A wine and olive spa may be an odd way to define a hotel, but in the case of Hacienda Zorita Wine Hotel and Spa it’s a prime attraction. The owners, actually a Spanish wine conglomerate, make wine and olive oil in the area around their one, splendidly secluded, boutique hotel as well as running an organic farm, and they certainly have a spa on the premises making therapeutic use of the by-products of the vine and olive tree.
In fact the Hacienda, a converted medieval monastery near the historic town of Salamanca in Spain’s Duero Valley, is best described as a sanctuary, blessed with utter peace and quite and the charm of a river running through it. Rooms are simple but supremely comfortable, many blessed with private patios on which to sun, read or contemplate.
There is plenty of sociability to be had in the rustic restaurant showcasing the produce of the organic farm nearby, which makes several kinds of buffalo mozzarella, sheeps’ cheese, a goat cheese and olive oil. Good food is served with some fine bottles from the Hacienda’s wineries, which extend across the country to Rioja, Rueda and Ribera del Duero as well as local production a stone’s throw from the Portuguese border.
Spiritual nourishment is delivered along with very fine massage using grape and olive products in a tiny mill on the premises, and private yoga is available on demand in the chapel opposite. A pleasing half-day can and should be spent down on the farm surveying the sheep, goats and woolly mangalica pigs whose diet of acorns produces the distinctive Iberico ham served so prodigiously at both breakfast and dinner. Intriguingly, the owners’ Italian ancestors brought with them to Spain the art of making balsamic vinegar, currently in its 10th year of maturation on the farm and available for tasting with the cheese and olive oil.
While walking or biking in the Hacienda Zorita Natural Reserve where their closest winery is located is one excursion to relish, the old town of Salamanca is another not to be missed at night. The owners can arrange private tours of the stunning cathedral after doors close on day-trippers; it’s a 90-minute extravaganza which includes a profound sound and light experience and a thrilling 200-step climb into the belfry. Afterwards, there’s more architecture to admire from ground level in this town of mediaeval stone-carvers over an alfresco meal in town to ring the changes.
The Hacienda, a Small Luxury Hotels property is most easily reached from Madrid, which allows a stop at the company’s excellent restaurant in the embassy quarter, The Warehouse. Despite the name, it’s a smart place serving posh nosh which makes a wonderful foil for the company’s top of the range wines, notably the HZ Reserva Ribera del Duero
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Rooms from £147
Hacienda Zorita Wine Hotel and Spa
Tel: + 34 923 12 94 00