Situated in the square where the town-hall of Zafra is located, the Casa Palacio Conde de La Corte hotel stands out; due firstly to its façade which transports us immediately to a universe of refinement, and also to the magnificence of the building itself, that we came to discover was a noble house, more precisely belonging to Don Agustín Mendoza y Montero, Conde de la Corte and his family.
Bags unpacked, we went down to the lobby. Although the beauty of the façade had alerted to what we would find in the interior, we were not prepared for what received us. Not at all pretentious, as at first we could have thought, Casa Palacio Conde de La Corte received us as we receive friends, with much sympathy and charming simplicity. On the walls, details remind us we are in an area where bull farms and bullfights are a tradition upheld until today, old photographs bring us an endless number of people that appear happy, as if to entreating us to leave our problems outside and to allow ourselves to be happy now, here. The reception, in the lobby, occupies what was once an open patio and today is covered by a glass ceiling where light flows in without permission, making everything more luminous.
Once the formalities were resolved, it was time to discover the room that was assigned to us and thus the surprise was even bigger, because we didn´t expect a room of that size! Really spacious, it looked like a room from a history book, where at any moment the room maid would make her appearance to help us dress and comb our hair. Once gone through the door, the bathroom was also a surprise, because if the room was big and somewhat sumptuous, the bathroom did not fall behind. Very comfortable and properly equipped, it was also a dressing room of very generous areas, if we will take its function into account. We would have loved to take off our shoes and run a relaxing bath, but it was time to leave for Zafra, with the intention of unravelling some of its secrets.
Having returned to the hotel and before a dinner that was bound to be unforgettable, we tried to understand more of the building´s history before it became a hotel. We discovered it was built in 1840, and for decades remained as Don Agustín Mendoza y Montero family´s house, and that in the mid 20th century was transformed in an important centre for the development and promotion of bullfighting (an activity of significant economic importance in the region and to which the Don Agustín family has always been connected). Before being what we see today, the building was subjected to an important restoration project, but the essential spirit of the old family house was not lost for a second, since the historical and architectural details that transport the spirit bull farming of the previous owners were maintained and respected. To enhance the beauty of the space, a special attention was given to the colours and lighting of the spaces, that reveal themselves comfortable and attractive. An interesting detail is the fact that each room was given a name of a bull farm, as homage to the activity that has always served as base to the regional economy and to its people.
But don´t think there isn´t much to do there - you have the right to opt for idleness, but the more active can also request a bicycle and discovery the outskirts, grab a book and savour it page by page in the library, ask to have a coffee or a refreshing beverage in the terrace or why not, plunge in the hotel's swimming pool.
Properly recomposed, it was time to restore our energies in a dinner that would be served in the Barbacana restaurant. The hotel's neighbour revealed itself to be the right complement to the stay at the Casa Palacio Conde de La Corte, for that memorable night delicacies we were brought such as a fabulous assorted Iberian sausages, an octopus confit salad, an Iberian pork carpaccio, the smoked salmon lasagna with garlic and mushrooms and some delicious little Iberian pork loins with carbonara potatoes and cherry salad. Already mouth watering? We believe so… now imagine finishing this banquet with a white chocolate dome with strawberries and mint filling… an unforgettable gastronomical experience… for us and the scale, as we were able to establish on returning home!
Sandra Pinto is a Journalist of Viagens & Resorts Magazine.