BeSeeingYou at: Hacienda Zorita Wine Hotel & Spa
Location: Valverdón, Salamanca, Spain
Number of rooms and suites: 40
Date of Stay: August 2023
Why book Hacienda Zorita Wine Hotel & Spa
Located in the Duero Valley (Duoro in Portuguese) on the River Tormes not far from the Portuguese border, this huge, ancient, sandstone monastery is well-settled into its tranquil 300 hectare (740+ acre) estate that’s also home to an organic farm, luxury hotel and spa, superb restaurant, and vineyards. You’ll enter through stone gates with vines on one side and corn fields on the other. Huge trees, well-tended grass and espalier vines line the road to the reception block, wine shop and parking.
From the bag attendant and rapid check-in to the centuries-old stone buildings, Hacienda Zorita is welcoming and comfortable, with ample lounge areas, modern and antique furnishings, original wooden roof beams and loads of charm.
Close to the ´Golden City´ of Salamanca, Hacienda Zorita is a quiet, upscale yet easy-to-relax-in home base for exploring, even though it will be hard to pull yourself away.
Couples and families with older children fill the relaxed outdoor dining area and garden. Preparations for an upcoming weekend wedding were well underway when we arrived, and no other guests are booked in when such events occur. With mature trees, glistening river views, an ancient water mill (now the hotel’s spa), an old chapel housing 16th-century works of art, and former stable blocks turned upscale suites, it’s easy to see why Hacienda Zorita is ideal for celebrations and popular with celebrities worldwide.
Does the hotel have a past?
Yes, and a very long one! Its hospitality intentions date back to 1336, when the hacienda was donated to the Dominican Order by Doña Inés de Limoges in the hope of releasing her husband´s soul from purgatory. The monks provided accommodation and food on the estate to professors visiting Salamanca University as well as to travellers passing through.
Rooms & Suites
With thick walls measured by the metre and views across the lawn or river, history spills from original floors, ancient oak beams and charming corners. The bedrooms, all of which seamlessly merge old and new aesthetics, are in the main building while the suites are housed in the old stable blocks. Hacienda Zorita has a choice of standard rooms, deluxe rooms, deluxe with terraces, villas, deluxe villas and signature suites.
My room, number 13, was off one of the hand-painted corridors and near the second floor lounge that had a terrace overlooking the gardens, pools and spa. My view was over the restaurant garden and spill way at the back. The bed was large and very comfortable, and our bathroom had his-and-her sinks, and was fabulously clean.
My only murmur was about the shower. Having to step in and out over a bath wouldn’t be possible for some guests.
Spill the tea: how was the food and drink?
Definitely dine in. We did both nights of our stay, and were surprised and impressed by the innovative menus and outdoor dining accompanied by bird song and running water. Zorita’s Kitchen is casually elegant, and formal dress is not required, unless you want to, of course. Expect an excellent selection of home-grown meat and vegetables, award-winning olive oil as well as cheeses and sausages sourced from the hotel’s own organic farm or from nearby farms and artisans.
The Hacienda Zorita was the first hotel in the area to adopt the ´slow food´ approach. Don’t miss a stop (and a taste) inside the Cheese Room, with Churra sheep, Verata goat and other varieties to sample. The wine list is mainly Hacienda Zorita wines, and other excellent local choices, all reasonably priced for such an upmarket hotel.
If you’re a breakfast lover, the two-table buffet will make you giddy. Each morning you’ll find produce from the farm, jamon, cheese, beef jerky, fresh orange juice, coffee machines that work (and aren’t too complicated), and freshly cooked bacon and eggs to your liking.
At just about 10 minutes by car to Salamanca, Hacienda Zorita is an effortless launch pad for visiting the region as well as the city and sights, although it is admittedly very easy to opt for a day of enjoying the hacienda’s service, views, décor and dips in the two long pools. Shade around the property is abundant and peace reigns.
Did the service meet expectations?
Every member of staff we came across was pleasant and polite, and they all spoke reasonable English with a smile. Our hat goes off to Andrés, our wine tasting sommelier, for his jovial and informative wine tasting with Hacienda Zorita food pairings.
Does Hacienda Zorita spa?
It certainly does! The serene environment of Hacienda Zorita was relaxing but the Wine & Olive Spa took it to the next level. Located in the oldest building of the Hacienda— a water mill dating back to the year 780— the spa offers treatments such as vinotherapy and olive massages. I really need to return for a longer stay and indulge in some serious me + spa time.
No plastic here! Comb, soap, hairnet accessories—it’s all packaged in paper, and shower gel and shampoo are in refillable bottles.
Christopher Columbus stayed here for around six months in 1487 and managed to convince the Catholic kings of the viability of his dreams to sail to the Indies, although the funds to do so weren’t available until five years later. On the grounds of the Hacienda Zorita there are four giant Sequoia trees, the tallest in Europe, grown from seeds that Christopher Columbus brought back from the new world.
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Photos courtesy of Small Luxury Hotels of the World