Spain is one of the most popular tourist destinations for good reason. But while most people flock to the big cities and pristine beaches, the truth is, there is another Spain out there that visitors rarely see. And it's even more charming and far more authentic than the all time favourites.
A few days ago we went to Alcoy, a small city in the province of Alicante, south of Valencia, for the Moors and Christians Festival. There are plenty of festivals throughout Spain celebrating the reconquista, but for all it's worth Alcoy hosts the most impressive one. It's a 3 day never-ending parade, including historical reenactments, a religious side and some of the most gorgeous costumes you will ever see. So totally worth it!
With this occasion, we stayed at AC Hotel Ciutat de Alcoy by Marriott, a comfortable hotel in walking distance from the city centre. The hotel is probably the best this city has to offer in terms of accommodation, and we soon found out it had plenty of advantages.
Our room at AC Hotel Ciutat de Alcoy overlooked the lush green valley of Serpis River and the San Jorge Bridge. Alcoy is actually known as the City of Bridges, but we have to admit, the San Jorge one is the prettiest and we were delighted to wake up every morning to these views.
The city bathed in sunlight and the mountains in the backdrop, were incredibly inviting and it was quite easy to get itchy feet. Which was just perfect, because after a good night's sleep away from the concerts of firecrackers that wouldn't stop until very late at night and starting very early in the morning, we felt energised and ready to further experience this wonderful festival.
The hotel has two parts - the old and the new building - but it looks modern through and through. The staff was, honestly, among the nicest we've ever met in a hotel. They proved to be incredibly helpful all the time and no request was too small. If only people everywhere were so nice, the world would be a better place.
We loved the bathroom, and above all, the large glass sink. While not exactly something one might be eager to have in their own home (because of the obvious compulsive cleaning inducing properties), this is precisely the kind the detail that found in a hotel, makes us think they are definitely ready to go the extra mile for their clients.
The breakfast was served overlooking the same valley and bridge, only this time they looked even more spectacular through the floor to ceiling windows. Sitting in comfortable armchairs, we enjoyed a delicious typical Spanish breakfast every morning.
Think Spanish-style toast with tomatoes, Serrano ham, freshly squeezed orange juice form the nearby orange groves, delicious cured cheeses and pastries. All in all, a very healthy start of the day that reminded us rather of a granny's home cooked breakfast.
Alcoy is a city steeped in history and as far as Spanish fiestas go, the Moors and Christians of Alcoy is quite a must. But the beautiful natural surroundings are not to be ignored either. From prehistorical rock paintings and ruins of Iberian settlements, to great outdoor activities, like hiking, climbing and biking, Alcoy is Spain in its most pure form.
At AC Hotel Ciutat de Alcoy they are quite happy to help organise a memorable stay for you, including camel rides, helicopter and hot air balloon rides, and bike rentals (they even have a few bikes ready to go right on the premises!).