The city of Granada sits roughly 2,200 feet above sea level at the base of Spain's Sierra Nevada Mountains. The famous Alhambra fortress looms atop one of the city's tallest hills, dominating the skyline with its ornate splendor. What began as a castle and palace complex for the Nasrid kings in 1238 has endured over the centuries, becoming one of Spain's top attractions. The Alhambra receives over 2 million visitors per year, according to Fodor's Travel Guide. Tourists in search of hotels near the Alhambra have numerous options available to them, though several stand out for their close proximity to the fortress.
Parador de Granada
Fodor's Travel Guide recommends the Parador de Granada as the city's most expensive and popular hotel. Situated within the fabled grounds of the Alhambra, this hotel occupies a former Franciscan monastery that was built in the 15th century after the Catholic monarchs captured Granada from the Moors. The rooms feature exquisite Mudéjar architecture, and the common spaces of the hotel consist of lush gardens and tranquil terraces. There are 34 rooms and two suites to choose from. All quarters have free Internet. Additional amenities include an on-site restaurant as well as a bar and free parking. Book far in advance, as this hotel remains in high demand throughout the year.
Aside from the Parador, Hotel América is the only other place to stay within the actual grounds of the Alhambra, according to Frommer's Travel Guide. Located in a Victorian-era building, the Hotel América offers a convenient and relatively affordable option for visitors wishing to stay as close as possible to the fortress. There are 17 rooms, all with Internet and private baths or showers. The hotel consists of two wings separated by a verdant courtyard. Amenities include an outdoor patio and bar as well as a restaurant that serves only breakfast and lunch. Despite its small size, this hotel offers comfortable accommodations and picturesque views of the Alhambra and the distant Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Hotel Alhambra Palace
The Hotel Alhambra Palace lies just south of the main entrance to the fortress. Constructed in 1910, this lavish hotel mimics the Moorish style of the Alhambra with elegant interior decor and a crowning dome on the roof. It takes only 10 minutes to walk to the Alhambra from here, according to Frommer's. There are 115 doubles rooms and 11 suites. A select handful of rooms have balconies with views over the city of Granada, so ask for one of these if scenery and aesthetic appeal are high priorities. Facilities here range from an a la carte restaurant and an upscale bar to a business center and an on-site babysitting service.
Pension Posada Doña Lupe
Budget-minded travelers may prefer the affordable rates of the Pension Posada Doña Lupe. Located opposite the entrance to the Alhambra and Generalife Gardens, the Pension Posada Doña Lupe provides cheap and simple accommodations ideal for backpackers and bargain hunters. It may be less expensive, but the hotel still boasts a rooftop swimming pool and solarium, open from March to November. Other facilities include a cafeteria, laundry machines and small bar. The hotel provides a complimentary breakfast each morning in the cafeteria, and Internet access is free as well. Some guestrooms have private bathrooms, while others are dorm style with a shared lavatory.
- vista alhambra 05 image by Paco Ayala from Fotolia.com