Offering custom independent travel, historic & modern hotels, rentals, private tours, and a wealth of knowledge on Spain & Portugal. Established in 1983.

  1.  

    Checking In…Pousada de Mesão Frio – Solar da Rede, Mesão Frio (Portugal)

    The Pousada de Mesão Frio is located in northern Portugal, in the heart of the Douro wine region. The region is so beautiful and has such a rich wine history dating back 2,000 years that UNESCO declared the region a World Heritage Site in 2001. We couldn’t agree more, as it is one of our favorite areas in Portugal. 

    The Pousada de Mesão Frio – Solar da Rede is only a short drive (80 km) east of Porto, and is a place where visitors will be transported back in time. The Pousada is housed in an 18th C. aristocratic manor house that is furnished in traditional period pieces. Perched on a hillside overlooking the River Douro, the property spans 27 hectares and includes the manor house, five separate cottages, and a vineyard that produces wines under the Solar da Rede label.

    Solar da Rede has a total of 29 rooms, which include Standard rooms located in either the manor house or the cottages, Superior rooms with river views located in the manor house, or Suites that are located in the cottages. Some of the Suites are duplexes and have a terrace. For more information on the Pousada, click here.

    As usual, thanks for reading. Please visit International Lodging Corporation at our home page.

  2.  

    On the Menu…L’Estimat Restaurante, Valencia (Spain)

    Paella is one of Spain’s best known dishes and is served in restaurants throughout the country. But Valencia is the birthplace of this quintessential Spanish dish, so no visit to this city would be complete without sampling this local favorite.

    L’Estimat Restaurant is a family owned restaurant that was established in 1927 and today is run by the 3rd generation of its founders. It is located on the Paseo Neptuno on Las Arenas beach. Here you will find so many different types of paella to choose from, that one visit may not be enough. If you’re not sure where to start, the traditional Paella Valenciana, that contains chicken, rabbit, snails and vegetables, is a good choice, or you can opt for the Paella Marinera, that contains a variety of fresh seafood, including mussels, calamari and shrimp. Whatever type of paella you choose (seafood, meat, vegetable, or a combination), you will not leave hungry.

    As usual, thanks for reading. Please visit International Lodging Corporation at our home page.

  3.  

    Sites to See…The Alhambra and the Generalife, Granada (Spain)

    No visit to Granada would be complete without touring the Alhambra palace that sits atop a hillside overlooking the city. Built in the 14th C. as the primary residence of the Nasrid Sultans, it is one of the most famous examples of Moorish architecture, and the most popular tourist attraction in all of Spain.

    Set aside a few hours to visit the various parts of the palace, including the Alcazaba (military fortress), the Palacios Nazaríes (Nasrid Palaces), and the Generalife Palace and Gardens. The Alcazaba provided defense for the royal family, and is the oldest part of the complex, dating from the 9th C. You will marvel at the handiwork of the Moorish craftsmen that produced the most exquisitely decorated function rooms, courtyards, fountains and patios found in the Palacios Nazaríes. The smaller Generalife Palace served as the summer retreat from the main palace, and is known for its lush gardens.

    Tickets for the Alhambra can be bought at the ticket office, but due to the high demand for tickets and the restricted number of visitors allowed per day, advance ticket purchase is recommended.

    For more information on types of tickets available and for online purchase of tickets, visit Turismo de Granada

    Patronato de la Alhambra y el Generalife

    As usual, thanks for reading. Please visit International Lodging Corporation at our home page.

  4.  

    Checking in…Hotel Villa Jerez, Jerez (Spain)

    The city of Jerez is a traditional Andalusian city that dates back to Moorish times.  Much of the charm and aristocratic air of the city can still be seen and felt today in the casco antiguo (old town), the wide streets, and tree-lined squares. Jerez is perhaps best known for the fortified wine (sherry) that takes its name from the city. No stay in Jerez would be complete without visiting one or more of the bodegas (wine cellars) that are open to the public, such as Gonzalez Byass, Pedro Domecq and Sandeman.

    The 5-star Hotel Villa Jerez is a boutique hotel housed in an 18th C. mansion that was formerly owned by the Domecq family, and evokes the charm and elegance of Jerez. It is located in the heart of the city, close to the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art. The mansion-style hotel is set amidst palm trees in an acre of subtropical gardens, which makes you feel like you are staying in a tranquil country estate.

    The intimacy and charm of the Hotel Villa Jerez can be felt throughout the property.  Its 18 rooms are each uniquely decorated with elegant fabrics and furnishings, and many offer a balcony or terrace.  The Junior Suite is very spacious, and has a living room, separate bedroom, bathroom with hydro-massage tub and separate shower, and balcony or terrace. For more information on the hotel click here

    As usual, thanks for reading. Please visit International Lodging Corporation at our home page.

  5.  

    On the Menu…Restaurante Cervantes, Marbella (Spain)

    Take a break from strolling around the charming streets of Marbella to enjoy a meal at Restaurante Cervantes, which is one of the restaurants overlooking the lovely Plaza de los Naranjos in the heart of Marbella’s Old Town. The restaurant is located in a 17th C. Andalusian manor house, and serves traditional Spanish dishes, such as Callos con Garbanzos (tripe with chickpeas), and Cochinillo (roast suckling pig), as well as other regional and Mediterranean delights. This family owned restaurant will make you feel right at home in their charming corner of this square.

    • Plaza de los Naranjos, 11
    • Marbella, Spain
    • Phone: (952) 776-759
    • Web: Cervantes

    As usual, thanks for reading. Please visit International Lodging Corporation at our home page.

  6.  

    Time to Save…Barcelona Card (Spain)

    For your next visit to Barcelona, don’t forget to purchase a Barcelona Card. This savings card features free travel on public transport, discounts and free offers at museums, cultural venues, leisure facilities, night clubs, shops, and restaurants, as well as other services and unique means of transport.

    You can purchase a card for 2, 3, 4, or 5 consecutive days, and prices range from €27 - €45, so pick the one that best fits your itinerary. For more info on the card click here.

    As usual, thanks for reading. Please visit International Lodging Corporation at our home page.

  7.  

    Checking In…Pousada de Óbidos (Portugal)

    Óbidos is an enchanting medieval walled city rich in history, and only a short drive (80 km) north of Lisbon. The charm and beauty of the town was so endearing that the first king of Portugal, D. Afonso Henriques, presented the town as a gift to his wife, Queen Santa Isabel, in 1148. The white washed houses and stone streets offer visitors an exceptional “back in time” experience.  Beyond its natural beauty, the town has a number of museums, and hosts several wonderful events such as Holy Week, the Ancient Music Festival in October, and the International Chocolate Festival in March.

    In the fortified town of Óbidos is the 12th C. Castelo de Óbidos, which was the first historic monument to be converted into a Pousada in 1951. On July 7, 2007, it was selected as one of the 7 Wonders of Portugal. The 12th C. castle sits atop the charming town of Óbidos, with its winding, narrow stone streets. Entering through the Porta da Villa gate, guests are transported back to medieval times.  Make sure you book your room early, as the hotel only has a total of 9 rooms (try and book the turret rooms). For more information on the Pousada click here 

    As usual, thanks for reading. Please visit International Lodging Corporation at our home page.

  8.  

    On the Menu…Casa Lucio, Madrid (Spain)

    Casa Lucio is located in the heart of Old Madrid, not far from the Plaza Mayor. Since 1974 it has been serving traditional Castilian dishes, such as Callos a la Madrileña (Madrid-style tripe), Cocido (Madrid-style stew), Cochinillo (roast suckling pig), Merluza de la Casa (hake in green sauce), and its signature dish, Huevos Estrellados (“broken eggs” mixed with potatoes). The charming atmosphere of the interior of the restaurant, with its tiled floors and white-washed walls, adds to the warm ambiance created by Lucio and his family, who still run the restaurant to this day.

    • Cava Baja, 35
    • Madrid, Spain
    • Phone: (91) 365-8217
    • Web: Casa Lucio

    As usual, thanks for reading. Please visit International Lodging Corporation at our home page.

  9.  

    Next Stop…Guimarães (Portugal)

    The picturesque medieval town of Guimarães is located about 30 miles northeast of Porto, in the heart of the Minho region. It is the birthplace of Afonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal, and was the country’s first capital. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and will be the European Capital of Culture in 2012.

    On a hilltop just outside of town is a 12th C. Augustinian monastery that was built by Teresa, the mother of Afonso Henriques. There is also a Manueline church that still offers Mass on Sunday, along with extensive grounds and beautifully maintained gardens.

    Today the monastery welcomes guests as the Pousada de Guimarães, Santa Marinha. It is one of the most impressive hotels in the Pousadas group, and was awarded the coveted Europa Nostra prize for its renovation and restoration. The Pousada has 49 rooms and 2 suites that are outfitted in traditional Portuguese style and have been equipped with modern amenities. Guests can enjoy the views of the city below from the beautiful outdoor swimming pool and gardens that surround the hotel. For more information on the Pousada click here

    As usual, thanks for reading. Please visit International Lodging Corporation at our home page.

  10.  

    Checking In…Hotel Meninas, Madrid (Spain)

    The Hotel Meninas is a 4-star boutique hotel that is housed in a historic 19th C. building in the heart of the city, just steps from the Opera House, Royal Palace, and Plaza de Oriente, in an area known as Madrid of the Habsburgs. Many of the buildings in this area were built between the 16th and 18th centuries, when the area was the favorite place of nobles and the bourgeoisie, due to the proximity to the Royal Palace.

    The hotel building, along with the others on this charming cobblestone block, have been restored to showcase the classic style of the buildings and their wrought-iron balconies. The interior of the hotel and its 37 rooms have been fully restored to include modern amenities. The hotel offers Individual and Standard rooms, as well as Junior Suites. The Junior Suites have a separate living room area and can accommodate up to 3 people. Located on the top floor of the hotel, the Special Junior Suites are perfect for families, as they can accommodate up to 4 people. For more information click here

    As usual, thanks for reading. Please visit International Lodging Corporation at our home page.

  11.  

    On the Menu…Mesón del Asador, Jerez (Spain)

    Whether you’re in the mood for having a few tapas at the bar, or for a sit-down meal in the restaurant, you are sure to enjoy both the food and rustic atmosphere at the Mesón del Asador. The restaurant is known not just for the fine quality of its grilled meats, but also for the generous portions served and the friendliness of its staff - all offered at reasonable prices. At the tapas bar be sure to try the cola de toro (oxtail), chistorras (Basque-style sausage), morcilla (blood sausage), and carillada (pig’s cheek). Mesón del Asador is truly a meat-lover’s paradise.

    • Avda. de la Cruz Roja, 20
    • Jerez de la Frontera, Spain
    • Phone: (956) 311-404
    • Web:   Mesón del Asador

    As usual, thanks for reading. Please visit International Lodging Corporation at our home page.

  12.  

    Next Stop…Salamanca (Spain)

    Salamanca is a true gem of a city, located about a 2 hour drive northwest of Madrid. It is well known for its beauty, culture and the ambiance that is rooted in its world-renowned university.

    The University of Salamanca, which was founded in 1218, is the oldest university in Spain and the third oldest university in Europe. The city has a vibrancy and pulse that is quite unique, and stems from the buzz created by the students that come from all parts of Spain, and from around the world, to study at this esteemed institution.

    Salamanca has been nicknamed “La Dorada” (the Golden City) due to the golden color of the sandstone used in many of its buildings, which is quarried in the nearby town of Villamayor. In the sunlight, the buildings give off a warm glow that only adds to the beauty and enchantment of the town. It’s no wonder that Salamanca has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage City. For more information from the Salamanca Tourist Office click here.

    As usual, thanks for reading. Please visit International Lodging Corporation at our home page.

  13.  

    Checking In…Hotel M’AR De AR Aqueduto, Évora (Portugal)

    The city of Évora is the capital of the Upper Alentejo region. It has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and visitors can get a glimpse of its rich and varied history in the city’s many monuments and churches.

    The M’AR De AR Aqueduto is a 5-star hotel located in the heart of the historic city center. The hotel itself is historic, as it was built within the walls of the 16th C. Sepulveda Palace, which still retains the original chapel, dome ceiling, and a set of three Manueline windows from the palace.

    Built alongside the traditional palace is a new wing that showcases contemporary-style architecture and design. The décor of the 64 guest rooms is stylish and elegant, with hardwood floors and neutral colors that are warm and relaxing. Rooms in the Superior category include either a patio or balcony, with views of the historic city center.

    The M’AR De AR Aqueduto provides guests with a unique combination of old and new under one roof. It also offers all the modern amenities expected in a 5-star hotel, including a spa. Guests can relax on the hotel’s rooftop and enjoy the terrace and the pool while taking in the views of the 16th C. aqueduct nearby. For more information click here.

    As usual, thanks for reading. Please visit International Lodging Corporation at our home page.

  14.  

    On the Menu…Portugal’s Other Wine: Vinho Verde

    Most people are familiar with Port wine, the fortified wine named after Portugal’s second largest city. But there is also another uniquely Portuguese wine produced in the Minho region called vinho verde, which literally means “green wine.” The name “green” refers to the freshness of the wine, and not to the color, as the grapes are picked late and it is intended to be drunk within a year of bottling.

    Vinhos verdes are light and fresh, have a lower alcohol content, and are a little bit fizzy. There are both red and white varieties; the reds are deep red in color and tannic, and the whites are lemon or straw colored, with fruity and floral aromas.

    Vinhos verdes are served chilled, and go well with citrus-inspired foods and seafood. They are a perfect summer wine.

    A few Minho region vineyards - click on name for their website:

    As usual, thanks for reading. Please visit International Lodging Corporation at our home page,

  15.  

    Sites to See…Igreja de São Francisco, Porto (Portugal)

    Built between 1383 and 1410, the Church of St. Francis was constructed in a Gothic style, and was transformed with Baroque decoration in the 17th and 18th centuries.

    The church’s ordinary-looking Gothic exterior belies what you will find once you step inside, which is the most extraordinary church interior in Porto, and unquestionably one of the most lavish church interiors in all of Europe.

    • Rua do Infante D. Henrique
    • Porto, Portugal
    • Phone: (222) 006 493

    As usual, thanks for reading. Please visit International Lodging Corporation at our home page.