The Best Hotels in Santander, Spain

Enjoy the panoramic view of Santander in Cantabria, northern Spain – a gem of a city famed for its beaches
Enjoy the panoramic view of Santander in Cantabria, northern Spain – a gem of a city famed for its beaches | © Jerónimo Alba / Alamy Stock Photo
Esme Fox

Spaniards come to Santander to revel in its long sandy beaches, excellent seafood and buzzing bar scene. It’s also blessed with some fantastic hotels, all bookable with Culture Trip.

While a major fire in 1941 gutted a good chunk of history in the Cantabrian capital, an urbane forward-facing attitude adds to the appeal of Santander as a destination worth getting your teeth into. Here, we pick out some of the best hotels in town, often with great restaurants attached.

1. Hotel Chiqui

Hotel

Seating and bookshelves in the lobby area at Hotel Chiqui in Santander
Courtesy of Hotel Chiqui / Expedia

It’s safe to say you won’t find anywhere in Santander with such wow-worthy views as the swimming pool at Hotel Chiqui – a glass-like infinity pool overlooking the best beach in the city, Playa del Sardinero. You can enjoy similarly spectacular views from most of the guest rooms, which are finished in smart contemporary chic. To top it off, the elegant Panorama Restaurant & Lounge is considered one of the best in the neighbourhood.

2. Hospedaje Magallanes

Hotel

The beige exterior of Hospedaje Magallanes in Santander, Spain
Courtesy of Hospedaje Magallanes / Booking.com

If you’re looking for a straightforward, low-frills stay in the bustling centre of Santander, Hospedaje Magallanes is certainly one to consider. It’s a great base for tapping into the city nightlife as well as exploring the sights – both the ancient cathedral and uber-modern Centro Botin are within easy walking distance. If you don’t know where to start, staff at the 24-hour reception are more than happy to assist with everything from car hire to boat trips.

3. Vincci Puertochico

Hotel

A bed, desk, chair, TV and view of the marina from the large floor-to-ceiling window in a hotel room at Vincci Puertochico
Courtesy of Vincci Puertochico / Expedia

With a marina-front location in the Puertochico neighbourhood, this boutique hotel is as close to Santander city centre as it is to one of the best beaches in the city – Playa Los Peligros. Airy, beach-house decor echoes the waterside setting, while lots of the rooms also offer superb views over the bay. A breakfast buffet comes well recommended, and a colourfully decorated bar-lounge also offers drinks and snacks throughout the day.

4. Hotel Hoyuela

Hotel

Tables set for dining with white and red tablecloths in the restaurant at Hotel Hoyuela in Santander
Courtesy of Hotel Hoyuela / Expedia

From the elegant neoclassical façade to the circular light-filled atrium, few places in Santander match the Hotel Hoyuela for old-school grandeur. The El Sardinero setting also puts it just steps from the most popular stretch of sand in the city and a broad beachfront promenade. Rooms lean towards the classical with spacious bathrooms and free soft drinks in the minibar. For traditional Cantabrian cuisine in a chandelier-lit setting, head to the hotel restaurant.

5. Hotel Santemar

Hotel

A hotel room at Hotel Santemar with a bed, cowhide pillows and hanging lights made of cowbells; there is a view of the sea from the window
Courtesy of Hotel Santemar / Expedia

While the Hotel Santemar isn’t going to win any points for architecture, it does shine in other ways. Guest rooms have been smartly updated in a nautical or mountain theme, with upscale touches such as pillow menus and marble bathrooms. Its location a short stroll from El Sardinero beach also means many rooms have some kind of sea view. The hotel restaurant specialises in fresh local seafood, or for more casual refreshment the café is open all day.

6. Hotel Art

Independent Hotel

A bed, desk with coffeemaker and chair in a hotel room at Hotel Art; there is a balcony through the floor-to-ceiling glass doors
Courtesy of Hotel Art / Hotels.com

As the name suggests, art takes centre stage here. In the elegant lobby a quirky chandelier is the centrepiece, the restaurant is decorated with bold-patterned wallpaper and there are sculptures sitting on the balconies. The rooms are plush, with luxurious furnishings and shades of royal blue and emerald green, with welcome extras that range from soft robes and coffee machines to large walk-in rain showers and scenic sea views. It all sits to the northeast of the historic centre, close to Parque de Jado.

7. Hotel Silken Coliseum

Chain Hotel

A bed and a cushioned bench in a hotel room at Hotel Silken Coliseum in Santander, Spain
Courtesy of Hotel Silken Coliseum / Hotels.com

This four-star hotel brims with character, starting in the bright lobby, which is decorated with a centrepiece chandelier and contemporary artwork. The attached restaurant, Cafeteria Las Bambalinas, serves Cantabrian cuisine made from fresh, seasonal products. And the rooms come in a modern style, with backlit headboards and a muted colour palette. It’s in the centre of Santander, close to the picturesque Plaza Porticada, town hall and cathedral.

8. Jardín Secreto Santander

Hotel

A hotel room with a bed and a floor-to-ceiling wood beam at Jardín Secreto Santander
Courtesy of Jardín Secreto Santander / Booking.com

Jardín Secreto can be found just northwest of the centre, within easy walking distance of many of the major sites. It’s a relaxed budget-friendly option, with help-yourself hot drinks and a continental breakfast. There are just six rooms, each individually decorated with traditional features such as stone walls or fireplaces. There’s also a lovely garden and a cosy lounge.

9. Gran Hotel Sardinero

Independent Hotel

Two beds in a hotel room at Gran Hotel Sardinero; there is a black and white colour scheme throughout, and a balcony is visible through glass doors
Courtesy of Gran Hotel Sardinero / Expedia

The Gran Hotel Sardinero is the most iconic hotel in the city – a palatial white structure standing sentinel over El Sardinero Beach. Its 102 rooms come in either individual, double or junior suite sizes and are decorated in a modern and graceful style, with earthy tones and lots of soft furnishings. Many also feature sea views. There’s also a gourmet restaurant serving quality local cuisine.

10. Le Petit Boutique Hotel Santander

Independent Hotel

A bed, ladder with flower pots and a rug in a hotel room at Le Petit Boutique Hotel, Santander
Courtesy of Le Petit Boutique Hotel, Santander / Expedia

Le Petit Boutique sits just one block from El Sardinero Beach in the centre of Santander. It has just seven guest rooms, each named after a city – Paris, New York, Tokyo – with deçor to match. An adults-only retreat, it’s romantic, quiet and intimate. A complimentary breakfast sweetens your stay.

11. Eurostars Hotel Real

Garden Hotel

A table with a stack of books, a desk and three beds in a hotel room at Eurostars Hotel Real in Santander, Spain
Courtesy of Eurostars Hotel Real / Expedia

This impressive five-star property is the grande dame of Santander hotels. It faces Playa de los Peligros beach and stands on a hill, overlooking the historic city. The 123 rooms ooze style and luxury, dressed in muted tones and decorated with silky soft furnishings; some offer dazzling sea views. There’s also an indulgent spa, a gym, a gourmet restaurant and a café.

12. Hotel Bahía Santander

Chain Hotel

A bed, sitting area, and desk in a spacious hotel room at Hotel Bahía Santander; there is a view of the city and sea from the many floor-to-ceiling windows
Courtesy of Hotel Bahía Santander / Expedia

Bahía Santander sits right in the centre, between the Pereda Gardens, the Santander Cathedral and the Centro Botín contemporary arts centre. Also close to both the ferry terminal and the train station, it’s ideal for those on a flying visit. The rooms are stylish and sleek, and offer great city views through floor-to-ceiling windows. The hotel also has an excellent restaurant serving traditional Cantabrian cuisine.

13. Vincci Puertochico

Chain Hotel

Vincci Puertochico is located by the port area, just a 15-minute walk from the historic centre and close to the Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria and the Museo Marítimo del Cantábrico. It’s contemporary and stylish with a slight nautical theme found in blue tones, natural wood and wicker baskets on the walls. Rooms offer sea and marina views, and there’s a large breakfast buffet room plus a classy Taste Bar Lounge, serving snacks and coffees.

Leon Beckenham contributed additional reporting to this article.

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