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Postcard from Cáceres, Spain

The Spanish city’s Atrio Restaurante Hotel is well worth a look.

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I just found a place in western Spain that I simply had to tell you about. Atrio Restaurante Hotel sits within the walled medieval city of Cáceres, a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Madrid. The vision of José Polo and chef Juan Antonio Pérez and a haven of modern luxury inside a structure that dates back to the 16th century, Atrio is zen-like, each of the 14 rooms designed to take full advantage of the breathtaking views: the Church of San Mateo in the plaza below, the Extremaduran countryside, the old San Pablo convent. It also houses Polo and Pérez’s collection of modern art, and the wine cellar alone boasts 40,000 bottles. Polo told me everything was created to their exact specifications: The couple stayed in each room to make sure it passed muster, even debating with the designer of the shampoo bottles over whether they should have flip or screw tops. The Michelin two-star restaurant was full when we arrived—a mix of actors, politicians and artists. While there is an extensive menu, I left myself in Pérez’s hands and could not have been more delighted: cappuccino of foie gras and mushrooms; marinated shrimp with caviar; pork iberico with squid and a touch of curry. The staff of beautiful young men and women were ready to serve at the slightest nod.

Atrio Restaurante Hotel is at Plaza de San Mateo 1, Cáceres, Spain. Rooms start at $300. For reservations, call 34-9/2724-2928 or go to


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