The best boutique hotels in Northern Spain

Foregoing the well-trodden paths of the southern coast in favour of new routes up north, Spain delights in a whole new way with rolling hills, expansive wineries and a whole host of quaint towns and villages not to mention historic cities. Get acquainted with the north coast’s beaches too, perhaps road tripping around the Bay of Biscay or along the border to France. Whatever your calling, ensure a warm welcome and a great night’s sleep by booking one of the best hotels in Northern Spain. Discover our top 10 Northern Spain hotels below.

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Photo: Arima Hotel & Spa

1. Hotel Akelarre, San Sebastián, Basque Country

For your first stop in San Sebastián, there will be zero complaints with a night at Hotel Akelarre, a modernist hotel based hillside outside of town overlooking the Bay of Biscay. Gourmet foodies will jump at the chance to dine at the three-Michelin-starred restaurant on site, a space for chef Pedro Subijana to serve up cutting-edge cuisine alongside fine wines and even finer views. In the rooms, no expense is spared on Bang and Olufsen sound systems, Apple TVs and organic bath products, each room at least 50 square metres with an inclusive sea view. Upgrade to an Akelarre Suite for additional private plunge pool and floor-to-ceiling windows, though the shared hydrotherapy pool, spa and relaxation area all boast exceptional sea views.

2. Arima Hotel & Spa, San Sebastián, Basque Country

A leafier lodging awaits travellers at Arima Hotel & Spa, located under the canopy of Miramón Forest a short drive from San Sebastián. At one with its tranquil surroundings, Arima Hotel & Spa bears aluminium exteriors and wood-clad interiors, showing an eco-conscious approach with low energy usage and organic, locally farmed fare served at the hotel’s tapas restaurant. The wellness spa is a key selling point too, complete with an infrared sauna, two pools (one of which is a rooftop infinity pool only open in summer) and an adjacent fitness centre. Enjoy a cocktail at the pool bar while waiting for a serenity treatment or get your heart rate up in the forest-facing studio for yoga or spin class.

Photo: Arima Hotel & Spa

Photo: Arima Hotel & Spa

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At one with its tranquil surroundings, Arima Hotel & Spa bears aluminium exteriors and wood-clad interiors, showing an eco-conscious approach with low energy usage and locally farmed fare

3. Hotel Iturregi, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country

Follow the coast from San Sebastián and pretty soon you’ll reach Hotel Iturregi, a rural farmhouse hosting eight contemporary rooms – with heritage details – on a romantic Basque Country hillside that slopes down towards the Bay of Biscay. The hotel’s gardens make for a great picnic location but breakfast can also be delivered in-room before a day of poolside lounging and terrace schmoozing. Alternatively, get on the road to explore txakoli vineyards and the village of Getaria nearby. Enjoy the hotel’s perks of bicycles and beach gear, returning to base to raid the honesty bar after hours. While there is no Basque restaurant on site, the hotel’s extensive snack bar features local cheese, jamón Iberico and croquettes.

Photo: Hotel Iturregi

Photo: Hotel Iturregi

4. Villa Magalean Hotel & Spa, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country

Also amidst the glorious backdrop of Basque Country is the Villa Magalean Hotel & Spa, on a prime bit of real estate beside Hondarribia’s medieval old town and marina. Lap up the nautical colours and briny smells of the seafront, wandering down old village streets to clear your nose with magnolia-covered façades and gourmet kitchen aromas. A border town through and through, Hondarribia has plenty of French influence and so too does Villa Magalean. Coolly hip with a wide-ranging library and Marshall music room to complement its Spa Henriette, this is a hotel that pleases without trying too hard. The on-site wine bar and restaurant Mahasti also gives Basque restaurants in town a run for their money, with its local tasting menu served alongside wines from the owner’s own private bodega.

Photo: Villa Magalean Hotel & Spa

Photo: Villa Magalean Hotel & Spa

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In the heart of the countryside, this cultural retreat is a favourite among fashionistas and filmmakers alike, providing a great backdrop for film and photography shoots, including weddings

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5. Molino Tejada, Cantabria

To cop a nice room in Cantabria, try Molino Tejada, a 16th-century watermill that doubles up as an intimate hotel edging the Ebro River. In the heart of the countryside, this cultural retreat is a favourite among fashionistas and filmmakers alike, providing a great backdrop for film and photography shoots, including weddings. Each room at Molino Tejada comes fitted with a kitchenette and bathtub, blending old stone features with modern luxury design. When you’ve tired of walking the gardens on the banks of the Ebro, retreat into the library or home theatre, alternating later on by sipping sangria at the honesty bar and dipping in the pool.

Photo: Molino Tejada

Photo: Ketut Subiyanto

6. Puebloastur Eco-Resort Hotel & Spa, Asturias

Setting a tranquil scene in the small town of Cofiño, flanked on either side by the Cantabric Sea and Picos de Europa mountains, is Puebloastur Eco-Resort Hotel & Spa, an upscale Asturian farmhouse hotel. Elevating its rustic architecture with fine art and sleek modern fittings, Puebloastur is a key part of Cofiño with grounds stretching halfway through town. The eco part comes in the form of paperless bookings and dedicated local sourcing, from the Spanish gin and gochín pork on offer at the resort’s two restaurants right down to the spa’s high-end products. A favourite feature on cold days is the underwater access to the outdoor hot tub, with additional whirlpools in the spa.

Asturias, Spain | Photo: ELG21

7. Hotel 3 Cabos, Asturias

Presiding over the west-Asturias countryside with a prime view of the Bay of Biscay, is Hotel 3 Cabos, a converted farmhouse on an eco-friendly mission. Reach the fishing port of Luarca with a 7-kilometre drive inland, though a further 90 kilometres will take you to the Asturian capital of Oviedo. Otherwise, walk the nearby headlands and clifftops, bracing for steep hikes down to golden beaches before returning for a fine Asturian meal and Spanish wines in the lounge area. A great stop on road trips from Galicia to Cantabria, Hotel 3 combines its 100-year-old history with playful décor that includes more than one giraffe statue.

8. Parador de Corias, Asturias

Also in west Asturias, Parador de Corias is the first showing of Paradores Northern Spain and a good one it is too. Based in an 11th-century monastery in bucolic surrounds about halfway from Oviedo and Galicia, Parador de Corias is a great base for travellers seeking some heritage. Draw your eyes momentarily from the mountains and the Narcea River in the background and you’ll see that this vast hotel holds great archaeological significance, on display in the basement museum, church and refectory restaurant. All else follows contemporary tastes throughout its Scandi-inspired spaces and sensual spa with not a tapestry in sight.

Photo: Alex Block

Asturias | Photo: Javier Alamo

9. Parador Costa da Morte (Muxía), A Coruña, Galicia

Another day another beautiful Spain Parador, this time going by the name of Parador Costa da Morte (or Muxía) next to the sandy stretch of Praia de Lourido. Somewhat confusingly, Costa da Morte is a wholly modern build (opened in 2020) with no historical links, designed to meld seamlessly with the coastal topography surrounding. Besides being beachside, this hotel earns its place among the best Paradores in Spain for its originality and proximity to legendary landmarks such as the Cape Finisterre Lighthouse (labelled by the Romans as ‘the end of the world’), set between Santiago de Compostela (70 kilometres) and A Coruña (90 kilometres).

10. Hotel A Quinta Da Auga Relais & Châteaux, A Coruña, Galicia

Those seeking something a little older while in Galicia might prefer the 18th-century estate of Hotel A Quinta Da Auga Relais & Châteaux. Spread across 1 hectare in the mountain valleys just outside central Santiago de Compostela, this elegant chateau wins guests over with its antique furnishings, refined suites and 3-storey wellness spa captured within the estate’s garden, which has a river view and several fountains. After trying traditional Galician fare at Restaurant Filigrana, curl up in front of the Baroque fireplace with a good book or undress for the Turkish baths.

Photo: Hotel A Quinta Da Auga Relais & Châteaux

Photo: Hotel A Quinta Da Auga Relais & Châteaux

11. Noa Boutique Hotel, A Coruña, Galicia

More serene than you might expect from the Spanish coast, Noa Boutique Hotel ensures its guests can unwind in peace some 60 kilometres north of Santiago de Compostela, where the rowdiness usually begins. A Coruña is the port town known as the gateway to Galicia and, it’s here where you’ll find stellar seafood and historic castles all in view of the Atlantic coast. Noa Boutique Hotel sits among proceedings, its rooms glass-fronted and fitted with bathtubs, while its shared spaces host an infinity-edged saltwater pool, 24-hour gym and eco-friendly spa to keep guests amused. The restaurant is also a reason to stay, serving up Asian-Galician fusion dishes that will impress.

12. Quinta de San Amaro Hotel, Galicia

The last in our list of luxury Hotels in Northern Spain is the Quinta de San Amaro Hotel, a Pontevedra countryside gem based 4 kilometres from the west coast’s beaches among rolling Salnes Valley vineyards. Guests can enjoy free tours of the Albariño winery, appreciating rural Meaño views all the while, or take a car to the city of Vigo for boat trips to the Cies Islands where the natural park hosts one of the region’s best beaches. Back at the hotel meanwhile, the pool, pergola and porch are perfect for merriments at sundown.

Photo: Quinta de San Amaro Hotel

Photo: Quinta de San Amaro Hotel

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Photo: Hotel A Quinta Da Auga Relais & Châteaux

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