Hotel Alminar stands in the heart of graceful, characterful, charismatic Seville. And because it gives onto a tiny pedestrianised street it is quieter than you might imagine – a treat in a city of early-rise dust carts and midnight mopeds. The owners and the young staff take great pride in the Alminar and could hardly be more helpful with tips and recommendations. This handsomely renovated townhouse, where once flamenco dresses were made, opened in 2005 with a sprinkling of rooms, the nicest being at the top: nos. 31 and 32 have their own small terraces and a bird’s-eye views of the Giralda. They are plainly minimalist in style, with cream walls, clean lines, sober furniture in neutral shades, and fabulous bathrooms in immaculate mosaics. There are magazines, foreign newspapers and free coffee in reception. No lounge, lobby or courtyard, and limited space at buffet breakfast – but who cares where there are so many enticing bars close to hand? Start the day with the locals over a café con leche. The Arab baths are five minutes away; the Moorish palace of Alcazar and its oasis of a garden are unmissable.