4 May 2015

The Lost Kingdom of Andalusia




Las Bodegas Tio Pepe

One can write several opinions and still fall a mile short of nailing its essence.
So here we are landing in Jerez de la Frontera, the province of Cadiz, community of Andalusia.  
A romantic old city full of history and magic. 

For this trip I have chosen Melia Sancti Petri Hotel Deluxe *****(Located right next to the Atlantic Ocean on La Barrosa beach with a reference point for superior quality), a visit to one of the oldest sherry and brandies bodegas in Jerez, El Tío Pepe, a Flamenco night-out and a short stop to Seville Cathedral. 

Melia Sancti Petri Hotel Deluxe *****
 Starting with a quick review of this stunning hotel, I must say that the combination of a Moorish palace and Andalusian hacienda elements, creates a new autonomous style, with a reflection of the traditional southern Spain but still offering all of the most modern comforts. 
Melia Sancti Petri Hotel Deluxe *****


The hotel has near it a 18 hole golf course 'La Estancia' and is situated less than 5 minutes apart from another 4 golf courses in Chiclana. The hotel is proudly offering  Royal Services, magnificent Spa, shopping gallery and exclusive restaurants. The perfect recipe for a long weekend. I must mention that the staff was incredibly friendly. Beatriz Rodrigues Pardo, the Guest Experience Manager at the hotel ,has made our stay more special than ever. Her concierge was absolutely top level. We've been advised to visit at least one of the 'White Villages' and the restaurant 'La Fontanilla' and so we did. 


Vejer de la Frontera
We've decided for one of the White Villages, Vejer de la Frontera
... Perhaps Spain's most spectacular village, where we had dinner at one of Andalusia's prime eating destination, set in one of Vejer's most important historical building

' Here at the Califa we use only free range eggs and chicken and organic beef (from the local Retinto breed). Our vegetables are 95/% locally sourced (from the province) and almost 60%(depending on the season) are organic.We even have our own smallholding where we are starting to grow our own produce. At the Califa we use only organic certified sugar and flours (from Malaga Sierras). Not only is our produce top quality but it tastes better and travels less to get to the table!'
Melia Sancti Petri Hotel Deluxe *****

The ambiance of the restaurant is created by four unique and original areas  in which you can dine and enjoy your time. 

  • The Aljibe, which is actually the interiour of an ancient water cistern built during the Islamic era of Vejer. 
  • The Templo
  • The Pergola
  • The Garden  
El Jardin del Califa
Prices are incredibly affordable (1,5 Euros a cortado)  and the setting is absolutely gorgeous. I would travel back there just for a day spent in Vejer. Small cosy white streets, friendly people and the smell of history makes you feel part of the scenery, just like those days. 





El Jardin del Califa
El Jardin del Califa
       After a lovely evening at Califa's Garden, the second day we booked ourselves for a  private sherry tour which includes tasting very old brandy and sherry , winery visits and an amazing tapas lunch just for the two of us in the middle of the nature. The perfect image for a real taste of Andalusian wine, food and hospitality. 
  A bit tired but still with a lot of satisfaction, in the afternoon we enjoyed an amazing sunset in El Puerto de Santa Maria, in Jerez, where we discovered La Cava. A traditional tavern with  a distinctive flamenco feel. 
I cannot express in words how happy one can feel once you hear the show is starting, the claps and the music of this 200 years old Spanish art.