This morning I was treated to coffee at one of the oldest hotels in Ronda, the Reina Victoria, which is one of the Husa group’s 5 star hotels in Spain. We sat on the terrace overlooking the tajo gorge, completely alone and in the shade, but looking out over the most incredible site, the sun kissing the hills as it rose on the other side of the valley.
I had no idea I was going to have coffee in the hotel cafeteria, the person I was meeting however is tired of the same place we always go, and she really wanted a break. The Reina Victoria (Queen Victoria Hotel to English speakers) has been home to some of Spain’s most illustrious visitors, and despite her age is holding up well.
The hotel is well over 100 years old, but I think the staff take care to preserve that old world charm that must have captivated nobility of the early 20th century. The various lounges look dated, but in a luxurious way rather than a dowdy way.
The terrace was of course our reason for visiting, sure we enjoyed the coffee, even if it was a little bit more expensive than we would normally pay, yet the view made up the difference. As you’d expect from a hotel on the edge of Ronda’s Tajo Gorge, the terrace looks down into the cauldron, and across to the Virgen de la Cabeza cave church, an old Spanish church.
Being one of Spain’s 5 star hotels, you can expect the location to be perfect, far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the city, but close enough to still be part of what’s happening if you want it. I’m not saying I’d recommend the hotel for guests, I haven’t seen the rooms or the quality of service or the food prepared in the restaurant, but for having a coffee on a lazy morning it’s perfect.
Recently a Burger King opened in Ronda, Spain, and being a lover of fine fast food dining it was only a matter of time until I ventured in to taste their best efforts. For two weeks I’ve been walking past their front door wondering if they are as good as Burger King in Germany, the UK, or even the USA.
I remember driving from France to Andalusia and stopping at a roadside Burger King in Madrid and being very satisfied, but Ronda is a smaller town and a lot can go wrong if customers don’t know what to expect.
Today’s attempt has left me feeling a little cheated, the restaurant looks great, all shiny and new, a couple of new flat screen TVs playing Spain’s equivalent of MTV, the walls tastefully decorated with posters offering enticing images of mouth watering burgers and happy people, it can’t get better.
Until you actually eat their food. Sheesh, the fries are limp, obviously not cooked in clean oil, and they’re unsalted, or if they are salted then only just enough to satisfy the kitchen people that their salt dispenser is being used.
The burger bun isn’t fresh, actually I take that back, they are fresh, but obviously sweated in the plastic bag because they have that overly moist feeling, and the cheese is barely melted. The bacon I had on my “doble cheese bacon burger” was obviously overcooked and left under a hot light to dry out further, not a good start. All this for the princely sum of 5.75€
Just to see if I was being unfair I peaked around the kitchen doorway, and witnessed to my horror the girl making burgers with her bare hands, no gloves, and at the same time handling a pencil to write on the paper wrapper. The bun and cheese were handled, whilst the meat was placed on the bun with tongs, but then the top one raised by hand so that the cheese could be inserted.
And then she wiped her greasy hands on a towel on the counter before closing the wrapper. I’m afraid after witnessing that I doubt I’ll be able to eat at Ronda’s Burger King again. Serves me right I suppose, I should just gone to a tapas bar. It would have been cheaper and more satisfying.
I was out walking around Ronda yesterday and decided to take a short walk half way down the El Tajo gorge, I’m glad I did because for the first time I saw the double waterfall below the new bridge (Puente Nuevo). Also check out my photo of the Puente Nuevo from below.