The Ducal Palace of the House of Medina Sidonia, rather confusingly, is not located in the hill town of Medina Sidonia, but in the coastal town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda on the mouth of the River Guadalquivir.
It was the official residence of one of Spain´s oldest aristocratic families, which included the 7th Duke who captained the Spanish Armada, and more recently the famous Red Duchess, Luisa Isabel Álvarez de Toledo, imprisoned by Franco for her political beliefs. When she died in 2008 she left all the family treasures, including an archive of six million historic documents, in trust to the Fundación Casa Medina Sidonia. The archive is available for historical research and the Foundation is supported financially by proceeds from the Hospedería (guest-house) and cafeteria located within the Palace itself.
We stayed in the cheapest room (70 euros including tax and breakfast) and it was enormous, with a wooden beamed ceiling,ancient tapestries on the walls, and comfy armchairs and beds. The breakfast was simple but delicious, and the courtyard garden around which all the guest-rooms are located was just beautiful. It was like staying in a Parador but for less than half the price.
We were able to park for free in the courtyard at the front of the Palace, which is in the old quarter of Sanlúcar. It isn´t very easy to find but our SatNav got us to the door with no problems.
There are plenty of good places to eat and drink within a couple of minutes´ walk from the Palace, and the waterfront is about ten minutes away on foot.
Guided tours of the Palace and the archive are available in the summer months, but unfortunately we went too late in the year and were unable to participate. We will definitely be going back to rectify this!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The accommodation is located within the old palace of the Dukes of Medina Sidonia and the hotel is run by the Fundación Casa de Medina Sidonia. ... more less