This is a real 'Jekyll and Hyde' of a hotel, and thus, very difficult to star-rate. Especially for me, as I usually only review good places on the grounds that TA travellers want help to find gems rather than read negative reviews from over-sensitive whingers who feel they've been let down and wish to cane the perceived offender!
So first, the good points. The room and the location were amazing. Great value, especially as we paid the equivalent of about 50 GB Pounds including breakfast when booked with a cheap car ferry crossing from UK with Brittany Ferries; but not bad booked freelance on a room-only basis at about 60 Euros in May via the usual TA partner sites.
The room was huge, comfortable, well-appointed, and, as other reviews point out, had the most stunning views of the Picos de Europa mountains (lucky weather- in Spring the peaks can be shrouded in cloud). More a suite than a room, with comfy beds, generous furniture and floor-to ceiling windows, so flooded with light and air (maybe too hot in summer- but not in May). Good wi-fi and although we were right above the function suite and terrace, this was no problem as mid-week there were none of the 'weddings til 3am' described by others.
The staff, with one exception, were charming; from the smiling breakfast waitress and chambermaids to the saintly Abdou, much praised in other reviews, and who seems to do everything from reception, to serving in the bar and terraces and waiting in the restaurant; no mean feat as these facilities are on three different floors. (I lied; there is also a hard-working gardener, so Abdou doesn't have to spend all day digging)
Unfortunately, we got 'the one exception' employee on arrival. Reception was devoid of customers, but the guy felt that ponderously checking us in on his computer and photocopying our passports while we waited was much more important than eye-contact, a smile or words of welcome. That (possibly fussy and over-sensitive?) whinge aside, we were then miffed to learn that despite having arrived at 2.30 pm, the height of Spanish lunch-time, there was no food available 'unless pre-reserved' (something unique in our experience of over 60 other Spanish Country hotels). This was also un-mentioned in the booking confirmation from Brittany Ferries, which, on the contrary, had promised a cafeteria service should the restaurant be closed in low season.
So we set off down the steep hill to the town over half a mile away - in the car - as one of us sprained an ankle that morning on the rugged coastal path. Even without, we'd have struggled with the 15-20 minute return ascent, as we're getting on a bit. Having plumped for one of the town restaurants' generous, 12 Euro-three-courses-with-wine common in this region (plumped being the operative word), we thought we'd lightly graze that evening, having been assured the hotel restaurant would open from 9-11pm (welcome timing as we slow down in Spain). It's common to share dishes from the over-sized portions on 'a-la-carte' menus in country hotels in this region.
Except that there was no 'a la carte'. Just two set menus, at 28 and 20 Euros per person, which were so weirdly and confusingly constructed ('Caprices of the market'..? Pica-Pica?') that apart from us and one other couple, the only other prospective customers - a young Spanish family - took one look at it, expressed bafflement, turned tail and fled. The wine list was similarly odd; there wasn't one; just a vague oral summary, with choices 'in the region of 20-40 euros a bottle'.
The saintly Abdou did a great job, as we are fairly demanding customers. However, having settled on an 18 Euro wine from the bottom of the range, and, unable to face a huge dinner, having negotiated a single salmon starter to share, a salad and a single steak split between two, we still ended up paying 72 Euros for (an admittedly delicious) meal. Ironically, this was the same price as two set menus, and exactly three times (or, as we effectively shared one meal, arguably six times) what we'd been paying for meals with wine in the prior week.
So- there you are. Exceptional value rooms. Highly recommended (if you don't mind hanging around just a little a bit while the hard-working receptionist/waiter/barman Abdou does his magic) for its rooms and terrace bar with views to die for. But unless you're flush with money, and don't mind being the only diners, bring sensible shoes or appoint a designated driver and eat in the town below. Then experience that righteous glow as you work off the calories hiking back past the school, the sports centre, housing estates, hill and woods after eating.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Enjoy some delightful days in the heart of the Principality of Asturias. The hotel, which was built in 2001, has four floors and a total of twenty rooms, two of which are suites and eighteen double rooms. It has a foyer with lifts and a reception area that is open 24 hours a day. We also have the renowned restaurant, El Cenador de los Canonigos, where you will find a creative cuisine based on products from Asturias. The food will delight you and the surroundings and the quality of the service will invite you to sit back, relax and enjoy some exquisite dishes. ... more less
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