Alfonso XIII, Luxury Collection Hotel - Booking
In the fall of 2021, I made the leap to the U.S. credit card game by signing up for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card offered by American Express. In addition to a 150,000 point welcome bonus, I received a free night certificate of 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
Under the former Marriott Bonvoy program, such a certificate allowed you to book an overnight stay in a category 8 hotel, the highest category in the program during so-called “regular” times (i.e., not during low or high season). I used this certificate to book a night at the Alfonso XIII Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel in Seville, Spain, during the Feria de Abril.
This luxury hotel, named after the sovereign of the time, was built in anticipation of the 1929 World’s Fair to accommodate international dignitaries. As it is an emblematic monument of the city, located at a stone’s throw from the most touristic places (Cathedral, Alcazar, Torre del Oro and others), it goes without saying that the hotel was fully booked for the week that the event lasted.
Booking a night’s stay at the regular rate required a lot of gymnastics and a few hours less sleep, until the Holy Grail magically appeared on the mobile application: the website was full.
Alfonso XIII, Luxury Collection Hotel - Negotiation of the Suite upgrade
In the hours leading up to our arrival at the hotel, I set the stage to try to negotiate a suite upgrade via chat. I put my cards on the table: we are in Spain for our honeymoon (even if the wedding was in September 2019) and my wife is 6 months pregnant… Enough to soften any heart of stone.
I also make it clear that I don’t need an early arrival or a late departure to maximize my chances. I was told after a few hours that due to the Feria de Abril, the hotel was full and that I could not be guaranteed a suite, but that my Platinum status would be considered at check-in. So it’s not looking good.
On the D-Day, before leaving Ronda for Seville, I try again. Bingo! A suite overlooking the inner courtyard is available, but they are careful to inform me that a late check-out will not be possible since it is already reserved for the next day. Forget the late check-out, I choose the suite upgrade. Not being a big fan of staying in hotels (the purpose of traveling being to visit), leaving at noon was of no consequence.
Alfonso XIII, Luxury Collection Hotel - Location
The hotel is very well located, in the heart of the historic district of Santa Cruz. It is located near the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See and the Royal Alcázars of Seville.
Alfonso XIII, Luxury Collection Hotel - Arrival at the hotel
During the Feria de Abril, looks are important. The women wear their best Flamenco dresses and the men wear suits. And to make a smashing entrance to the Feria, it is in a horse-drawn carriage that one struts to get there. The carriages were everywhere, so I let you imagine the traffic flow in the roundabouts of Seville. My wife and I quickly gave up the idea of driving in circles around the hotel to find a place to park the rental car.
At 25 euros a day, the valet parking service in this luxury hotel where we stayed for free seemed reasonable. So we took the small private street that leads to the hotel with our gleaming Seat Arona, navigating between the horse-drawn carriages and the luxury cars. Once in front of the hotel, we were freed of the car keys and all the car’s content. We did not touch any luggage for the rest of our stay.
Alfonso XIII, Luxury Collection Hotel - Registration
We go up the steps to the reception: the hotel is full and it shows. At least 5 employees are assigned to check-in/check-out and the two concierges seem completely overwhelmed. We are received with what seems to be the usual courtesies of a luxury hotel. Obviously, our room is not ready, because the discussions are stretching, as our patience.
We finally take our seats on two thrones in the lobby until, about 20 minutes later, we are escorted to our room. Vintage elevator, richly decorated halls, ceramics with small naked angels: everything is magnificent in this hotel.
Alfonso XIII, Luxury Collection Hotel - The Deluxe Suite
We visit the suite accompanied by the hotel staff. Everything is indescribably beautiful: the posters of Andalusian horses in the entrance hall, the historical photos on the walls of the living room, the huge bedroom with woodwork and a breathtaking bathroom. A welcome gift is placed on the table at the entrance.
We are asked if we want to open the windows of the inner courtyard. About fifteen minutes later, a person shows up at our door to make us sign a consent form to open the windows…
I went back to the lobby after about 30 minutes of waiting for our luggage (we needed our swimsuits to go the pool). I blame my inexperience in the happy world of high end hotels for not requesting room luggage delivery at check-in (according to my AirTags, our luggage was waiting in the car in the hotel parking lot). They were delivered right on time.
Alfonso XIII, Luxury Collection Hotel - Breakfast
The Luxury Collection hotels with restaurants offer breakfast for Marriott Bonvoy Platinum members. At the Alfonso XIII Hotel, the buffet breakfast is served in the ballroom, an absolutely stunning room. Madam has filled up on pastries, Mister has filled up on Iberian ham. Everything was absolutely delicious and beautifully presented.
Alfonso XIII, Luxury Collection Hotel - Other services
The hotel’s swimming pool is outstanding, but the water is a bit cold (we are at the beginning of May and the mercury is close to 30 degrees). Mother nature having seen fit to play tricks on us, we could not enjoy it for more than thirty minutes.
The hotel’s gardens, which we visited in a hurry, were beautiful.
As for the interior of the hotel, during the Feria de Abril, the American Bar was closed in favour of tables and chairs set up around the perimeter and in the inner courtyard.
The hotel’s restaurant seemed uninteresting both for its menu (not to mention the prices) and its location.
We had a drink in the section set up exclusively for the Feria de Abril. A beer and a rebujito, typical cocktail of the Feria de Abril made of an overripe white wine which, by itself, is rather indigestible, and a soft drink like Sprite/7Up. I said goodbye to about twenty euros.
Having a small craving, but not wishing to have to leave a puncture on our first born, we decided to leave the hotel for a quick snack. When we returned, they had placed two linen and silk mats on each side of our bed with chocolate and a personalized note wishing us a good night. We regret having missed them…
Alfonso XIII, Luxury Collection Hotel - Departure
Around noon, after breakfast, we left everything in the room and went to discover the hotel. We were told we had to leave by noon, only to have it pushed back to 3:00 pm. We were even offered to leave at noon while occupying a different room in the meantime.
Finally, 3:00 p.m. was just right for us, so we went to the lobby to complete the departure formalities. Once again, Feria de Abril obliges, we had to wait about fifteen minutes on the same thrones of the reception while waiting for the valet.
Alfonso XIII, Luxury Collection Hotel - My general impression
Had it not been for the 85,000 point certificate offered by the Marriott Bonvoy program, I don’t think I would have booked this hotel. In general, my wife and I prefer entry-level hotels to maximize the use of our Marriott Bonvoy points. That being said, considering our experience at this luxury hotel was positive, we are thinking of repeating the experience for other trips in the future. In fact, we planned our trip around our stay at this hotel. If we had to do it again, we would do the same thing!
The Feria de Abril
The Feria de Abril is a local event in Seville. Despite the fact that my wife and I are fluent in Spanish, people seemed rude to us when we approached them for basic information (such as finding the bathroom).
In fact, the Feria de Abril is an event for which you must have access to private tents in order to fully enjoy it. Although there are public tents, they are poorly identified and access to toilets is limited.
It is said that some hotels have private tents. It would be worthwhile to make sure before heading there. Disappointed with our experience, we did not return for the rest of our stay in Seville.
Get Marriott Bonvoy points
The best way to earn Marriott Bonvoy points for free stays at over 8,000 hotels worldwide is to be a holder of the Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card (and/or the Marriott Bonvoy® Business American Express®* Card).
In addition to the great welcome bonus on both cards, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar on all purchases and 5 points per dollar at Marriott locations. And each year, you’ll earn a certificate for one free hotel night (35,000 point value) as well as 15 Elite nights toward your Marriott Bonvoy status.