Being in Jerez de la Frontera in Andalucia is all about sherry. Visiting bodegas and learning how it is made, trying the different kinds in the traditional bars known as tabancos… just letting yourself slowly soak into the sherry culture is an immensely enjoyable experience, believe me.
But things have just get a whole lot better as now you can sleep in a ‘sherry hotel’ too. In the heart of the seductive city of Jerez, the Hotel Bodega Tío Pepe is actually part of the González Byass sherry bodegas, a family winery that has been producing Tio Pepe fino since 1835 and is now run by the fifth generation.
The four-star boutique hotel has been created from four houses that were built 150 years ago to house workers at the bodegas. The buildings have been turned into a little oasis, with gardens, terraces and a rooftop pool. There are 27 rooms and suites and a variety of attractive places to eat – and drink sherry. You can of course drink whatever you like, from fresh juice made from local oranges to massive gin and tonics, but it’s that first glass of fino that’s really going to work its magic. By the time you’ve tried the whole range, you’ll be happily under the sherry spell – if not under the table.
The rooms and suites have a light, contemporary Andalucian feel, with beds dressed in natural linens, wooden floors and furnishings in soft tones of olive, teal and dove grey, set against a white backdrop. Deluxe rooms have terraces or views of the cathedral, while those in the Premium and Classic categories have pitched, beamed ceilings.
The spacious junior suites are named after different sherries, which is a pretty good reason for booking one if you ask me. Choose the Oloroso Alfonso or the Amontillado Viña AB, or go for the gorgeous Junior Suite Superior Palo Cortado Leonor, which has a 24-metre terrace with spectacular views across the city. If you need more space, the Suite Presidencial Fino Tío Pepe has two bedrooms.
The Gran Bodega restaurant, with an impressive dome, serves traditional Andalucian food at lunchtime, while Villa Ricardo opens for dinner in one of the wine cellars with a tasting menu paired with wines chosen by Tío Pepe’s expert oenologists. You can also eat or just have a drink at La Atalaya bar on the roof terrace or have a sherry and a tapa at the Bar Solera 1847, which links the reception with the Pedro Nolasco gardens.
I think that would be enough to keep me going for a few days without leaving the hotel, but of course Jerez is a delightful city to explore – and how lovely to have everything within walking distance too.
Double rooms at the Hotel Bodega Tío Pepe start at €100, including a splendid breakfast. I’m pretty sure they’d serve you a nice glass of Tío Pepe with your toast with olive oil and tomato if you asked nicely too.