If you take the A5 out of Madrid and drive for a little under 300 kms you will arrive to Caceres, a much forgotten town in my opinion but Caceres has been bestowed the honor by UNESCO of being considered world heritage. This town houses wonderful examples of both medieval and renaissance architecture in a perfect state of conservation. It is a journey to the past.
Walking through its winding cobbled streets you will find Atrio. This 14 room hotel belongs to the world-renowned hotel chain Relais & Chateaux. The two owners Toño Pérez and José Polo along with the architects Luis M. Mansilla (who passed away on February 2012) and Emilio Tuñon have restored the building and the façade integrating it beautifully into its surroundings, making it possible for avant-garde and history to coexist side by side.
Atrio is a modern hotel designed with natural elements where the light seeps playfully through the floor-to-ceiling windows. From the moment you enter the hotel reception you know that this is no ordinary hotel. The staff is charming and takes care of every minor detail and Toño is always at hand ready to expertly assist you on your sightseeing.
At the top of the building is the sundeck with what they call the paddling pools, one with warm and the other with cool water. It is a great place to lounge around and relax but at night the deck is candle lit making it the perfect place for a gin tonic.
The hotel has two huge bonuses, one is José Polo’s two-star Michelin restaurant and the other is the absolutely marvelous wine cellar where wine is respected and pampered. Just to make your mouth water, they have stowed away 24 years of Lafite-Rothschild, the oldest being from 1929, 27 of Latour, 23 of Petrus…just to name a few. I am not even going to start on the fact that they have champagne from 44 different wine cellars.
Let’s move on to the title of this post, Breakfast at Atrio. Breakfast is a simple pleasure of life and one that we rarely have time to enjoy. If you are like me, my weekday breakfasts consist of a cup of coffee and a bite to eat standing up in the kitchen, that is why I so love those opportunities when I am able to indulge in the pure pleasure of a lazy morning breakfast.
We were very fortunate enough to get a room with a terrace and the weather smiled down on us with a clear blue sky morning. Breakfast was brought up at our designated hour and it was put up outside. The round table was perfectly set with its pressed linen tablecloth and napkins, the china seemed to be ideal for breakfast and of course the food. There were homemade jams, freshly baked bread and puff pastries, bellota ham sandwich, fruit with yogurt, migas with pouched egg, cereal with custard, freshly squeezed orange juice, and steaming coffee and tea. Truly one of the most memorable breakfasts I can remember. When quality and good taste coincide, who can’t help but smile?
All that was left was to sit back and enjoy life!