The Telegraph reviews Hotel Plaza 18 with 9/10 expert rating
- In her review, travel writer Isabella Noble praised the location, style, character and rooms
Designed by Nicky Dobree Plaza 18 Vejer has received an outstanding rating of 9/10 on UK’s The Telegraph website, which specializes in rating quality international hotels.
Isabella Noble says about Hotel Plaza 18: "Blending historical architecture and soothingly understated luxe design, this six-room boutique address brings a sensitive reimagination to a 19th-century merchant’s house, overlooking the lively square in one of Andalucía’s most alluring villages."
Plaza 18 location
On one side, Plaza 18 gazes out across rust-tiled rooftops to the sugar-white beaches of Cádiz’s windswept Costa de la Luz (on clear days you can see Morocco); on the other, it overlooks Vejer’s palm-filled main plaza. The sights are all within five minutes’ walk, including the Gothic-Mudéjar church and Moorish castle, and the old town’s whitewashed alleys meander off in all directions. There are plenty of excellent restaurants nearby. In a 15-minute drive you can be on the beach in El Palmar, Zahora or Caños de Meca; kitesurf town Tarifa and Roman Baelo Claudia are under an hour’s drive.
Style and character
Graced by glassed-in balconies and gleaming whitewashed walls, the house dates from 1896 and recalls mansions in Andalucian cities like Cádiz or Seville, but its roots go back to 13th-century Moorish times. Owner James Stuart, who runs several other fabulous local properties including next-door La Casa del Califa, spent years revamping the building. The interiors are the work of respected London designer Nicky Dobree, known for her ski-chalet creations.
The look is fun, fresh and understated – think slick black doors with oversized golden handles, original beamed ceilings, and bold pieces of art collected from around the world. In the sweeping lobby, the original black-and-white check tiles, twin marble-and-stone staircases and ancient montera (lightwell) have been painstakingly restored. The whole property revolves around sustainability initiatives including solar power, organic building materials and aerothermal heating.
Service and Facilities
You arrive into the 24-hour reception at La Casa del Califa, from where a subtle doorway leads through to Plaza 18. Guests have access to all the Califa’s facilities, including the North African-Middle Eastern restaurant, the sultry tetería (teahouse) and a massage cave-room (treatments from £50).
Plaza 18 has its own lavender-fringed terrace and cosy lounge, with an honesty bar and a tea/coffee station, so you can grab a G&T and flick through the art books, magazines and newspapers. A complimentary afternoon spread of fresh mint tea and Moroccan cakes is laid out each day. Cheerful staff help with everything from horse-riding to hiking, and a Califa hammam is due in 2021.
In the six rooms, elegant antique furniture and original beams combine with chic touches like Ralph Lauren light fixtures, colour-popping feature walls, custom-made Spanish tiles and hand-woven blankets. But it’s all refreshingly practical too, with good-sized wardrobes, full-length mirrors, plenty of hangers, professional hairdryers, and underfloor heating. The custom-designed biodegradable toiletries are infused with classic southern-Spain scents (citrus, almonds, olives), and the calming bathrooms have marble sinks and white-tiled walk-in rain showers.
Room 2, a ground-floor Deluxe Double, is dressed in denim-blue; its showpiece is a framed 19th-century boro kimono. Duplex-style Room 6 is a dream of smooth red-and-pink styling and Ralph Lauren artwork, though the highlight is the sprawling private rooftop terrace. Most spacious is Room 3, a Deluxe Suite with glassed-in twin balconies, a small lounge and a collection of Picasso lithographs.
Food and drink
"The attached El Jardín del Califa restaurant has diners driving miles for its North African-meets-Middle Easten cuisine, fired by local Vejer ingredients (many organic) and served in the lantern-lit garden or among ancient arches. With chef Khadija Essaadi at the helm, the kitchen (mains £10 to £17) delivers fragrant bubbling tagines, zesty mezze platters, Moroccan-style pastelas, grilled-meat dishes, and delicate desserts like Greek yogurt with Vejer-made orange-blossom honey – all delicious with one of the up-and-coming Cádiz wines.
Served at El Jardín or on the Plaza 18 terrace, the glorious breakfasts are a feast of fresh local produce: Andalucian olive oil and oranges, village bread and free-range eggs, home-baked cakes and pastries. The Califa team has several other standout restaurants in Vejer".
Value for Money
Double rooms from £140 in low season, and from £160 in high. Breakfast included. Free Wi-Fi.
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