AC Palacio De Santa Paula, Granada

Carol West

What is it? Behind the sleek foyer is an elegantly refurbished, mid-16th-century convent, which forms part of the emblematic Palacio de Santa Paula. The ambience of the hotel so inspired musician Bruce Springsteen when he stayed here that he left his suite to sit on the cloistered upper floor, treating a surprised guest to an impromptu concert. In addition to the former convent, a charming 14th-century Moorish house, Casa Morisca, is part of the hotel compound, within which 16 rooms wrap companionably around a central patio.

What are the rooms like? The opulent decor favours authentic, handcrafted quality materials. Richly hued leather chairs, terracotta tiles, ancient timbers and small patios set with wicker chairs and fragrant candles run counterpoint to sleek LCD televisions, complimentary Wi-fi and well-stocked mini bars. The Bishop Suite, decorated in cardinal red with charcoal furnishings, antique desk, claw-foot bath and ecclesiastical sculptures, made such an impression on former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev that the owners renamed it the Presidential Suite (below).

How about dining? The feasts served at the sleek El Claustro dining room are local delicacies with an international twist. An impressive wine collection is housed in dark cabinetry adorned with cruciforms. Under a rustic, wooden-beamed ceiling, staff present entrees of Iberian ham from Navalpedroche, marinated sardines and white asparagus salad.

What's the bottom line? Rooms start at Euro120 (HK$1,150) per night.

The AC Palacio De Santa Paula is at Gran Via de Colon, 31, Granada, Spain, tel: 34 902 292 293;