We Capture the Castle – Castillo del Buen Amor:
When I agreed to be Catherine’s Godmother, I *think* perhaps I was a little confused about the role. ‘Godmother’ after all must be close to ‘Fairy Godmother’, bringing with it an indisputable responsibility to make wishes come true and bring sparkle and fairy-dust into lives. Well, maybe I WAS confused, but throughout my relationship with Catherine I’ve tried my best to fulfil at least part of the role of ‘FAIRY Godmother’
Aunty Fiona – why do you have sequins under your skirt?
asked an inquisitive six year old Catherine
Well, it’s because I’m a Fairy – you know – your Fairy Godmother
Aghast looks from a child just a little bit too old to REALLY believe in fairies and Father Christmas. But one who only a few months earlier had seen Sleeping Beauty on stage at the Royal Opera House complete with a ‘real’ Fairy Godmother in the form of the Lilac Fairy.
But it’s TRUE. At night I shrink to Fairy size. My hair stays the same length so I have really long fairy hair and my wings unfurl. AND, my skirt (which had a sequinned underskirt) flips inside out so that I sparkle.
Catherine as it happens doesn’t remember that conversation, nor does she remember that her fairy statue used to appear in the morning with just a little soil stuck to her wings (thanks to a diligent mother). She does remember trips to the ballet and the opera, where we’d buy four tickets for the cheapest box so that the children could sit on the floor and draw when the show got just that little bit too long.
All grown up now and at University studying languages I see no reason why our fairytale trips should stop and thankfully nor does she. This year, we have visited Castile and Leon, part of Spain which borders onto Portugal and is perhaps most remarkable for the wealth of castles and fortified towns. And of course for the ancient University City of Salamanca which I will cover later. Exactly whose wish it was to stay in a Castle there I’m not sure – it could have been either or both of us. But that is just what we did.
Castillo del Buen Amor is about 15km outside Salamanca. Originally a fort dating back to 1227, the so called ‘Castle of Good Love’ seems to have provided a hideaway for Bishops and Archbishops with their mistresses. until the 15th Century, when the property passed to the first Earl of Villanueva de Canedo, Don Antonio de Fonseca. By the mid twentieth century, despite being declared a Historic Artistic Monument in 1931 it became increasingly dilapidated, until in 1958, the current owners, the family of Troconiz Fernandez, renovated and restored the Castle to its former glory.
And that is where we headed.
It is a unique place to stay. I’ve visited a number of the Pousadas and Paradores in Portugal and Spain and generally loved every minute of my stay. But in the past I’ve always found them just a little bit formal. Castillo del Buen Amor manages to keep a ‘family’ feeling, despite the grandeur of the surroundings. My suite had its own comfy sitting room with sofas, armchairs and a desk as well as a large bedroom
And an ornate bathroom complete with large bath and separate shower.
The restaurant is perhaps the most formal area of the Castle, with an elaborate dinner menu
And a stunning breakfast buffet (cooked options are available on request, but hardly necessary)
There’s a swimming pool built in what would have been the moat of the Castle
And there are a variety of rooms so that the hotel can accommodate families, visitors with small dogs and those who would struggle with the stone staircases and walkways but still want to appreciate the splendour of the castle.
If you want, you can enjoy a picnic in the grounds of the hotel
And many of the rooms have stunning balconies where you can watch the sun set
It is beautiful and romantic, especially at night and I gather it’s a popular wedding destination so often fully booked at the weekends.
And if you don’t end up in a suite, you’ll find plenty of public spaces where you can sit and just relax. In fact our plans for exploring changed because we loved the Castillo del Buen Amor so much we just didn’t want to leave.
Isn’t that the best possible recommendation for a hotel?
With many thanks to Malibu UK for helping to make this my #BestSummerEver by sponsoring this trip to Salamanca. And to the Staff at Castillo de Buen Amor for looking after us so well during our stay.
And of course to my God Daughter for translating so well.
If you’d like to stay at Castillo del Buen Amor, check their website. I’d advise letting them know what kind of room you are looking for – this historic building has grand rooms that have never had a window, which some might find claustrophobic and there is a wide choice of rooms some with balconies and interconnecting which are a great idea for families. We found the team at Castillo del Buen Amor very willing to help and advise us. I’d also recommend making sure you have clear directions before you leave. I thought we’d started off well prepared with both a sat nav and printed directions, but we still managed to spend a happy hour driving round the nearby village of Topaz. It actually shouldn’t have been hard to find at all, but the written directions don’t make a great deal of sense and the castle didn’t appear on our GPS, even when we used the full address.