.
Feeling relaxed we strolled to the hotels Ena restaurant for our dinner reservation. Taking family pics and saying ‘cheers’ over and over again.
The table is outside on the terrace and through the trees you can see a little square and fountain.
We ordered ‘Rice from Barcelona. 18th century: Sautéed prawns, mussels and squid with sobrasada sausage‘ from the ‘Spoon It Up’ part of the menu.
It was incredibly tasty!
Dessert was full of new and delightful experiences with: Chocolate, bread, oil and salt; Cru fruit – Osmotized fruit salad; and Froth of Catalan cream.
The Catalan Cream was incredible. Clouds of boozy cream.
If you return here for breakfast you may find yourself in this room, rather than the one mentioned earlier.
If you eat breakfast at Hotel Alfonso XIII don’t leave without seeing this nearby…
First, step outside the hotel entrance you come across this huge fountain in the square.
TURN LEFT. Because by the hotel, just off the fountain square, sitting by the river is Torre del Oro, The Tower of Gold. When the sun comes out the peak shimmers. Once it was clad in gilded azulejos.
Built in 1220 as a defensive lookout. There was a companion tower on the other side of the river. A huge chain could link the two preventing unwanted ships from sailing upriver.
It’s now the maritime museum, showing maritime maps and antiques. I love a map, but sadly it was closed when we were there.
With images of opulent towers of gold with booming cannons we spent the rest of the day exploring the Santa Cruz area. A favourite because much of the cities best known sights are there.
If you are looking for a hotel in Parque Maria Luisa, Seville Hotel Alfonso XIII is stunning. Just check if there will be wedding during your stay. Strangely, the party can be heard very loudly from all areas of the hotel!
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