...Where History Meets The Arts and Hospitality
The fascinating story of Ladron de Agua...
Up until the re-conquest of Granada in 1492, the Albayzin and the Alhambra Palace remained the last bastion of the Moors. During the 16th century, the new rulers and their followers strove to convert Granada to Christianity. Churches were built to replace the many Mosques, religious orders were founded and the Christian nobility of Granada built their residences along the banks of the River Darro. Our hotel is one of the homes that once belonged to the this 16th century nobility.
Mysteriously, there were no further records of the house until the beginning of 20th century, when the building was purchased by an antiques dealer named Nicolás Fajardo Arcos. His son, Nicolás Fajardo Vilchez commissioned the magnificent fresco painting adorning the hotel's façade. The central theme portrays Mithra, mythological angelic divinity and 'all seeing protector of truth and the waters'.
It is believed that Fajardo family was interested in mystical themes and might have belonged to a Masonic lodge in Granada as some Masonic symbols are visible on the facade - a compass, a triangle and a parchment with the saying “Deo Soli Invicto Mithre” (To invictus Sun God Mithra).
Nicolás Fajardo established an antique shop in our building in 1920, which was forced to close at the beginning of Spanish Civil War in 1936. This noble house in Granada was then abandoned until in the 1940s when the Casa de Muebles Bonal, a beautiful furniture store, was established on the ground floor.
The building saw the comings and goings of many residents up until the 1990s when it sadly fell into a state of disrepair. Fortunately, in 2001, this beautiful mansion was lovingly and carefully restored to its former glory and became Hotel El Ladron de Agua - The Arts Hotel.
Our Arts and Hospitality...
During the summer of 1924, Juan Ramon Jimenez made a trip to Granada by invitation of the Garcia Lorca family and Manuel de Falla - also Granadian. Juan Ramon Jimenez later wrote an abstract poem called the Water Thief or in Spanish "El Ladron de Agua" inspired by this trip. Juan Ramon Jimenez was captivated by the beauty and history of Granada and this poem later became part of a poetry collection called Forgotten Memories of Granada - "Olvidos de Granada". Among them was the famous poem "Generalife" which was dedicated to Isabel Garcia Lorca - Federico Garcia Lorca's (another contemporary literary Nobel Laureate) younger sister.
The "Water Thief" (the English translation of El Ladron de Agua) lives on as the name of our hotel, which seeks to carry forth the legacy and promotion of art and poetry within our community and of course, extend the same warm hospitality to our guests that made Jimenez's trip to Granada so memorable.
As is true with many cities, the element of water has been intrinsic to the development of Granada and still plays a central role in its many fountains and flowing rivers that run into the centre of the city. For the Moors who once settled here, the idea of ever-flowing water was interlinked with life and their idea of paradise, which they sought to recreate in their homes.
For El Ladron de Agua, the poem and the element of water are weaved into the very fabric of our hotel. When you enter through the ancient wooden door, you cannot fail to notice our 21 meter mural which has been painted in watercolor and acrylic by Pedro Garciarias. The painting evokes the poetry and magic of Jimenez and takes you through the four seasons of Granada.
In our central renaissance courtyard stands our infinity fountain, which makes music by "stealing" the cool water from its base, flowing gently, then returning to its source to start over again. The fountain bears an engraving and was designed by the famous Spanish architect Francisco del Corral del Campo.
In our library, we are fortunate to have a closely-guarded original edition of the Forgotten Memories of Granada, donated by Jimenez's family, which not only has the seven main poems, but also includes two unpublished poems: Truce and October. The Zenobia and Juan Ramon Jimenez families were represented by Carmen Hernandez-Pinzon Moreno who inaugurated the hotel during the summer of 2004.
Our 15 bedrooms have their own individual namesakes in Spanish poets or poems from Forgotten Memories of Granada. Many rooms have original artwork, and all have their own individual style and comfort. So, the next time you are in Granada we hope to welcome you to our beautifully restored noble house -the home of art, beauty and hospitality!