Although off season represents a better value time to travel, it can also pose it own challenges as many of Andalucía’s hotels close for the low season. Vejer, with its charming village architecture; restaurant scene and unspoilt surrounding countryside is however emerging as an all year destination.
More and more of the local properties are remaining open, including our choice, the Hotel V.
A 17th century traditional patio property is home to this compact, 12 bedroom hotel, opened in 2008.
The hotel has a large multi-levelled roof terrace, offering superb views out across the landscape and between neighbouring buildings one can even catch a glimpse of the Atlantic. In summer this must be a very special place to enjoy sundowners.
Making the booking on the phone was easy and the receptionist could not have been more friendly or helpful.
On arrival, our stay started well, as we were immediately upgraded to the best room in the hotel, the ‘Exclusive Room’ that has its own terrace overlooking the village, main street and countryside.
The rooms are compact, as of course this is an ancient building, but space has been used well, and the bedrooms and bathrooms are together, openplan, giving a greater feeling of space.
The bed was really comfortable with a lovely mattress; comfort mattress cover and high thread count linens. However they don’t accommodate allergy sufferers, so if you are allergic to the natural down pillows, like me, you have to sleep without one, as they don’t have alternatives, like synthetic pillows. Also we had to request a cllean of our room as the floors were very dusty. Towels were clean, fluffy and scented. Bathroom had under floor heating and the hotel was very warm and cosy. They only have medium slippers and bathrobes, so if you are tall like me, then these won’t fit- bit of an oversight for male guests.
The hotel let itself down on its overall limited service. Admittedly it is low season so we were one of only two rooms occupied at the weekend. Even though I think the minimum is that there should be someone on hand from morning to late afternoon based in the property.
That wasn’t the case for us. Oliva, the charming receptionist and her friendly colleague who prepared the breakfast and serviced the rooms, left the hotel mid morning. To reach them one had to call an outside line – but the number didn’t work from the hotel room phone, one had to use our private mobile and even then the number usually went unanswered. So basically no service the whole weekend – we were left to our own devices. The room key comes with a card saying 'Are you ready to be pampered?' Well, yes we were ready, but we didn't feel pampered. Shame as I think the potential is huge here.
There was an honour bar, but this was not well stocked and was totally overpriced! If I have to make my own G & T I want lemon or lime, choice of gin and plenty of tonics. Well, there was no lemon or lime, only one choice of gin and only one tonic. Even so the price of the drink was 7 euro – the same as in a city hotel with full service, canapés etc. Too much in my mind for what really is a upmarket B&B.
There was also a Nespresso coffee machine – good to me able to serve yourself to an espresso – but this was not complementary, despite the room priced at 190 euro a night low season. No, a .35 cent capsule was billed at 4 euro for each espresso. For me, that excessive mark up of some massive 1000% plus, just leaves a bad taste.
What’s more breakfast is not included, in high or low season. But with room rates of 200 euro in low season and 350 in high season, I think the simple breakfast should be included. It's not – and at 9.50 euro one only gets toast, ham, cheese, tomato, grapes and yoghurt. The same breakfast in a bar next door is half the price. Don't get me wrong, its beautifully presented and brought to the room – but even so…
I don’t mind paying for breakfast when it is a large buffet with a range of products and cooked dishes. I don’t mind paying for egg dishes like Eggs Benedict, but to pay for slices of toast and tomato pulp I think is naughty. The hotel was empty on one of the village’s busiest weekends of the year. I can only imagine that they have priced themselves out of the market.
When we mentioned this politely to Oliva, of course we are simply directed to email the Dutch owner, the absentee landlord.
This is often the case that wealthy Northern Europeans set up upscale boutique hotels or restaurants in Andalucía only to leave them unattended with limited staff.
But for 200 – 300 euro a night, there are many options in the world of hospitality.
We really enjoyed our stay, and it was the perfect antidote to a busy time at work, but we won’t return at these prices, unless the overpriced extras are eliminated. The Americans called this 'nickle and diming' the clients and its true, when a hotel goes out of its way to win an extra 20 euro a head, it just spoils it. Especially when guests are left without any support of service.
C/ Rosario, 11-13 11150 Vejer de la Frontera, Cadiz Tel: (+34) 956 45 17 57