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- Karen Brown's Recommendation:
Midway between Seville and Córdoba the Monasterio sheltered monks on their way to missions in the New World, notably Fray Junípero Serra founder of monasteries in California. It is also associated with Miguel de Cervantes (Don Quixote) and Christopher Columbus. In 1828, it passed into private hands—and subsequent ruin. Eventually, inherited by the Moreno de la Cova family, it was restored opened as a hotel. More recently the hotel featured in “The Kingdom of Heaven” and hosted stars Liam Neeson, Orlando Bloom and Eva Green. Tucked behind whitewashed walls in the heart of the non-touristy Andalusian town of Palma del Río, you’ll discover an excellent restaurant, a high ceilinged sitting room/bar with decorative wooden ceiling and decoratively painted walls. Two cloistered patios support a gallery around which the guestrooms are situated. The air-conditioned bedrooms (queen, king and twin) are simple and comfortable, decorated in earth tones with dark-wood furniture and trim. They have colorfully tiled baths (some have Jacuzzi tubs) and small sitting areas. Beyond the kitchen gardens is a large swimming pool, with loungers strategically placed under shady trees, and an organic orchard. The Monasterio offers unique, economical accommodation not far off the beaten track.