The hotel was wonderful and the staff incredibly friendly and interesting to talk to – I learnt quite a few little snippets from them. But one of the things that rang my bell about the place was the seriously relaxed atmosphere.
I loved the fact that with temperatures up above the 30C I had to share the shade of the trees in the Señorío del Valle car park with the centre’s gang of ducks who, I have to say, weren’t in favour of creating a space for me and bitched like hell when I tried to shelter from the sun.
I oohed and aahed at the little black kitten with the big green eyes that had a ‘feed me I’m so cute’ act off to a tee and spent its time between the tasca and the bodega & rincon de queso looking for soft-hearted suckers.
But my favourite was Maria, a plump-breasted hen who roams the hotel’s dining room terrace which overlooks the stables.
Andy and I can be a bit Neanderthal pre-coffee in the morning; the brain doesn’t kick in till the caffeine does, so first stop was the breakfast terrace, stopping en route to chat to the chef and waiter. Trying to hold a conversation in Spanish prior to a coffee was not an easy task (not that it’s a stroll in the park afterwards) – thankfully a few si, si, si’s, a couple of claro’s, an exaggerated nawwwh and a final ah mi madre worked its usual magic. Discussions about the exhaustingly hot temperatures during the night over, we settled into our seats with the sun assaulting our faces even though it was only 9am…and then Maria introduced herself, by having a quick peck at our feet to see if we were worth eating.
Andy’s response was to shoo Maria away, who reacted by squawking indignantly, fluffing up her feathers and heading in the direction of the door to the kitchen to have a nosy what was happening there – a brave move for a hen if you ask me.
Maria used to have a friend, but he was eaten by a dog in the car park. Now she struts around on her lonesome, clucking in outrage when the waiter nods in her direction and suggests that some fresh chicken soup might be an idea for lunch.
It’s the little things like this that I love. I’m a sucker for stuff like having to negotiate my way past a cocky hen just to get a cup of coffee. I’m a big fan of hotels with more personality than amenities; then again maybe I just enjoy being henpecked.