Madrid Hotels Articles

July 20, 2010

An Introduction to Hotels and Paradors in Northern Spain and Galicia

An exceptional variety of visitor accommodation can be found in northern Spain and Galicia Accommodation can be found that will fit all forms of budgets and even the most particular tourists will find something to suit their particular needs.

If you want something slightly different then most people would head for one of the various exclusive hotels throughout the region or one of the “Paradors” that can be found in various key places throughout the area. The region is dotted with mountain refuges with stunning views not to mention that in the coastal areas you can find quite a few campsites.

As would be fit any major country in the western world, hotels in Galicia and Northern Spain are spacious, comfortable and clean. The hotels are awarded between one and five stars and these are allocated by the local tourist Authority. The local tourist Authority awards between one and five stars for each hotel and the status of the hotel can be found by looking at a blue plaque near the hotel door.

You’ll find in hotels that they have at least a shower in each room but more usually en suite bathrooms. You may well be surprised but it is unlikely that these sorts of facilities would be found in the smaller hostels and “Pensiones”.

Spain’s star rating system reflects the number and range of facilities available rather than the quality of service one star is given to the most modest hotels and five stars to the most elegant and expensive ones. As you would expect the range of facilities on offer in the more exclusive hotels would run to air conditioning, on site parking, televisions in each room, facilities for the disabled and in some cases internet-access.

Two or three star hotels are the most popular in this region and their rates vary on the season or time of year that you stay there. It has been found that in this area quite often the hostels (hostales) and guest houses are actually more popular; the fact that they are cheaper may have something to do with this. These are usually establishments that can only offer a few beds and by and large are family-run.

There are in excess of 1,500 hotels with a total of 92,000 beds registered in the territory of “Green Spain” — the Atlantic regions of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque country.

The largest hotel chains in the area are called Grupo Sol-Melia and NH. The standard of accommodation in these hotels is extremely high. There are a growing number of small privately run hotels that have quite distinctive character and charm and can also provide a quite relaxing and memorable stay.

In Spain they have dotted throughout the country a series of state run hotels that are known as Paradors. These are classified from between three to five stars. There is now quite a wide network of Paradors throughout the country, the first one opened in 1928. The theory behind them was that they should never be more than a day’s drive from one to another. The Parador de los Reyes Catolicos in Santiago de Compostela, located in a former royal hunting lodge is possibly the best known Parador in the area. Other Paradors can be found in monasteries, castles and other monuments. More recently a growing number of Paradors have been purpose built and these are usually located either in areas of spectacular scenery or towns of historic interest.

You can rely upon the Parador to deliver a consistently high level of comfort but it might not necessarily be the best hotel in town. The bedrooms are usually spacious and comfortable, and all furnished to a standard that varies little from Parador to Parador. Quite often you will find that they offer outstanding samples of regional cuisine. If you plan to tour in high season or to stay in the smaller Paradors, it might be wise to reserve the room. Bookings can be made either using the Central de Reservas which is a centrally based service based in Madrid or you can contact each Parador direct. Rates can be expensive it is worth looking for special deals especially in the high season but to be brutally honest this has to be the same anywhere you go.

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