Hotel Museo Los Infantes, Spain

Located in Santillana del Mar, Spain, Hotel Museo Los Infantes welcomes you to that rare place that is much like a home away from home. Surely it is a hotel, but it is more than a collection of rooms.

Facade of Hotel Museo Los Infantes, Santillana del Mar, Spain.

Facade of Hotel Museo Los Infantes, Santillana del Mar, Spain.

This is a charming establishment with true character. The many gathering areas show a personal style as you see in the next several photos:

One of the lounges at Hotel Museo Los Infantes, Santillana del Mar.

One of the lounges at Hotel Museo Los Infantes, Santillana del Mar.

This is not just a corporate-type of place, but rather like the home of an uncle who wants you to be comfortable.

Upstairs gathering area at Hotel Museo Los Infantes, Santillana del Mar, Spain.

Upstairs gathering area at Hotel Museo Los Infantes, Santillana del Mar, Spain.

After a day of seeing the sights you can take a break here and share the many stories with your traveling companions or new people you’ve met along the way.

Library at Hotel Museo Los Infantes, Santillana del Mar, Spain.

Library at Hotel Museo Los Infantes, Santillana del Mar, Spain.

As for the rooms, I chose a junior suite, which consisted of this ante-room:

Ante-room in junior suite at Hotel Museo Los Infantes, Santillana del Mar, Spain.

Ante-room in junior suite at Hotel Museo Los Infantes, Santillana del Mar, Spain.

The desk on the left gave me a convenient place to set up my electronics and do some work without disturbing the sleep in the adjacent bedroom that you see in the next photo:

Bedroom in junior suite at Hotel Museo Los Infantes, Santillana del Mar, Spain.

Bedroom in junior suite at Hotel Museo Los Infantes, Santillana del Mar, Spain.

And the bathroom had all the conveniences you need as well:

Bathroom in junior suite at Hotel Museo Los Infantes, Santillana del Mar, Spain.

Bathroom in junior suite at Hotel Museo Los Infantes, Santillana del Mar, Spain.

You might have noticed the door to the balcony in the photo of the bedroom. Well, here’s a look at the balcony itself:

Balcony at Hotel Museo Los   Infantes, Santillana del Mar, Spain.

Balcony at Hotel Museo Los Infantes, Santillana del Mar, Spain.

You can step out there and get a deep breath of fresh air. Finally, here’s a look at the reception area:

Reception are at Hotel Museo Los Infantes, Santillana del Mar, Spain.

Reception are at Hotel Museo Los Infantes, Santillana del Mar, Spain.

And the dining room where you can enjoy a local-style meal.

Dining room at Hotel Museo Los Infantes, Santillana del Mar, Spain.

Dining room at Hotel Museo Los Infantes, Santillana del Mar, Spain.

And the bar on the first floor:

Bar on ground floor at Hotel Museo Los Infantes, Santillana del Mar, Spain.

Bar on ground floor at Hotel Museo Los Infantes, Santillana del Mar, Spain.

There is convenient parking for a small fee immediately across the street from the hotel, or you can park a few hundred yards away in a municipal lot. Breakfast is served buffet style downstairs. The staff here are friendly and helpful. Simply ask them for information or help with your bags and you’re on your way to pleasant stay in this town, which serves as a good base to explore the Altamira Caves and many other attractions in this area of Spain.

 

 

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Supper, Villa de Ábalos, Spain

While staying overnight at the Hotel Villa de Ábalos, I highly recommend eating supper there. When you make your reservation, be sure to let them know you would like to dine as well. It is a truly home-cooked, Spanish meal. The menu changes with the seasons and the availability of fresh ingredients. Here is the carta as provided during my visit:

Menu for supper at Hotel Villa de Ábalos.

Menu for supper at Hotel Villa de Ábalos.

These little gems were presented to start the meal:

A little something to start the meal at Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

A little something to start the meal at Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

The two appetizers were creative and delicious. The first was a leeks and spinach terrine that you see in the next photo:

Leek and spinach terrine appetizer at Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

Leek and spinach terrine appetizer at Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

The other appetizer was a sautéed vegetable medley that I was so anxious to eat, I forgot to snap a photo. But, next came the entrée, and what a fantastic one it was. Slowly cooked oxtail then removed from the bone and placed inside a sort of dumpling with a very nice sauce, as you see in the next photo:

Oxtail presented inside a dumpling for supper at Hotel Villa de Ábalos.

Oxtail presented inside a dumpling for supper at Hotel Villa de Ábalos.

This incredible meal was finished with a warm almond cake and vanilla ice-cream that truly hit the spot:

Warm almond cake with vanilla ice-cream at Hotel Villa de Ábalos.

Warm almond cake with vanilla ice-cream at Hotel Villa de Ábalos.

All this was served in a pleasant dining room you see here:

Dining room at Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

Dining room at Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

I would also like to mention the owner of this fine hotel makes his own wine, which is very good, especially the white. A bottle with dinner or afterwards is a great addition to the meal. Here’s a photo of the bottle:

Preferred wine at Hotel Villa de Ábalos.

Preferred wine at Hotel Villa de Ábalos.

When traveling, be sure to enjoy the local cuisine as much as possible.

Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain (2014)

Hotel Villa de Ábalos has been among my favorite places to stay in Spain. It is located in the center of a small village with tiny streets and an almost medieval atmosphere.

Facade of Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

Facade of Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

However, the hotel is decidedly modern within its historic shell. You’ll have all the modern conveniences in every room. Here’s a look:

Room 12 at Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

Room 12 at Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

The bathroom features everything you need to be comfortable:

Bathroom of Room 12, Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

Bathroom of Room 12, Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

You’ll also find inviting common areas where you can gather with fellow travelers to relax and share stories from the journey:

Second floor common area at Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

Second floor common area at Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

And another similar space on the ground floor:

Salon at Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

Salon at Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

I stayed at this hotel four years ago, and it was a pleasure to return. They added a small bar in the reception area where you can enjoy a glass of wine and various tapas. Locals from the town stop by and it was fun to chat with them, learning a bit about life in the Rioja area. The owner of this hotel makes his own wine, which is not yet available in the United States. While there, you definitely want to try it because it is among the best I’ve had in Spain. I’ll post more about that and the meals at Villa de Ábalos soon. Check back frequently so you don’t miss anything.

Hotel Marques de Riscal, Elciego, Spain

Marques de Riscal is a famous winery that has done many clever and interesting things. In recent times, they hired architect Frank Gehry to design a hotel for the Elciego, Spain, location. Here’s a look at the building:

Frank Gehry designed Hotel Marques de Riscal, Elciego, Spain.

Frank Gehry designed Hotel Marques de Riscal, Elciego, Spain.

That is one funky design that definitely catches your eye. It’s set amid vineyards at the edge of the village of Elciego. Here’s a look at the other side:

Frank Gehry designed Hotel Marques de Riscal, Elciego, Spain.

Frank Gehry designed Hotel Marques de Riscal, Elciego, Spain.

The terrace you see there is a great place to sit for a drink supplied by the bar inside. I’ll have a post about that very soon. In the mean time, I suggest you check this place out if you are interested in architecture, wine, both, or simply like to see the creative expressions of others put to good use. Enjoy the journey.

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