The EME Catedral hotel in the center of Seville’s historic and commercial district hides a surprising design secret behind its architecturally prim and proper facade of wrought iron balconies ornately adorned in fancy lace inspired details.
Billed as an avante-garde boutique hotel the EME Catedral in Seville’s historic city center is just mere steps from the famed 16th century Cathedral of Seville. ( A little trivia for my fellow history buffs – though known as Cathedral of Seville its official name is “Catedral de Santa María de la Sede” which translates to “Cathedral of Saint Maria of the See.” And the Cathedral is also the burial site of the great explorer Christopher Columbus.)
This five star hotel blends architecturally with the neighboring 18th and 19th century buildings, but once inside you are transported into a world of pulsating club music emanating from a seductively plush lounge with violet-tinted lights dimmed to match the club mood. ( I later learned that the evocative club music is the EME’s signature “electronic music compilation” and available for purchase. )
Arriving at the reception desk, you’re greeted by hotel staff – with supermodel looks – attired in sleek and sophisticated couture inspired uniforms. The stylish and charming front desk staff quickly check you in, and then offer the option of guiding you to your room in one of the hotel’s two towers.
Exiting the luxe club environment of the reception and lounge area, you step into a lush tropical courtyard that combines the historical with the modern. Under verdant orange fruit trees lies a gorgeous channel fountain – filled with rose petals and stones – that elegantly bisects a dining area furnished with contemporary patio furniture including acrylic Louis chairs (Regretfully, I didn’t ask if they were Philippe Stark’s “Louis Ghost” chairs or merely inspired by his design genius.)
Walking through the arched pathway your senses are delightfully introduced to a delicious concoction of fruity and flowery fragrances swirling in the air accompanied by soothing New Age music. Your escort gestures to a door from which those heavenly scents are escaping, and informs you that five star spa services are available at the EME’s on-site spa.
The EME has various types of rooms and suites, but the overall design vibe is one of monastic simplicity expressed in a vocabulary of modern architectural elements distilled to their very essence. And in keeping with the nature of EME which seemed to enjoy throwing a design surprise here and there – in my room amidst the minimalist design features there was one door that retained all the charm and historical characteristics of an 18th or 19th century period balcony door. Seeing that door transported me back to my childhood when I spent summers at my grandparents’ 19th century apartment home in Madrid. That door could easily have been the same as the one I fondly remembered – it had that level of authenticity.
Exploring the second tower at the EME you will find the roof top bar La Terraza of EME, located near the sparkling pool and lounge area, offering sweeping views of Seville’s skyline which includes the Cathedral of Seville’s iconic bell tower that hosts the storied Giralda statue at its apex.
With five stellar restaurants on site, the EME is a foodie’s gastronomical dream destination. Guests can dine on magnificent meals in a variety of settings including a lush fruit tree lined courtyard, an intimate, cozy cabana style niche and an opulently decorated space with a divine mix of antiques and contemporary furniture and décor.
Offering fabulous architecture, gorgeous interior decorations and amazing food, the EME Catedral is the perfect hotel for design enthusiasts and foodies. It is also ideally located – it is within walking distance of several historically significant sites including the Cathedral of Seville (literally across the street) and the Royal Alcazar palace and gardens.
And if walking isn’t your preferred mode of transport, you can always opt to tour Seville’s historical city center via an enchanting horse and carriage ride – the supermodel doppleganger at the concierge desk will be happy to arrange it.
Editor’s Note: My visit to Seville and my stay at the EME Catedral hotel were part of Tile of Spain‘s press trip in which several top editors and bloggers were brought to Valencia to report on the 2015 Cevisama design fair. You can read my Cevisama posts here.
Publication Note: Originally published on July 25th on CMNmedia.