Accommodation is a vital part of the experience of any tourist and it often affects the choice of the destination. Spain has 16,000 hotels, 14,000 rural tourism establishments, 150,000 holiday apartments and more than a thousand campsites, with offers that stand out due to their exquisiteness and originality. According to a recent study by the Trivago search engine, Spain, with 335 establishments, is the seventh country worldwide in terms of number of five star hotels, only surpassed by China, Turkey, Mexico, Italy, India and Greece. Luxury is a booming sector all around the world and accommodation in this category has found new ways to offer the absolute best to customers, including elements such as architecture, interior design, landscape and signature cuisine.
Michelin star hotels
Contemporary haute cuisine is one of the great features of the five star Spanish hotel sector. In fact, a significant number of restaurants distinguished with five Michelin stars are found in hotels: in Madrid, Ramón Freixa, in Hotel Único; DiverXo of David Muñoz, in the NH Collection Hotel; Santceloni of Óscar Velasco, in Hesperia; or Kabuki of Ricardo Sanz, in Hotel Wellington. In Barcelona, Abac hotel-restaurant of Jordi Cruz; the creative restaurant of Sergi Arola, in Hotel Arts; or that led by the team of the Chef Martín Berasategui (who has seven Michelin stars), in the new and exclusive Monument Hotel.
Spain has 16,000 hotels, 14,000 rural tourism establishments, 150,000 holiday apartments and more than a thousand campsites
This successful symbiosis between signature cuisine and the hotel sector also occurs in the Hard Rock Hotel in Ibiza: for around 1,500 euros per person a maximum of 12 diners can enjoy ‘Sublimotion’, an interactive and multisensorial gastronomic show designed by Chef Paco Roncero. In Sardón de Duero in Castilla León, there is the Abadía-La Retuerta gourmet hotel, under the leadership of Chef Andoni Adúriz, with its triple dining options.
Architecture and landscape
Another concept of luxury is that of the space and the environment: some establishments choose to offer the visitor their unique architecture as another element of the landscape, whether it is natural or urban. Examples of these include Marqués de Riscal hotel, designed by the architect Frank Gehry (architect of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao), surrounded by vineyards, or Hotel W in Barcelona, an ultramodern skyscraper in the form of a sail. Hotel Viura in Villabuena de Álava combines a modern building with historic surroundings. In other cases, it is the building itself that has a monumental value, such as Villapanés Palace in Seville; the former fortress that is home to Cap Rocat hotel in Mallorca; or the 96 Paradores Nacionales, 45 of which are located in castles, monasteries, palaces or historic sites.
At the other end of the spectrum there is the Spanish chain Room Mate, which has avant-garde interior design, new technologies –it provides free Wi-Fi and iPad hire, amongst other services– and, above all, central locations in each city. Aimed at a young urbanite public, it is present in Madrid, Barcelona, Oviedo, Granada, Málaga and Salamanca, as well as in Miami, New York, Mexico City, Florence, Amsterdam and Istanbul.
Ecology and luxury go hand-in-hand in the Vivood Landscape Hotel (Alicante), a ‘landscape hotel’ that combines its sustainable architecture integrated into the environment with exclusive services and activities in the natural setting. In Les Colls Pavilions (Girona), the guest sleeps in a glass cubicle without furniture in the middle of the forest; but those who prefer a desert landscape can opt for just as unusual accommodation such as Aire de Bardenas (Navarra), or Hotel Cueva, with its underground bedrooms, in the middle of the Monegros Desert (Aragon). Lastly, Hotel Consolación (Teruel), offers its avant-garde ‘kubes’ located next to the 14th century shrine that gives it its name, in a wooded oasis of pine, almond and olive trees.
The luxury of wellbeing
Although beauty, health and relaxation treatments are services that are traditionally available in hotels, the current trend is moving towards making them the number one feature of the establishment and the customer’s experience .This is the case for Sha Wellness in the Alicante town of Altea, or Jumeirah Port Soller in Mallorca, owned by the group that manages the famous Burj Al Arab in Dubai, which is, to date, the only seven star hotel in the world.
Even the camping sector has an offer that goes beyond convetional, which ranges from establishments with services and facilities that are more typical of a luxury resort, such as Marjal Costa Blanca in Alicante –awarded as the best in Spain– to others that are part of the glamping trend, a portmanteau of glamour and camping: enjoy nature without abandoning comfort. There are many options: treehouses –Cabañas en los árboles, in Zeanuri; Basoa suites, in Navarra– Bedouin tents or Mongolian yurts –Casa de Laila or Cloud House, in Malaga; Refugio Mames, in Alicante or Lanzarote Retreats, in the Canaries–, bubbles for seeing the stars –Mil Estrelles, in Girona–, safari cabins, former railway carriages or gypsy wagons –Casa del Mundo, in Alicante; Vagón Rural, in Murcia– and even caves or huts with contemporary decoration and equipment: Braña La Code, in Asturias; or Casas Karen, in Cádiz.