Accomodation in Northern Spain

By: Scott James

Northern Spain and Galicia offer an exceptional variety of visitor accommodation. Visitor accommodation can be found to satisfy all tastes and even the choosiest customer will find something to suit their 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.

The standard of accommodation in the area is extremely high as you would expect from Galicia and Northern Spain. The categorisation for the hotels is awarded on a star system and these are allocated by the regional tourist authorities. 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 can usually find en-suite bathrooms or at least a shower in each Hotel bedroom. Do not expect to find en-suite facilities in the smaller Hostels and "Pensiones" but you might be surprised in certain cases.

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. The more exclusive hotels offer all kinds of extra facilities, such as air conditioning, on-site parking, internet-access and rooms with televisions as well as facilities for the disabled.

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.

Grupo Sol-Melia and NH are the biggest chain of hotels in the area. The quality of these hotels is extremely good. 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 have classifications of anything between three to five stars in accommodation standard. The first Parador opened in 1928 and there is now quite a comprehensive network throughout the country. The theory behind them was that they should never be more than a day's drive from one to another. The best known Parador in the area is the Parador de los Reyes Catolicos in Santiago de Compostela and this is in a former royal hunting lodge. Other Paradors can be found in Castles, Monasteries and various 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 standard from each Parador to Parador very rarely varies with comfortable spacious bedrooms to be found throughout. Some also offer fine regional cuisine. It might be wise to book in advance if you are planning to visit the area either during the high season or if you wish to stay in one of the smaller Paradors. 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. You have to expect as in most cases that if you choose to travel during the high season accommodation can be on the expensive side but deals can be found if you're able to shop around.

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