Wednesday in Jerez started off with a bang… just enough time to get from the train station to the hotel to drop off bags before heading over to Bodegas Gonzalez Byass for one of their winery tours. It’s almost ridiculous that I have only got over to the G-B bodega now as I’ve known people there for so long, but there you go. Anyhow, it was quite a show and you are immediately impressed by the size and importance of the place. But it’s not just show as the wines are excellent and – I can’t help it – I adore the iconic Tío Pepe logo.
The hotel which shall not remain nameless – THE BELLAS ARTES HOTEL – was so disappointing I wanted to weep. The first room we were shown was so small, dark and cheerless (and this was after splashing out on their “executive” twin option) that I immediately asked for another room. Well, the next one was even worse, though it did have a window facing the square. Finally I was promised one of their best rooms, with floor-to-ceiling windows and blah blah blah, and it was okay. Barely. Anyhow, will go into this more when I write the official review, but let’s just say I wasn’t happy. And I would’ve changed hotels but the not-so-nice people at Belles Artes said they wouldn’t refund my second night as I’d booked a “special offer”. Fuck. Them.
Likewise our lunchtime tapeo was a bit of a bust. The two places we tried were okay, but nothing special. We did a bit better in the evening, finding a special “ruta” of tabancos and tuna, finishing off at La Cruz Blanca for a last snack. Basically we stayed out until bedtime so that we didn’t have to spend any more time in the hotel room as necessary. Ah well… with three more bodega tours booked for the next day we had that to look forward to.