From castles converted into hotels to modern high-rise resorts overlooking the Mediterranean, Spain has some of the most varied hotel accommodations in the world—with equally varied price ranges. Accommodations are broadly classified as follows:
One- to Five-Star Hotels: The Spanish government rates hotels by stars, plus the designation “GL” (Grand Luxe) for the most luxurious properties. Note that many criteria in the star system are based on suitability for business meetings, but since each property is reviewed on the same criteria, the stars can be useful for comparing lodgings in the same area.
Hostales: Not to be confused with a youth hostel, a hostal is a modest hotel without services. They’re often a good buy. You’ll know it’s a hostal if a small s follows the capital letter h on the blue plaque by the door.
Youth Hostels: Spain has about 140 hostels (albergues de juventud) and they are not limited to young people. Some are equipped for persons with disabilities. Many hostels impose an 11pm curfew. For information, contact Red Española de Alberques Juveniles (tel. 91-522-70-07).
Paradores: The Spanish government runs a series of unique state-owned inns called paradores that blanket the country. Castles, monasteries, palaces, and other grand buildings have been taken over and converted into hotels. Several newer properties were simply built from scratch to look monumental. To book or learn more, contact Paradores de España (tel. 90-254-79-79). Make reservations directly with the network’s website, as third-party bookers tend to slap on additional charges. Paradores offer good discounts when one of the travelers is under 30 or over 65, or if you purchase 5 nights (which can all be in different paradores).
Short-Term Rentals: If you’ll be based in one place long enough to justify paying a cleaning fee, most major cities have agencies that specialize in short-term apartment and even house rentals. They are particularly nice if you want your own kitchen and even laundry facilities. Internet-based “sharing rentals” like Homeaway and Airbnb have encountered stiff municipal opposition, especially in Barcelona, Madrid, Bilbao, and San Sebastián. Palma de Mallorca has banned Airbnb outright, and several cities have cited the company for violating health and safety codes. As of early 2019, several Spanish cities—including Barcelona, Madrid, and Valencia—were considering following Palma’s lead.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.