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“In need of some TLC” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Parador de Santillana

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Parador de Santillana
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Plaza de Ramon Pelayo s/n, 39330 Santillana del Mar, Spain   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #10 of 24 Hotels in Santillana del Mar
West Sussex, England
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“In need of some TLC”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2007

This is the cheaper of the two Paradors in Santillana del Mar, and it shows.

The exterior is pleasant but the interior is gloomy. Our room was spacious and nicely furnished but with a tiny window which looked out onto a wall, giving the impression that you were in a basement. The bathroom was rather shabby - the hot water from the bath tap was very hot, but also chocolate brown, so we gave that a miss & used the shower, which was OK.

Breakfast was in another gloomy room off the lobby. Not bad, but not up to the usual Parador standard. The hotel doesn't have a restaurant so we ate in the other Parador, the 4 star Gil Blas, just across the plaza. We had an excellent meal in a nice dining room, with friendly staff and prompt service.

We didn't get to see the rooms, but from the look of the public areas this seemed much the better of the two hotels. If we stayed in Santillana again, we would definitely pay the extra and stay at the Gil Blas.

Santillana is a charming and well preserved place with plenty of restaurants (and tacky tourist shops) and well worth an overnight stop. Although it is "pedestrianised" don't assume that you can stroll around with impunity. During our visit, cars and vans were trundling around all the time, so be careful before you stand in the middle of the street to get that great photo shot.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Gloomy. Bathroom not well maintained.
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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64 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (6)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Woking, Surrey
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
113 helpful votes 113 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2007

I am quite confused about which of the two Paradors in Santillana some of the other contributors are talking about. We stayed in the 3 star Parador de Santillana, which was built as an annexe to the original 4 star Gil Blas nearby. In every website it is said to have been 'newly built' but we had one of their two rooms with a hydromassage bath (a treat for the end of two weeks hard sightseeing!) and I have to say that it looks quite old to me. The bathroom itself is very dated, being dark shiny marble on the bath surround, and is quite dangerous being up a couple of steps to the bath. The taps are set at the back of a large round bath so one has to either get in the bath to run the water, or try and walk around the edge of the shiny marble, which is not wide enough for even small feet. The bath is pink, and sadly had quite a few chips in the surface and on the edge. When I mentioned this to the staff I was met with surprise that it didn't come up to standard; the receptionist thought it had been fitted about 8 years ago. It might be so, and just been given a lot of bad treatment. The shower, a stand alone cubicle letting straight off the bathroom, was unlit and water flowed under the glass door onto the wooden threshhold. We paid 207.58 euros a night, including breakfast, and compared to the other hotels we stayed in during a trip to Northern Spain, this was very bad value. In addition, the toilet seat was loose when we arrived and my husband reported it when we went out to dinner, and the receptionist made a note of it. It never got fixed. There is no restaurant at this Parador, one must go to the Gil Blas. We did this on the first night and all went well until we got our main course, and then we definitely got the impression that the staff wanted to close up and go home. They hovered over us and asked if we had finished, and the moment my husband put down his knife and fork, his plate was whisked away, while I was still eating. I left my cutlery at the right angle to show I was not finished but still they asked if I had finished. Meantime, breakfast was being set up around us and the other two or three tables who were still trying to enjoy their meal. On the plus side our room had nice country views and was quiet, with comfortable beds. There were two tiny bedroom chairs which defied all but the smallest of derrieres to get in or out of (and mine is only a size 12). Breakfast was a good buffet and served by a cheerful waiter to spoke some English. Santillana is a charming preserved village with importantant religious buildings, but is spoilt by the tatty, repetitive souvenir shops. It is very busy in July and August, and it isn't very pleasant trailing around with so many other people. The best bit is having a pass to drive in past the policeman, who is intent on keeping out cars! It is a good place to stay and visit Comillas and St Vincent de Barquera, and the cave museum.

  • Liked — the building itself
  • Disliked — poor bathroom fittings
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Frankfurt, Germany
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2006

First of all, I would like to point out that there are two Paradores in Santillana del Mar. The one I’m referring to is the three-star Parador (the other one is a four-star hotel named Parador Gil Blas).
We stayed there one night, and we may say it was a wonderful experience. The hotel had a warm, rural style which made us feel like home from the very moment we arrived. The room was perfect, very spacious, full of light coming from the old style window, with a great view of the garden. The bathroom, wardrobe and beds were just perfect. Staff members were very helpful.
The town is gorgeous to spend some hours, preferably during night hours when tourists give space to the calm and quiet as if you were going back in time. That’s why a night in the Parador is well worth!
If you’re going by car don’t forget to have a printed copy of your reservation because it will be very useful in order to be able to park in front of the hotel (there’s a police-officer who impedes road traffic to access the historical part).

  • Stayed September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
179 reviews 179 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
591 helpful votes 591 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2006

After reading the "dreadful" comments here below we wondered what was going to be our miserable fate at the Parador Gil Blas at Santillana del Mar where we had booked 4 nights.
First we found immediately the entrance to the historic centre where we were halted by a policeman. It was fiesta de Santa Juliana, streets were cut off for cars but by miracle the policeman spoke French and kindly showed us the shortest way to reach the Parador and its private parking.
We did not expect a porter to take our luggage because most 4 stars hotels have no porter anymore! The receptionist did understand and speak some English and took our luggage to our room (maybe the Parador management had read the complaint here below!).
Nearly all persons at the reception did understand and speak some English; one would also understand some French. They were correct, some were kind.
We had booked a double room with "salon" at the "dias doradas" rate (for persons over 60 yr.) of 170,56 €/night breakfast and tax incl. The room was in fact an apartment of nearly 60 m2.
Remarkable was the old wooden floor. The room was somewhat dark, stronger light bulbs would be welcome; maybe it is done on purpose to keep the medieval atmosphere. Nights were very quiet.
The room was quite clean, the bath room large and complete. Room service without defects.
We tested the service by complaining about the noise made when opening the door to our room. The same afternoon the hinges of all our room doors had been lubricated.

Breakfast was up to the usual standards of a 4 star hotel in Spain. There was a nice choice of Cantabrian cheeses. The waitress was efficient and kind. She spoke only Spanish but we know enough Spanish to say good morning and order coffee with milk.
We had no diner at the Parador.
From experience we know that when there are many foreign tourists in a Parador they all enter the restaurant at the opening time what results in congestion and slow service. We usually prefer the ambiance of the local restaurants. There at the opening we are the only ones and get full attention as the Spanish customers arrive later, around 10 p.m.
In Santillana we would recommend the restaurant Casa Cossio, near the church, superb "parilla's" (grilled on barbecue) of tasteful meat. The pork ribs are the speciality. The menu is translated in English, French and German. Waitresses are efficient but speak only Spanish.
Tourists may complain that Spaniards are not very clever on foreign languages but, quite frankly, do they speak Spanish in restaurants in the U.K.? I made a trial, for the fun, speaking French in hotels and restaurants in London; result 1/10.

Just one thing about Cantabria. The country, the mountains, the sea side are very nice but don't expect sunshine. When the Spaniards are fed up with sun and hot weather they go on vacation in … Cantabria!

  • Stayed June 2006
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
17 reviews 17 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
170 helpful votes 170 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2005

This was classed as a 4 star hotel on the Paradores website so, as we originally intended to spend all our holiday using Paradores, we booked this one. What a dreadful experience. We had to telephone for directions to find the place and the receptionist wasn't at all helpful either time. Fair enough I don't speak Spanish but you would think staff would be used to English speaking guests. Our welcome was non-existent and, once again, no porter is available for luggage - a do it yourself job again. The reception staff seem to regard guests as a complete nuisance. The room was fine but SO DARK even with sunshine outside. We had a room with lounge and bedroom and the only way I could read, even in daytime, was by moving a small standard lamp around between the lounge and bedroom. Hotel was clean.
Dinner was a fiasco. We tried to book for 9pm as in the information guide it was from 8.30-10.30pm. The receptionist pointed told us 8.30pm or else so we arrived in the dining room at 8.30pm to be met by nobody! The room was full of British guests and when the head waiter eventually arrived he looked so out of his depth that all he did was wipe his brow then shout to a waitress to make a table ready for us. The service was efficient but unfriendly. None of the staff spoke English so take a dictionary. (Mine never left my side all the holiday as few speak English in north Spain). The wine wasn't even served in an ice bucket, just dumped on the table and the final insult was my fish was RAW. It was eventually taken back to be cooked but my partner's meal wasn't taken to be kept warm and obviously he was finished long before myself. When the fish was returned it was lovely but the whole meal was such a disaster we left the dining room then. Also, during the meal, I was sitting looking at packets of breakfast cereal etc, obviously all prepared for breakfasts. This hotel is NOT cheap (room only was 170 euros). There is nothing to do in Santillana except wander around joining the endless crowds of tourists who visit the village. Tatty gift shops abound. Like all Paradors they close up at 11.30pm so be warned. Would never return and this experience made us cancel all other Parador bookings we made and return to the wonderful Hotel Real, Sardinero, Santander. Same price but such a difference.......another world.

  • Stayed October 2005
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Parador de Santillana

Address: Plaza de Ramon Pelayo s/n, 39330 Santillana del Mar, Spain
Location: Spain > Cantabria > Santillana del Mar
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Room Service
Hotel Style:
#4 Luxury Hotel in Santillana del Mar
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Parador de Santillana 4*
Number of rooms: 28
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This newly built manor house respects the traditional local architecture and harmonises perfectly with the style of this lovely town. Comfortable rooms and a pleasant atmosphere add to the peace and tranqulity of this hotel. The restaurant and bar, in the Parador Santillana Gil Blas, offer a chance to try the most traditional dishes in Cantabrian cooking. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Parador De Santillana Hotel Santillana Del Mar
Parador De Santillana Del Mar

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