Hotel Review: Hotel Palacio de Los Salcedo, Baeza
On our recent honeymoon driving round some of lesser known Andalucia, we thought we book ourselves a special treat. We checked into a real palace in Baeza. This town in Northeastern Andalucia forms an impressive coherent architectural ensemble of Renaissance buildings unique to Spain. It is classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Despite its cultural significance, the town is pleasantly slow. Most of the few visitors are from Spain. The Palacio de Los Salcedo is is one of a few well preserved family palaces in the town centre and was converted to a hotel some years ago.
Our expectations were high, and with a four star classification, we expected to be treated like royalty.
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We had a bit of a bumpy start on our search for the best hotel in Baeza when our navigation led us through some cobbled one-way streets – a recurring theme in small-town Spain. We first zipped into a 2-hour public parking space outside a bank at the beginning of siesta. The idea was to to check in first then look for proper parking.
The hotel is on a pleasant pedestrian pedestrian street, a wide boulevard for a small town of 15000 inhabitants.
200m on, you will find the central square of Baeza. The main attractions are five minutes by foot away, there are some very pleasant restaurants out there. You can get pretty much anywhere by foot.
Due to its central location, parking was a real problem. A problem that other hotels we stayed in, like the ones in Sanlucar, solved way better by hiring private pay garages for their guests. You can park in a few bays in a small square about 200m from the hotel. Parking is free at night and at siesta time, and you pay a reasonable fee at other hours. The problem is that you can only pay for two or three hours at a time, requiring you to either leave during the day or run down and feed the meter every few hours. Or you can possibly squeeze into surrounding streets. But seeing that even residents have trouble finding enough spaces, and noticing a high dent density in locals cars, we preferred car parks.
The nearest train station is 15km away. It’s a long walk to the bus station, so public transport wasn’t that wonderful, either. Here’s a place where a car comes in really handy – as long as you can park it.
Other than the parking issue, the location is great. The attractions are walkable and there is very little noise at night unless someone living nearby likes to mash classical music with death metal. But in theory, this can happen anywhere.
The hotel is an independent and must have been converted some years ago, or its owners love very traditional style. They kept the Renaissance front unaltered. From the outside, its rather tasteful. It looks quietly elegant from the outside, a squat massive building with very little decoration and beautifully carved windows.
Once in the dark lobby, the theme changes to country house on steroids with a dose of Photoshop – not exactly the stage to showcase the pretty carved ceilings. We were somewhat somewhat surprised that the receptionists command of English was quite poor for a four-star property but nevertheless, our booking (already paid) was there, we managed to fill the requisite form, and were given keys to our room on the second floor.
They have managed to fit a lift in here, which delivers you to a large atrium – once open air, now glass roofed, making it, sadly, somewhat stuffy. Rooms go off the multi-storey atrium courtyard and it is here that the pure architectural style comes to shine once more.
Ever the cheapskates, we booked the cheapest available room (“Economy”) for 54 EURO. This time it wasn’t such a good idea. When we opened the door to our second-floor room, we looked in vain for a window. Hello, wait! If I book a cheap guest house room, then a window is an option not a given, but in a four star hotel – even a historic one? Fact is, although the room was okay, it was pitch black dark, and the only way to get any air in was to leave the door to the atrium open. As soon as I closed the door, I felt stuffy and claustrophobic, and to make things worse, the air condition, which serves as a heater as well, could not be adjusted or turned off.
After much discussion and involvement of the booking agent, we managed to upgrade for 30EUROs for the two nights to a room on the fourth floor which had a small window and the required light and ventilation. Never have I been to happy to pay for an upgrade.
Now, this room was much better. Still not best hotel in Baeza worthy, though. It still was decorated in the same fussy English country house style as the one before, with iron beds, sponge painted walls and oddly shaped washbasins. Along with very dark hefty furniture, it looked very dated, but it was super comfortable. Our double were two twin beds pushed together. This is common in Spain, or you get a 1.40m or 1.20m bed as a double. Mattresses were new and medium firm and very comfortable, and the bed linen crisp and clean. There was a standard minibar we didn’t use except to chill our Manzanilla to the required temperature. Again, the heating was centrally adjusted, with no option to turn it off, but at least we could open the windows now.
Bathrooms continued in the country theme, all that was missing for the full monty was the bowl of potpourri. There was a double sink, and a full bath with a a powerful shower.
WiFi quality was a bit shaky, but we stayed on the 4th floor of a stone building with very thick walls – expected when you stay in a historical place.
There is not a lot. There is a small dark lounge area with only Spanish newspapers and magazines, and a small stand with local information and leaflets. Because we could not communicate very effectively with the receptionist, we got little in terms of local recommendations, but Baeza is very small and a well-known search engine filled with good places to eat and drink.
I understand there is little option to have pools and spa within the confines of a historical building, but I missed a nice lounge area, tea and coffee, and a bar serving small snacks – which this hotel didn’t have. And the aforementioned lack of parking in a place difficult to reach on public transport was perhaps my biggest gripe.
Again, there is little to write when it comes to the hotel itself. If you fancy staying in a real palace at a budget, this might be the place, as prices seem fairly consistent at 60/80EURO per night if you shop around. This may or may not be the best hotel you can find in Baeza, but its not expensive. The location is great for walking around the historical old quarter of Baeza.
We didn’t take breakfast at the hotel, preferring a small breakfast. Usually, a bar serving you a decent coffee and a “tostada” (toasted white bread) with olive oil, ham or cheese and a fresh orange juice for 3-5 EURO is never far away in Spain. Here, the Pasteleria Martinez 100m up the road may only open at 9, but this friendly family business serves a nice but limited selection of sweet goods baked fresh on the premises.
Breakfast Day One…
And Day Two… not a lot of choice but what’s there was delicious.
We also ate well at Cafe Mercantil, about 100m down the road on the central Plaza Espaňa. Prices are a little higher, but the quality of food is good. Their vegetarian choices are really limited, so we stuck to salad – which was really good.
The best restaurant we ate in was Taberna Casa Andres at the edge of town, affording great views from its terrace. They serve local food with a bit of seafood from the coast exceptionally well, and love to celebrate the local olive oil. It was very full for lunch even on a weekday, so making a reservation may not be a bad idea.
So this is the best hotel in Baeza?
Palacio de Los Salcedo is a historical private palace with a 1990s style whimsical country house hotel conversion. A lovely property in a great central location, if you have no car to park, this hotel is hard to beat. If you like modern style and/or conversions truthful to historical style, then look away, because although comfortable, the refurbishment has not done the original texture of the building justice. The result looks bad, but is very comfortable, from the good beds, crisp linen, to the powerful showers and full bathtubs in both rooms we stayed in.
It is here that we made the mistake not scrutinising the room pictures. We failed to notice the cheapest “Economy” Rooms have no window, and we appeared stuck with a windowless, airless room for two nights. Despite several trips to reception and asking to swap rooms, where we were offered another room for one night in exchange for a 30EURO supplement. And where using Booking.com was a great help in intervening. I contacted them to request cancellation of the second night. While this was not possible, they intervened on our behalf, and all of a sudden, a room with a window was available for both nights at 15EURO upgrade fee per night. On a separate occasion, when a storm in Greece once left us stranded, they were similarly helpful. We contacted them to cancel one nights accommodation but to confirm for the following night, they were really helpful, too. This is why I use Booking.com for a lot of my trips and have no hesitation in recommending them.
Baeza has very few hotels, and somewhat unsurprisingly, this beautiful palace leads the rank of several hotel comparison sites. This may well be the best hotel in Baeza, and it is superbly located. However, if I were to travel there again, I would probably look for accommodation in larger Ubeda, just 10km away. There’s a greater choice of hotels. For the palace experience, you can stay in the more sympathetically styles Parador de Ubeda or the opulent-looking Palacio de Ubeda.
Address: Calle San Pablo, 18, 23440 Baeza, Jaén, Spain
Telephone: +34 953 74 72 00
Hotel Website: http://www.hotelpalaciodelossalcedo.es
We booked this room on Booking.com and paid 64 EURO in March 2019 for a double.
The official rating is Four Stars. My personal opinion is that, although beautiful, it feels more like a three-star.
Nearest Airport: Federico García Lorca Granada-Jaén Airport (GRX / LEGR), 138km. Malaga Airport ist 250km and Sevilla Airport 280km away.
Features: Escalator, breakfast (at an extra cost).
Doesn’t have: bar, party culture, parking
Disclosure: This trip was entirely self funded. I have received no monetary or non-monetary rewards for linking aside from some affiliate links. I will only review and recommend places that I have stayed in myself. You can trust me for the whole, unbiased truth. In this case, this post contains come affiliate links to Booking.com. This means that I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you decided to book through the affiliate links. More details on my affiliate link policy are here.