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“Exactly what we were looking for.”

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Hacienda de San Rafael
Certificate of Excellence
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Exactly what we were looking for.”
Reviewed 16 May 2013

I cannot say enough good things about the Hacienda de San Rafael. We travelled for 2 weeks throughout Central Spain and Andalucia, renting apartments and houses in the center of town in each place, and having a fantastic time all the while. But when when it came to Sevilla, we knew that we wanted to slow down, relax and enjoy the beauty of the countryside. The Hacienda offered us just what we were after.

It should be noted that you should reject any urge to force the Hacienda into the "luxury resort" category. A luxury resort is a bigger, fancier, more expensive hotel. The Hacienda is not that. The Hacienda has SOUL. In fact, we were actively avoiding anything that even resembled a resort. We did not want electronic key cards. We did not want to sit in our room and watch HBO. We were looking for coziness, natural beauty and relaxation. And that's what we got. The grounds are definitely gorgeous with just a couple handfuls of rooms, all facing in to a charming cobblestone courtyard. Our room was fairly large and very clean, with modern shower, big tub, and a winding staircase leading to a 2nd floor loft space. The Hacienda itself was 35-40 mins from Sevilla, surrounded by miles of breathtaking farmland.

The bonus to it all was the phenomenally high level of service that never ceased in making us feel special and taken care of. The food was always fresh and good, and anytime we wanted a drink, we got one. Yes, dinner was pre-set, but we were happy to relinquish the decision-making for once. They certainly asked us if there was anything we did NOT want, or were allergic to, and although we almost always abide by the "When in Rome" rule, my wife does not eat duck, and they were more than happy to accommodate her and replace it with Hake. Other than that one exception, we had faith that no matter what meal was, it was going to be good. And it definitely was. [there was a very nice avocado salad with buttery shrimp (throughout a lifetime of not liking shrimp, these were the only ones I ever enjoyed), then came the hake and duck, both included a potato puree and caramelized vegetables. Dessert was a light parfait, fresh berries with syrup, and sorbet] Clean authentic flavors, spot-on portion sizes, and plenty of wine. After dinner, we moved to the living room and enjoyed a sherry by the fire. We struck up a nice conversation with a friendly English couple who had been going to the Hacienda for years, and said that it only continues to get better each time they visit.

Aside from the food and drink, the managers Yvonne and Jerri were very helpful in arranging several activities for us. We went horseback riding through the countryside with the fantastic Gonzaga, owner of the nearby Los Camachos stables/ranch, and when we returned we rested by the pool before getting some much needed massages. They also arranged a driver, a lovely gentleman named Juan, to drive us to Sevilla on two separate days for some shopping, flamenco, and to see the bullfight we had gotten tickets for. (procuring Juan was not free, but it was our honeymoon, and we wanted to drink, so it was money well spent)

Sadly, we did not have enough time to see Jerez or other surrounding towns, but it gives us the perfect excuse to return, make the Hacienda our home base, and further explore the awesomeness of Andalucia. The Hacienda is a very special place, and we feel so fortunate to have found it.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
1 Thank 944KenB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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226 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (41)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Great Falls, Virginia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 May 2013

We had staid at Hotel Corral del Rey in Sevilla the night before, so got tuned in to the house style right there. And style there is ...exponentially.
The isolated beauty of this finca is stunning, in all its simplicity though ...the owners don't try to impress with all the high tech bells and whistles that the new boutique hotels often come with, but rather with a harmonious andalusian country experience that is reflected in the hacienda's architecture, its room style, the patio furnishings, ...
Talking about patios, I'm not sure we've discovered all of them...the cosy table for 2 just outside the rooms, the inner courtyard, the covered patios near the pool and the dining area, which in turn is an open thatched roof patio.
When we were told that dining is fixed 3 course menu only we were slightly disturbed (I have a craving for specific Spanish food specialties), but at both occasions of the evenings we dined in, food was absolutely gorgious. Wines (of very decent quality) turned out to be included and plentiful to the point that our hosts encouraged to take unfinished bottles along and enjoy them in the privacy of our room or wherever...
Our package booked through Mr and Mrs Smith included a picknick, half bottle of sherry and a sherry tasting in a bodega.
My girlfriend suprised me with the picknick for which she conspired with the hotel staff to set it up amidst the olive trees. Wines turned out to be included and there was no issue about consuming a bottle of champagne that we brought (no corkage). The half bottle of sherry came to our room. And when the timing for the private bodega tour did not turn out to fit our schedule, we were offered a local bottle of manzanilla in compensation..unexpected, but most appreciated ...
We visited the Feria de Jerez (or Feria del Caballo, held early May each year) and when we were on our way and needed a suggestion for lunch, the hotel owner Anthony, texted us his preference along with directions and on arrival a half hour later our table was reserved with a properly spelled name tag welcoming us.
The whole experience, along with all staff's friendliness and helpfulness (especially the main hostess Yvonne), just makes for a unique and very special experience. We don't tend to go back to places...but I think this oasis of wellbeing is luring ...

Room Tip: There are 3 casitas with a private pool that we didn't know about ; I would definitely go for th...
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  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
1 Thank Luca_Cacciatore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
200 reviews
68 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 122 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 May 2013

I'm a bit torn about this place. The property is wonderful, the public spaces beautiful and the staff could not have been more lovely but the accommodation - we stayed in a casita - just isn't good enough to justify the luxury label or the price. For example, the bed was horribly uncomfortable, the pillows flattened to nothing and the towels, though spotlessly clean, were obviously very old. (Nothing wrong with old towels by the way, just not my idea of luxury!) As another reviewer mentioned, there's nowhere really comfortable to sit in the casita and the standard of decoration was poor compared with hotels in a similar price bracket.

Probably my fault for not checking more thoroughly, but it never even crossed my mind that a luxury resort wouldn't have wi-fi or TV in the rooms or offer a choice of food and wine. It's the hotel's 'concept' to strip away the technology of day to day life but it's a step too far for me and despite the fact that this place does have some excellent points, our overall the experience was too much about the 'concept' and not enough about responding to guests' requirements. I'm afraid we wouldn't go back.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank MCE63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
arles
1 review
Reviewed 30 April 2013

it was a beautiful stay ! my entire family enjoyed their time !
staff was great, very good restaurant with fresh food ! we recommend the place highly !!!
it is sure if we will come back to andalousia we will stay at the hacienda!!!

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
Thank veran v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed 24 April 2013

When we visited the hotel Hacienda de San Rafael in Mexico we absolutely loved it. We simply cannot recommend it more highly. For us, it was one of the most beautiful places that we have ever had the opportunity to visit. My entire family hugely enjoyed their time there.

Stayed October 2012, travelled with family
Helpful?
Thank R_C_H890
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Buxton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
64 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 April 2013

This is as others have said a delightful and characterful Andalusian hacienda. It has nice gardens and is very pleasant. The staff are superb. For a couple of nights it's a nice break. However it is so isolated that you are dependent on the fixed menu in the evenings, especially as the nearby roadside cafes close at around 8 in the evening.
Moreover it is described as a "five star hotel" which it is not. Rooms are dark and the fire alarm in ours was disconnected. There is no tv in the ordinary rooms which is not acceptable at the price. Sockets are there and I presume the tvs have been removed because of complaints about noise from adjoining rooms. Neither is there a fridge, which would have been helpful. Fire extinguishers were last checked in 2009 so the hotel wouldn't have received any stars in England - it would have been closed down.
If you are looking to book this hotel, please read the negative reviews and ponder why here is such divergence between the reviewers' opinions. Particularly read the review entitled "Kensington in Andalusia". If your name is Giles or Miranda, you will probably feel at home in this hotel. Also note the travel agent style of some of the positive reviews and you may come to the same conclusion as I did. The concept is of an upmarket Sloane Ranger sort of country weekend retreat. It didn't work for me, whereas the owners' other hotel in the Barrio Santa Cruz of Seville did work for me. Maybe it's because I am not a Sloane Ranger.
A real negative is the set menu dinner. It was pricey at 55 euros a head, but not unreasonable for this type of establishment. The quality was well above average for Andalusia, but the lack of choice was a deal breaker for us. Shame really, as the individual dishes I liked were good.

Couldn't fault the staff though - every one of them is top notch. If I were the owners I would emulate their Seville hotel concept, which is superb.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank CFC1899
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Benchamark C, Owner at Hacienda de San Rafael, responded to this review, 15 April 2013
Dear Guest,
Thank you for your post and sorry to hear that the Hacienda did not fully exceed your expectations.

I would just like to address a number of points that you raised, as I think it is important to clarify for the rest of our travelling community in order to avoid any further possible misinterpretations of our concept and philiosphy.

The choice not to have televisions in the bedrooms has been one we made from the outset when the Hacienda first opened 20 years ago. The idea of the Hacienda is that of a countryside retreat and we actively encourage this, we have never had televisions in the rooms and most of our guests welcome the chance for peace and quiet. The concept in our sister hotel Corral del Rey in Seville is different and as you say, “more high-tech”, and again this has been done on purpose, we do not feel that this same concept would work in the countryside.

The restoration of the Hacienda (a building over 350 years old) has been done in keeping with its original structure and features and the rooms all have shutters in order to keep out the hot Andalusian summer sun, it would not be in keeping with the original building to have put larger windows in.

Our guests are not all British and certainly do not all come from Sloane Square or Kensington although those guests that do come from that part of London have always been polite and pleasant so I don´t really see why this would be a problem. Our guests come from all over the world creating a nice mix of nationalities.

Our daily set menu dinner formula is the module that works best and we have received very positive feedback from the majority of our guests over the years. If our guests do not want the full three course dinner they are not obliged to and the chef is flexible. There are other tapas bars and restaurants which guests can drive to if they wish to try something else and our staff are always happy to give maps and restaurant suggestions, Spanish restaurants in Jerez and Utrera are often visited by our guests.

The hotel is rigorously checked to comply with Spanish health & safety laws and all certificates are in place.

I feel that your needs were more suited to our sister hotel in Seville but as I say, we have many guests who love the concept we have created in the Andalucian countryside and come back year after year.

I am sure we will be able to restore your confidence in our product and hope to be able to welcome you back on another occassion.

Anthony
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
39 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 April 2013

In a bid to escape the freezing cold of March in the UK my partner came up with this. I think i can agree with most of the reviewers comments.
Our room(11) was a bit bigger than most, being on the corner of the main building, though its spiral staircase to the mezzanine would not suit the infirm.
We were abit underwhelmed with the two evening meals we had, overpriced for what it was and no choice, better to go for the lunch, lovely and about 5 choices. It is a long drive to Seville or Jerez just to go out for a meal(Giles,Cadiz is even further), so try and combine any sight seeing with eating.
Breakfast was continental (as we knew), you could have anything to order, but even cereal was extra!
The staff were all very helpfull, only the maids couldnt speak english, but i would have been very surprised if they had!
Make sure you have a decent map, and if its dark you might well struggle to find the entrance, its not lit and the signs are small.
So we enjoyed our stay, we did get a 4 for 2 nights deal, otherwise i probably would have grumbled about the cost. At full cost i have marked it average.

Room Tip: Room 11 larger than most.
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank lpjones666
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hacienda de San Rafael

Property: Hacienda de San Rafael
Address: Carretera Nacional IV (km 594), 41730 Las Cabezas de San-Juan, Spain
Region: Spain > Andalucia > Province of Seville > Las Cabezas de San-Juan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Las Cabezas de San-Juan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:3 star — Hacienda de San Rafael 3*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Lying half between Seville & Jerez in the heart of Andalucia, the 300 year old Hacienda de San Rafael is a lovingly restored hotel of great charm. Formally a thriving olive farm, the hacienda now comprises 11 deluxe luxurious en suite bedrooms & 3 new thatched cottages or "casitas" set in an exclusive garden area and sharing their own infinity pool, perfect for those seeking privacy and space. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hacienda De San Rafael Hotel Seville
Hacienda De San Rafael Seville
Hacienda De San Rafael Las Cabezas De San-Juan, Spain - Province Of Seville

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