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Hotel La Malvasia: Charm and nature at its best
We were looking for the best place to stay to explore Coto Doñana and do a bit of birdwatching, and we couldn't have done better. El Rocio is very interesting as a base, not only for its proximity to the national park but also for its unique, rugged beauty, and La Malvasia occupies the best corner of the village to enjoy it all. We liked the overall ambience a lot, from the entrance hall and public areas, the courtyard, and the dining area. The room was smallish but done in very good taste -- the old blue tiles with bird design which served as the "headboard" I found remarkable. The toilet was big, though one of the sinks was not working (not that we really needed a second one) and the walls of the shower area needed quite some scrubbing. We loved the Damana set of toiletries that was provided -- this was a great touch.
Our room faced the street side with a corral in front and it was nice to see a horse or two in the late afternoons from our window, and just pure pleasure to be woken up to the sound of birds in the morning. Just across the hotel is an ornithology center where one can get the best view of the birds (mainly the ducks and the flamingoes) from the viewing deck on the upper floor. Also just across the hotel is the start of a boardwalk along the lake.
My only quibble is the breakfast -- on the day of our Doñana tour, we had to have breakfast at half past seven, and were served only 2 slices of toast, with 2 slices each of ham, jamon iberico, cheese, some packets of butter and marmalade, and coffee with milk. We were waiting for some juice or fruit, and maybe yogurt but there was none. We thought it was not really worth the amount of the additional payment we made for the breakfast. In any case, on the second day, the breakfast was better as there was a bit more to choose from -- more bread, and it was buffet style though still relatively paltry. Something hot would have been appreciated. There was fresh orange juice, though, this time.
Wifi was very good. The TV channels, though, left something to be desired. It would be great to have at least one international news channel in English.
Overall, an excellent place to stay in and highly recommended. Already we have noted it for a next visit to this side of Andalusia.
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