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Hotels

One thing that you should never struggle to find in Spain is a value for money hotel. Whether you want a campsite, budget accommodation (un hostal – NOT a “hostel” as we know it in English) or a luxury 5* hotel, Spain can provide you with whatever you require. Almost all hotels offer tremendous value and can normally be booked on the internet through sites such as www.tripadvisor.com and Hotel Club.The holiday island of Mallorca has many excellent hotels and many can be found at www.amic-hotels-mallorca.com

One particular chain of hotels is worthy of special attention – the Paradors of Spain. www.parador.es These hotels are generally buildings of historic or architectural interest and are usually famous for fine food and wine. They range from reformed manor houses, to castles to modern hotels by the beach. Each one is special and they are, in some ways, a part of the national heritage. Every year a popular holiday for Spaniards and non-Spaniards alike is a tour of a certain region of Spain staying only at paradors. Equally, it is possible to join a guided tour with a qualified guide where you will study a favourite subject or region and overnight at one or more paradors. The web site www.parador.es is an excellent introduction to Spanish history, architecture, gastronomy etc. It is well worth an hour of anyone’s time, even if you have no intention in visiting the hotels.

At this stage, I must declare a preference and highlight my favourite hotel in Europe. If you are ever in Madrid you should take the opportunity to stay at the Auditorium Madrid Hotel.. This is billed as the “Largest Hotel in Europe.” Normally that would immediately put me off but in the case of the Auditorium the guest is offered superb service at very realistic prices in quality surroundings. It is conveniently situated 10 minutes from the Airport and less than 20 minutes from the city centre (depending on traffic!) I always try to stay at the hotel and have never had a bad experience. It also boasts enormous conference and banqueting facilities all under the same roof.

Another hotel I have stayed in recently and I thought offered excellent value-for-money is the Hostal Marbella in Fuengirola, Málaga (Costa del Sol). The word “hostal” in Spanish does not mean the same as “hostel” in English and their are no bunk-beds, curfews or dormitories here! It is spotlessly clean with friendly, efficient staff and has everything an independent traveller might want – FREE wifi, breakfast room, A/C and TV. Although Hostal Marbella is only 100 meters from the beach the prices are probably 50% less than a sea-view ….and it’s much quieter! It is also 100 meters from the main square with banks, bars, restaurants, launderettes etc. The bus station and train station are also within 5 minutes’ walk.

If, however you want away from the cities and just need to “chill” why not try the Hotel Molino del Santo near Ronda. This is without doubt my favourite hotel in the Málaga province and one of my favourite 2/3 in Spain. See also The Auditorium in Madrid. The Molino del Santo is indeed a “hidden gem” that most definitely merits seeking out. The food is divine, the location superb, the service exceptional, the professionalism 100% and the rooms of the absolute highest standard. However, what sets El Molino apart from 99% of all the other hotels I have stayed in is their attention to detail. Incidentally, the taxi driver who took me back to the coast commented that ALL the guests always praise the Molino and although he can’t speak English he says that for the past 16 years it has always been a pleasure to pick guests up from there. Even if the passenger speaks no Spanish and he can only say “Good Day” and “Thank You” in English, he is sure that all the guests are delighted. Enjoy!

Yet another “Hotel” is a country retreat on Mallorca run by a Spanish-English couple Sant Blai Enjoy your stay!

A web-site that I always enjoy visiting is www.littlehotelsofspain.co.uk which is an informative guide for the independent traveller to the many small and charming hotels in Spain. They offer a personal service with the convenience of booking online from a selection of specially chosen hotels, some close to beaches and others ideal for walking holidays or city breaks. Whether you want to just chill out on a beach or follow in the footsteps of Don Quixote, you will find great suggestions in all price ranges.

What about luxury holidays? Well, Spain has no lack of luxury hotels with both “all-in resorts” and the more traditional hotels. Some of the Paradors (above) are most definitely luxury and there are many 5* hotels in Barcelona, Madrid, the popular holiday destinations and in some less expected locations. Luxury holidays 2012 will be an important revenue generator for the Spanish tourist industry. For many years, town councils have been trying to move up-market and 5 star holidays can now be enjoyed in an ever-increasing choice of venues. Spain is a large country with a long coastline but here I make a plea for the hinterland. Spain has a lot more to offer than sun and beaches. Try to make the effort to see some of the interior. Cities such as Salamanca, Burgos, Cuenca, Toledo, Córdoba, Granada, Seville and Valladolid are most definitely worth visiting ……even if they do not have a beach!

Finally, I am delighted to confirm that AirBNB has launched a very strong portal with literally thousands of offers in budget accommodation throughout Spain. (See below) One of the most exciting aspects of this is that there are offers in towns and villages normally off the beaten track and at prices the big hotels cannot match. Well worth checking!

Yes, Spain has everything from adventure to wildlife activity holidays to spas. Whatever your own interests are I am sure Spain can offer you something you will enjoy and value.

¡Feliz Viaje!