The Spanish treasure of Córdoba, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, harbors many Andalusian jewels—the Alcázar, the Mezquita, and one of three synagogues to survive the Expulsion in 1492, as well as the boutique Hospes Palacio Del Bailio, the only five-star hotel in the historic quarter.
Situated around five verdant patios, one with a swimming pool, the 16th-century palace, carriage house, and barn were impeccably restored, as were period friezes and wall paintings. The hotel’s highlight is its dining courtyard suspended on a transparent floor over the remains of a Roman villa, the discovery of which temporarily stalled renovations.
Restaurant Senzone now gives diners a magnificent view of the relics below to accompany Spanish- and Moorish-influenced fare, like steamed monkfish, Salmorejo tomato soup, and gazpacho sorbet.
The hotel’s historic vestiges elegantly fuse with clean, contemporary lines in 53 rooms and suites; the top-floor Grand Suite Loft ($900 a night), appointed in velvet, leather, and Sierra Elvira marble, is flooded with sunlight from 14 windows offering panoramic views of Córdoba and nearby Dolores Convent.
The subterranean Bodyna Spa has relaxing Roman-style baths and an extensive menu of body treatments, and on Saturday nights, the likes of Bill Clinton, Heidi Klum, and Philippe Starck have enjoyed tapas and the flamenco strummings of renowned guitarist Alberto Lucena in the balmy courtyard.
Hospes’s blend of cuisine, comfort, and culture can also be appreciated in their other historic properties in Seville, Mallorca, Alicante, Granada, Valencia, and Madrid.