The Hospederia is part of a 16thC monastery, which dominates the Guadalupe skyline. It is still a working monastery; Franciscan brothers live in one half of the building, guests in the other.
The bedrooms are set around a magnificent stone-arcaded courtyard. Many of them are the original monks’ cells – long narrow rooms with high ceilings and low stone doorways. They are all different; some very elaborate, some very basic. On one side there is an exquisite suite full of ornate antiques, on the other, simple single rooms. The public rooms downstairs are equally original; the sombre sitting room contrasts with a cheerful white dining room, with fresh flowers on every table. There is also a TV room arranged like a cinema, and an inviting bar with an arched roof and marble floor. Tables are set out in the charming courtyard.
Although we arrived in the middle of a wedding reception for two hundred guests, the staff were not remotely put out and could not have been more helpful – the monks even gave us a guided tour of the monastery. ‘Wow’ says an American reader who recently stayed in 15 hotels in the guide: ‘the nicest place we stayed in and probably the best bargain in the book.’