Six of the best: Seville boutique hotels

EL REY MORO

Suitably well hidden in the maze of the former Jewish quarter, Barrio de Santa Cruz, El Rey Moro sprawls around a delectable central courtyard and a buzzy tapas restaurant. The most gorgeous rooms have balconies overlooking the courtyard – and the hand-painted antique bedside tables are particularly charming.

The freebies are handy here too – guests can take a gratis bike out for the day or soak in the rooftop hot tub. There's also a fridge, where you can help yourself to bottles of mineral water, and a mini-library stuffed full of books. Doubles cost from 79 euros.

See elreymoro.com.

HOTEL CASA 1800

The attention to detail in this converted 19th-century house is exceptional. The rooms are fabulously unstandardised, although wooden beamed ceilings and exposed brickwork are commonplace. All the furniture has been specifically designed to fit the space, and rooms on the ground floor have their own small patios. Exotic elondo wood floors, heavily panelled lifts and flourishingly decorative headboards give an atmosphere of richness, while the free afternoon snacks in the central patio area foster an endearing sense of community among predictably delighted guests. Doubles are available from 120 euros.

See hotelcasa1800sevilla.com.

PALACIO  VILLAPANES

Still used as a private palace until 1995, the Villapanes has retained as much of the 18th-century stonework as possible. Wooden ceilings have also been retained, and the central patio with its gushing cherub fountain is used as a proud centrepiece, often used for flamenco performances over dinner. The vibe is one of refined class rather than homely-but-basic charm. Free-standing baths and hydromassage showers in the bathrooms indicate that they've never gone for the cheap option when it has presented itself, while the plush spa is a justifiable source of pride. Doubles cost from 173 euros.

See palaciovillapanes.com.

FONTECRUZ SEVILLA

Other Seville hotels play up their old world charm, but the Fontecruz has plumped for a defiantly modern look. Fluffy feather duster-style balls hang from the ceiling in the leather and contemporary art-drenched reception, while furnishings in the rooms make no pretence at antique. The stars are the extras here, though. The barrel-vaulted brick hammam works the magic inside, while outside the pool and sundeck compete for attention with the bar-lined rooftop terrace offering near-perfect views of the cathedral's iconic Giralda tower. Look out for the flamenco guitars slotted into wall recesses too. Doubles start at 128 euros.

See fontecruzhoteles.com/hotel-fontecruz-sevilla.

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HOSPES LAS CASAS DEL REY DE BAEZA

A little further out of the action than most, the 41-room Hospes property is notable for its sense of unflustered peacefulness. As with so many of Seville's more charming properties, it's based around courtyards, but the whitewashed walls and sky-blue painted supporting columns make them feel like heaven's waiting room. Scores of plant pots line the staircases, old trunks in the corridors have baskets of oranges in them, and books about the joys of sleeping and rest are left on tables in the common areas. Doubles cost from 135 euros.

See hospes.com.

ALFONSO XIII

Even if you're not staying here, this decadent monument to ornate ostentation is worth ambling around. The public areas are all rich dark wood roofs, drenchings of top-grade tile art, bravura chandeliers and swoony stained glass windows. Rooms are either in Andalucian, Castilian or Moorish style – take your pick – and bathrooms have special, glimmering glazed tiles made in the traditional Triana workshops. The classic American-style bar has black and white photos of former guests on the walls. These include Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif, who stayed while filming Lawrence of Arabia. Doubles start at 252 euros. 

See hotel-alfonsoxiii-seville.com.

The writer paid for his own visit to Seville.

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