Old Toledo is a tiny place. It's hard to believe that this town was the capital of Spain back in the 15th century, and nearby Madrid but a sleepy village. However, being a well-preserved World Heritage town, it is incredibly atmospheric and romantic, particularly at dusk. The narrow lanes, the medieval balcony hangings, the enormous cathedral; it is a place to get lost in, and, without a GPS system, you should find this fantastically easy to do.
'Lost' in the lanes is the bijou Hotel Fontecruz Toledo Palacio Eugenia de Montijo. I had expected something larger, having seen the pictures of the lobby and the wide, red exterior of the building. This is actually a very small hotel, but it doesn't ever feel parochial or insignificant. It is perfectly sized for the town and, unlike most of the old town's accommodation, is actually luxurious and tastefully finished. We arrived late in the afternoon and went straight to a small but perfectly proportioned and light room with a luxurious black marble bathroom. The room had a balcony overlooking the tiny inner courtyard and we enjoyed having the doors open as we dressed to go out for dinner, listening to the cathedral's bells in the distance as I played Rodrigo's Concerto de Aranjuez through the iPod.
There were a few problems with the hotel, hence the four-star rating. Having just experienced the glorious Westin Palace, we came down with a bit of a bump; the service, although well-intentioned and generally very good, was not quite up to those lofty standards. There is no iron and ironing board for guests; you have to have your shirts ironed at 5.50 per shirt. When I phoned down for an iron and ironing board, no one at reception was sufficient in English to understand me. At the buffet breakfast, we were asked three times for our room number as though we were freeloaders drifting in from the street and, when asking about looking for a lost item of jewellery, we were told that we couldn't look in the room as the maids had already been in there; in my opinion, even the most assiduous maid might fail to see a very small thing that had great sentimental value for its owner. Disappointing for a five-star hotel with Conde Nast Gold List plaques gleaming by the entrance.
The buffet breakfast at the hotel was acceptable but should have been served in the old dining room which was used later on as a makeshift luggage room. Instead, it was served in a bizarre annex off the lobby area with tacky 1990s chairs. A room in which you eat in ancient Toledo needs to be dramatic and beautiful; not like a conference hotel next to a motorway.
These complaints aside, it was a pleasing stay. You can see why famous visitors to the town like Princess Caroline of Monaco and Gwyneth Paltrow choose the Palacio Eugenia de Montijo; for the size of the place, it is an excellent hostelry. There are other luxurious establishments in which to stay nearby that are not in the old town, that possess views and pools and the like; very pleasant I am sure, but we had a quick in and out visit to this ancient place and this hotel served that purpose perfectly well.
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- Also Known As:
- Palacio Eugenia De Montijo Hotel