Craig's Familiarization Tour To Spain

Posted by Craig Sabasch · Nov 23 · in Spain · about Culture & History

This FAM was organized via Virtuoso and hosted by Made for Spain, one of the fantastic onsite suppliers we work with. This trip concentrated on the Andalucia area of Spain. We spent 2 nights in each - Madrid, Seville and then Marbella on the southern coast. All of the hotels we stayed at were Virtuoso properties.

Oct 10-12 Madrid:

We stayed in the Villa Magna hotel which is a central 5 star hotel. The hotel is gorgeous and modern with large rooms and great service, top of the line really! We also saw the Ritz hotel and the Intercontinental hotels which are both historic properties full of character. The Ritz is a famous hotel and has just been taken over by Mandarin Oriental Group, so they will be doing some major renovations in the next year.

Dinner at the Hotel Ritz Madrid

Madrid is a fantastic and majestic city which should not be overlooked when visit Spain. The architecture is grand with lovely tree lined boulevards. We did a historic city tour and also went to the Prado museum which was amazing. The city is full of life and café culture, it is one of my favourites for sure.

Oct 12-14 Cordoba/Seville:

We took the high speed train from Madrid to Cordoba in business class. The train only took 2 hours and it was a great way to see the countryside. We even had access to the business lounge at the rail station which was a great bonus. Needless to say business class on the high speed train is a great way to travel. When we arrived in Cordoba we did a historic city tour including the famous Cordoba Cathedral/Mosque which is quite massive and amazing. Cordoba is a lovely city with a lengthy history that goes all the way back to Roman times. We stopped at the Hotel Palacio Del Bailio for a site inspection and a lovely lunch. This Virtuoso hotel is located in the historic centre and is very beautiful.

We then continued on to Seville via coach transfer and settled into the gorgeous Hotel Alfonso XIII. This hotel is nothing but amazing to say the least. Our rooms were gorgeous and the hotel is like a palace. The next day we did a tour of Seville which is a very charming city with lots to offer. The city is very historic and very beautiful. We went for dinner and a site inspection at the Gran Melia hotel. This hotel is a flagship hotel for Melia and it is quite modern. The original hotel is a historic site so they have kept the original outside part of the hotel intact.

The Hotel Alfonso XII

Oct 14-16 Marbella:

The next day we departed Seville and made a stop in the beautiful mountain town of Ronda. This is an amazing place that is quite scenic and picturesque. We had the opportunity to tour a Paradores hotel that had amazing views. Ronda is a quite busy place that is packed with tourists. Departing Ronda we drove through the mountains to the coast, which is quite a dramatic drive and the highways are very nice and modern.

The Bullring in Rondo (Middle) A stop at the La Melonera winery (Bottom)

Upon arriving in Marbella we checked into the Club Marbella hotel which is one of the original beach hotels in the area. Apparently this hotel was the one that started attracting people to the area back in the 1950’s. Marbella is a place that appeals mostly to the Brits and other northern Europeans, so the coastline is full of hotels that were mostly built in the 50’s and 60’s. It is not the most exotic foreign place but the weather is pleasant and so are the beaches, hence it's popularity. The Club Marbella does have a nice Spanish distinction to it and the rooms and grounds are very nice. The hotel is in fact more motel-like as the guests can park their cars in front of their rooms, which is quite unusual.

Sunrise on the Beach in Marbella

We also did a site visit and had dinner at the Puente Romano hotel. This is another Virtuoso property very close by and also another solid 5 star choice on the beach in Marbella. It is a very nice hotel with a great tennis club! The next day we took a tour of the historic area of Marbella, and a visit to a town up in the hills called Los Caveles. This town was a spectacularly beautiful historic white spanish town and is well worth the visit as it is just so scenic.

On our last day we did another site visit and lunch at the Hotel Finca Cortesin. This hotel has to be one of the most beautiful hotels I have ever seen, and I have seen many hotels over the years! The hotel is located up on the hillside above Marbella. The Finca Corstesin is a newer resort that was built by a Spanish family. I can’t stress enough how gorgeous this hotel was especially since it is more removed from from busy and touristy Marbella.

Site visit and lunch at the Hotel Cortesin

I flew to/from Madrid in business class, going over on Air France and back with KLM. Both options were great but I have to say that I preferred the entertainment options on KLM better. All in all the Virtuoso Familiarization Trip was amazing to say the least, 5 stars all the way!! It can’t be beat!!

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