In a world of branded chain hotels, consumed for ease and efficiency, it’s not always easy to find somewhere that’s totally unique and rare. But I’ve found a place so special that I don’t think I’ll ever get it out of my head…A two hour drive from Madrid lies Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine – once a twelfth century monastery now a five star hotel and vineyard with a Michelin star restaurant spanning a 1,730 acre estate.
Once The Abbey of Santa Maria de Retuerta and now Hotel LeDomaine and Abadía Retuerta Winery in Valladolid located in the prestigious Ribera del Duero wine region. It is the ultimate hotel for wining, dining and relaxation.
This hotel will take your breath away from first sight as you turn off the main road and down a path lined with vines growing grapes harvested to produced the estate’s world class wines.
And if you’re not won over immediately by the beautiful stone exterior of the former monastery, you will be as soon as you enter reception…
As a large jar of help-yourself-sweets are there for the taking. After staying here and at Grand Hotel Tremezzo, I firmly believe every hotel should have pic ‘n mix in the lobby. I have so much to tell you about this simply wonderful hotel it’s hard to know where to begin – so let’s start with the room. There are only 27 rooms and three suites at LeDomaine and with over a hundred members of staff, you can guarantee totally excellent service that is personalised to every guest. It’s seriously no wonder that Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine was named Hideaway of the Year 2017 by luxury travel expert Andrew Harper and best hotel in Spain by TripAdvisor.
Entering through a bright vestibule there’s a desk and dressing table with coffee machine – plenty of room to relax, do your make up and enjoy a brew in the morning.
Our Junior Suite simply defined under-stated elegance with a four poster bed, walnut finishes and a beautifully beamed high ceiling.
The room flows beautifully and there a seamless blend from the bed to the lounge area. It’s hard to believe that this luxurious lodging was once a monk’s cell!
Though of course those days of religious austerity are long gone as plenty of treats await you on arrival such as a bowl of fresh seasonal cherries.
Windows look out directly on to the vineyard where there are fields of green as far as the eye can see. The room is all clean lines, white walls and splashes of colour – overcomplicated decor would detract from the natural beauty outside and the incredible original architecture of this nearly 1,000 year Abbey. Not only a totally original hotel but also the oldest building I’ve ever stayed in.
The bathroom is beautifully finished in mosaic marble tiles and a wooden clad bath.
And the products are from luxury French skincare brand, Anne Semonin who also offer treatments in the spa.
After a two hour flight and two hour drive we were incredibly pleased to see a gift of the estate vineyard’s own wine and locally produced cheese in the room.
And this wine was seriously delicious…but more on that coming up in another post. Every room is allocated a butler and we were given a mobile phone to contact him on with service always being quick and of an extremely high standard. Any time we left the room there was a member of staff waiting in the corridor to guide us to where we needed to go.
The corridors are the original galleries of the Abbey and still maintain their lofty grace; high ceilings and arch ways, the exposed stone and huge windows. Did you ever see a hotel corridor quite like this? With around 80% of the light being natural the passage way is flooded with light and dramatic shadows are cast on the stone floors.
Originally built in 1145 for the Premonstratensian Order the Abbey is Baroque-Romanesque in style with a classic Benedictine layout of church, cloister, refectory, chapter house and hospedería. One of only two such abbeys to have survived destruction by Napoleon, Abadía Santa Maria de Retuerta was carefully preserved and it was only recently that it went under the eight year restoration to turn it into a luxury hotel opening in 2012. With Italian architect Marco Serra at the helm of the restoration – the result is impeccable and the attention to detail is flawless. Using local materials and traditional techniques was of the utmost importance to Serra, one of the most important being the Campaspero stone used throughout the property.
During the restoration total respect was paid to the hotel’s heritage and no alteration was made to the Romanesque-Baroque architecture.
In the centre of the hotel is Jardín del Claustro, which centuries years ago was the cloister of the Abbey. Fast forward to now and it’s the perfect place for an outdoor lunch under the Spanish sun. If you look hard enough out of this window, you can see the hotel’s resident stork!
It’s actually a perfect square framed by the majestic walls of Monastry.
Now LeDomaine isn’t the world’s only converted Monastry hotel, but it’s the first I’ve stayed in – meaning it’s the first hotel that I’ve stayed in with a chapel like this!
Walking under these arches was utterly awe-inspiring and we took a moment to cast our minds back to what it must have been like here 1000 years ago. Seriously LeDomaine feels more like being in a museum than a hotel.
Of course this temple hasn’t been used by monks for centuries but Mr S and I still talked in hush tones out of respect for it’s spiritual history…
But despite the heady weight of the past, it felt totally and utterly peaceful and serene…somewhere just to totally switch off for a few days.
There’s not a hair out of place in this beautiful hotel and the historic areas blend perfectly into the more modern space. Brick walls, columns and artwork are preserved in The Chapter room lounge area but modern comforts such as the slouchy sofas by Ralph Lauren, plump cushions and luxurious rugs mean that this is nothing less that five star.
The ideal place to come for a drink before dinner in the hotel’s Michelin star restaurant, Refectorio or at Vinoteca, the more casual dining space. More on those in my next post.
Also of note in the hotel’s stunning interior is the original 16th century Baroque staircase which is also perfectly preserved.
The exterior of the hotel is every bit as lofty as the interior…
And another beautiful courtyard-like space connects the original structure of the abbey with the newer spa annex and pool. I’ll cover the Santuario LeDomaine Wellness & Spa more fully in another post but suffice to say, it’s worth visiting the hotel for the spa alone and it’s unique concept.
The garden manicured to perfection with distant views to the hills beyond…
Take a walk through the perfectly kept hedges and the tranquility is complete with a beautiful outdoor pool.
As you can imagine it was love at first sight for Mr S…
And as you lap up the rays of the scorching Spanish sun, you can order a food from the Pool bar, a bottle of the Abadía Retuerta wine or a refreshing glass of the hotel’s special brew of Sangria!
Yes, Adabía Retuerta LeDomaine is a rare and precious find – a hotel of extreme beauty in the Spanish countryside that I’m already dreaming of going back to.
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Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine
47340 Sardon de Duero
+34 983 680 368
This post is sponsored by Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine