After climbing the steep cobble-stoned street up to the old part of Arcos de la Frontera in the midday early-summer sun with a pack on back, my T-shirt is drenched right through to the skin. "I'm sweatin' like Elvis," I sing to myself as I follow the well-marked signs to El Convento--a little hotel I'd fallen in love with from pics on their web site. On a narrow side-street I find the cute entrance and enter the air-conditioned lobby. I'm greeted with a friendly smile by a woman at the desk, "Buenos tardes!" Without delay, I'm given the keys to "Room #6".
The room's decor is absolutely gorgeous; dark wood staircase, furniture, and bed posts, white drapes and bed sheets, tasteful watercolours of the town of Arcos adorn the walls.
Everything is immaculately clean--the floor, the bathroom, the bed sheets, the pillows, the towels, the furniture, the balcony.
I booked this hotel a month in advance, chose a less expensive room, and I'm pleasantly surprised to discover that I have the largest outside patio of them all. I love the outside flower box, tile-work, furniture, and view of the countryside and castle beside us.
The neighbours say "Hello!" that night from their patio--they're fellow Canadians and offer me drinks of Sherry from Jerez in exchange for some of my cigarettes. I brag, "Do you like my balcony?" When we run out of drinks, I walk up to the lobby and the receptionist gives me a several cans of beer.
Up late the next morning for breakfast; it wasn't included in the price, but it wasn't expensive. From the large menu I order toast, coffee, eggs, sausage, tomato. It's delicious. The staff are the friendliest workers I met during my entire stay in Spain.
I don't know why the prettiest hotel, with the nicest room, fantastic staff, and greatest view I've ever stayed at have a broken shower head and a broken wall hair-dryer. That seems a bit bizarre, doesn't it?
Do not: Attempt to drive up to the old town unless you are familiar with it. The streets are so narrow that you will do damage to the car.
Unique Quality: Unbelievable view of the countryside.
Directions: Signs throughout Arcos clearly mark the way to this hotel.
Part of this hotel is what used to be a 17th century convent but now a small hotel which has beautiful views from its roof top rerrace over the valley below. There is also a restaurant.
In the second photo you can see the lovely mosaics on the wall of the hotel.
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