Hotel Palacio Carvajal Girón
“A 16th-century palace lovingly converted into a luxury gastro-hotel with superb cuisine and delightful staff.”
As its name suggests, the Palacio Carvajal Girón was once a resplendent Renaissance palace. It underwent loving restoration in 2012 to become the luxurious, modern hotel it is today. New hotel openings require the utmost attention to detail in their photographic portfolio and marketing, as the images will be the very first seen by potential guests and the global hotel industry. Hotel Essence Photography were commissioned to shoot all aspects of the hotel through architectural, interior and food photography, with a particular focus on the rooms, pool in the bodega, café and restaurant. The chef is always at the heart of a hotel, so portraits of Chef Ramon and his creative kitchen staff were also part of the hotel’s image collection. The images were used for the hotel’s opening campaign for branding, editorial and advertising, and Michelle Chaplow returned to do a mini session shortly after to enhance the collection.
Crew members involved in the shoot included photographer Michelle Chaplow, stylist Pam Elson, digital work-flow Cheryl Gatward and photo assistant Joaquin Alarcon.
One of the lasting memories of this hotel opening is the friendliness of the staff, championed by the bonhomie of the owners, Darío Martínez de Azcona Doblas and his flamboyant father Antonio Martínez de Azcona.
Guests are welcomed into a beautiful, immaculately restored Spanish patio by the hotel’s attentive staff. The hotel has 28 rooms, all elegantly modern though fused with elements of the original historic features.
The hotel has a small outdoor plunge pool which is open in the summer months and a spa that features a heated pool located in the old cellar of the Palace, which opens in the winter season. Guests can request cava or champagne paired with a single white rose. It’s easy to see why the hotel, which specialises in weddings and events, prides itself on its status as a romantic destination to tie the knot.
There is a restaurant, and café with a gastro bar, serving delicious traditional tapas and more. The restaurant produces innovative, sophisticated Spanish cuisine based on seasonal produce, much of which comes from local sources in Extremadura. A decade on, this hotel is now well established on the Spanish Gastro hotel watch list.
One of the outstanding features of the Palacio Carvajal is its spacious feel; the grand central atrium has an impressive, pillared arcade and balcony; large bedrooms feature huge baths, each one different in character and design. This special location is a wonderful stepping stone to the surrounding walled city; guests can enjoy the emblematic churches and public buildings of Plasencia during their stay at the Palacio Carvajal Girón, or take a short trip into the nearby national park. In Spring, guests have incredible views of millions of cherry blossom trees at Valle del Jerte (The Jerte Valley), a brief sighting that occurs for two weeks of the year, usually at the end of March depending on the climatic conditions.
Located in the very heart of the monumental district of Plasencia, a historic town in the little-known region of Extremadura, west of Madrid, this sixteenth-century palace was lovingly converted into the 28-room exquisite Palacio Carvajal Girón Hotel. This restoration was completed in 2012, when the Hotel Essence team were invited to capture the new hotel. The Palacio offers incredible views from its terrace of the city and the nearby cathedral. The historic building was declared by the government as an Asset of Cultural Interest in the same year the hotel opened.
Architectural interior designer Rafael Sitges has managed to preserve the character of the old building, while adding a contemporary feel. Exposed stone walls, polished concrete, original tiles and different woods are what Sitges describes as ‘very organic’ materials. Every fine detail has been carefully executed by skilled artisans.
The hotel is now owned by Arrey hotels. The opening photos taken by Hotel Essence have stood the test of time and are still featured on the hotel’s website, a testament to the crucial value of high quality imagery in guiding a hotel through its opening, editorial, branding and advertising. A decade later, the photos are just as valuable as they were on day one, and were a sound investment for the Palacio Carvajal.