In the heart of Andalusian Spain, just 5 miles outside the sherry-making town of Jerez, stands the majestic Barcelo Montecastillo Resort, a haven for sunshine-seekers, golf-lovers and anyone in need of some serious rest and recuperation. The Barcelo group have built a premium 5-star hotel here, which centers around their beautifully designed golf course, but it has a whole lot more to offer than that.
If you like golf, it’s a no-brainer but even if you’ve never made it to the half-way house, I would recommend this hotel to you. It also boasts two swimming pools, a spa, a restaurant, a bar, football pitches, tennis courts and plenty of outdoor areas for you to take advantage of the famous Andalusian sunshine. The rooms are also what makes this resort a top-pick; they are stylish, modern and luxurious with the finishing touches that make a 5-star stay so memorable. It’s conveniently situated next door to the Jerez racetrack and if you strain your ear you can hear the gentle hum of racing cars whizzing round the court. Just another 15 minutes drive away you’ll find Jerez, the Andalusian city with a warm heart and a huge range of sweet, oaky sherries to explore and enjoy. This city has charm and character in abundance; it’s full of little plazas tucked away down narrow cobbled streets with beautiful religious statures and historic buildings at their centre. Walk around the town on a Saturday night and you’ll find a lively atmosphere with locals greeting each other on the fringes of restaurant al fresco dining areas. They’ll be sipping wine and sherry, dining on tapas of jamon, artichokes and their popular flat, deep-fried tortillas.
But there’ll be plenty to keep you entertained at the Montecastillo, before even venturing out, so make sure your stay isn’t too brief. You’ll wake to a gorgeous and extensive breakfast spread, with a buffet offering some popular English hot options alongside local favourites, a selection of local hams and cheeses, a huge fruit offering, a spread of breads, cakes and pastries and a fresh juice bar, where you can order a juice full of fruit, vegetables, oats, seeds and nuts, blended to order. I’d highly recommend their green smoothies, which ensures a couple of your five a day before you enjoy a freshly baked croissant or moist slice of fruitcake.
After you’ve enjoyed a leisurely breakfast you might want to spend some time on the driving range practicing your swing, but if that doesn’t take your fancy, you can lounge around one of their two expansive pools, one of which is adults only, if a side of splashing children isn’t your thing. The great thing about being outside of a city is the peace and tranquility you experience in the area and the Montecastillo is a perfect example of this. Lying by the pool, with a good book and a drink in hand is the perfect way to unwind. Talking of unwinding, the spa should be an essential part of your stay here; they offer post-golf massages for the players and a range of other treatments including hot-stone massages, reflexology and facials. Their treatment rooms are luxurious and will lull you into a state of relaxation with their deep hues, comfortable beds and entrancing music.
The rooms and suites here are classically luxury, offering the full 5-star experience. Their beds promise a good night’s sleep with their cotton sheets, top-quality mattresses and a range of pillows to suit your sleeping style. Many of the balconies overlook the vivid greens of the golf course and are a great spot from which to witness the sunset in seclusion. The Montecastillo is perfect for a romantic stay but if you wanted to take it one step further their on-site event space in the castle would be perfect as a wedding venue.
The food in general at the Montecastillo was extremely impressive. We enjoyed a sherry-pairing lunch in their al-fresco dining area, which was a four-course feast of local cuisine matched with a range of their popular sherries. A first course of duck-ham and strawberry salad was served with the light and dry Fino sherry. The second course was one of my favourites; a chilled pea soup with a scoop of mango sorbet; a refreshing dish with a huge amount of flavor. This came with the Amontillado sherry, which had a smooth, nutty taste. We were working our way up from light to dark. The Oloroso sherry accompanied the Iberian pork and for dessert we were served a heavenly pistachio semifreddo, alongside which is perhaps the most popular or well known in the UK, the Pedro Ximenez sherry, which was deliciously sweet and syrupy.
The Montecastillo is a great place to unwind, enjoy some sunshine and take in the Spanish culture for a few days. It’s a true taste of luxury in the heart of Andalucía where you can experience the best of what the region has to offer. The wide Spanish beaches are also easily accessible from the hotel, making it a real all-rounder. Their hospitality here is second to none and it’s all too easy to get used to this star treatment. When your stay is up you’ll begrudgingly leave to drag yourself back to the grey skies of England, but hopefully with a healthy glow and the sweet taste of sherry still in your mouth.
Rooms start at £99 per night on a B&B basis.
Visit the website here.