From palatial fincas (farms) with rambling grounds to family-run guesthouses and international chains, Spain has it all when it comes to accommodation. A paradors is a hotel owned by the Spanish government, which means they are often in quirky historical buildings and come at a cheaper price than independent hotels. Here’s how you can stay in one. Pensions are low-key hotels with few amenities and are often family-run, making them a great choice for saving money while enjoying local flavour.
Where to stay in Barcelona
TOC Barcelona is a chic hostel with great-value shared rooms in Japanese-style pods and a gorgeous sun deck with a swimming pool. For cutting edge design at the higher end of the spectrum, Hotel Mercer, in the city’s Gothic Quarter, is unmissable. It also has a rooftop pool and a courtyard filled with orange blossom. Housed in a former palace dating back to 1892, Hotel Claris is an interesting boutique option, with a well-curated collection of Chinese antiques.
The capital city of Spain, Madrid pulses with a unique energy that can’t fail to excite. Madrileños are also known as ‘gatos’, because like cats they really come alive at night, when it’s standing room only at the tapas bars and the historic squares are filled with people sipping tinto de verano (red wine topped with lemon fanta). Palacio Plaza Conde de Miranda offers great-value apartments overlooking a medieval square while Hotel Ritz Madrid is the last word in classic luxury. TÓTEM Madrid is a tasteful example of contemporary chic, with teal, dusty pink and cerise pops of colour singing against a smart neutral palette.
Where to stay in San Sebastian
Nestling within a beautiful natural harbour, San Sebastian combines relaxed seaside charm with more Michelin-starred restaurants than anywhere else in the country. The sweeping promenades of Centro, the old town, are at the heart of the action. Guests at Hotel Arrizul Congress are offered a glass of complimentary bubbly at check in and the star treatment continues from there. Gros is an up-and-coming area that overlooks Zurriola Beach, a favourite with local surfers. It has plenty of cool boutique options with a slightly lower price tag, such as Hotel Arrizul Congress