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Hotel AF Pesquera
Penafiel, Spain - Hotel Review

Experiencing Spain's Wine Country

by Becky Sue Epstein

The courtyard of Hotel AF Pesquera in Peñafiel, Spain
The courtyard of Hotel AF Pesquera in Peñafiel, Spain

Despite being only a couple hours' drive north of Madrid, Ribera del Duero, one of Spain's most famous wine regions, gets relatively few tourists. But in the area known for its blockbuster red wines made from the Tempranillo grape, the city of Penafiel is a great location to headquarter when touring the region's wineries, which range from spectacularly modern to traditional in design. And Alejandro Fernandez, the father of modern winemaking in Spain, has just opened a boutique hotel to encourage more visitors to venture up here.

After a four-year renovation, the Hotel AF Pesquera opened in April 2011 in an airy, 100-year-old, former flour factory in Peñafiel, the regional capital of Ribera del Duero. It has all the trappings of a big-city boutique hotel, from the mid-century modern feel of its furnishings to the re-usable cloth sacks filled with Etro bath items.

Of the 36 rooms, there are 24 doubles, two suites and four lofts; the rest are so-called "special rooms," done in black and white and named after famous novels. Rooms — and beds — are small, but all have cable TV and mini-fridges, glass walls in showers and bathrooms and Internet access. Gauzy drapes soften the rooms without making them feel feminine. Hues throughout the hotel are muted, warm neutrals accented by tone-on-tone patterns and occasional splashes of color.

A well-appointed guest room at the Hotel AF Pesquera in Peñafiel, Spain Stylish mid-century modern furnishings at Hotel AF Pesquera in Peñafiel, Spain
A well-appointed guest room
Stylish mid-century modern furnishings

At Luna Llena restaurant the service is extremely professional. Its small menu is executed extremely well, offering a modern spin on regional dishes with local ingredients and great presentation. There's also a very nice wine list, with special bottles available from the on-site La Bodega de Alejandro. In addition, the ground floor houses a bar and a lounge. Various sizes of meeting rooms and function rooms are also available for events, including a below-ground wine tasting cellar. Fitness fans will appreciate the spa and workout room.

The hotel is an easy day or early evening walk to the edge of the charming old section of Peñafiel, with narrow lanes — each with a few shops or a café — running between a small, stone church and the old parkway along the river. It's a refreshing hike up to the restored Castle of Peñafiel, which overlooks the city. The castle can be glimpsed from front hotel rooms, while rear rooms overlook the hotel's small, pleasant garden space. For now, do avoid the side rooms, as they offer unattractive views onto an area that is barely up-and-coming. All in all, the very stylish Hotel AF Pesquera is a great base from which to explore Ribera del Duero and its wineries.


Hotel AF Pesquera
Calle de la Estación, 1
47300 Peñafiel (Valladolid), Spain
+34 983 881 212


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(Updated: 09/08/11 CT)


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