Its western cliffs were once considered the end of the world. Now the autonomous Spanish region, with its own language, is a popular travel destination for those seeking culture, history and beauty. The famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route runs through Galicia, ending at its capital, Santiago de Compostela. Sitting on the Iberian Peninsula with coastal cities like A Coruna and Vigo, its pretty ports ensure it’s a frequent stop-off for luxury cruise liners. But Galicia is also accessible via plane, train and road, with mountainous rural areas, forests and valleys to be explored inland, along with its beaches and harbours.
Santiago de Compostela
Hotel Palacio Del Carmen, Autograph Collection
100 years as a tannery, then another 100 as a convent, this building close to the historic centre has had an illustrious past. This is seen in some of the features, such as a chapel turned meeting space with a religious mural, arched windows and thick stone walls. Now, it’s a five-star retreat, where guests can book alfresco massage therapies, read or sunbathe in the gardens and book a suite with views of the cathedral (which is 15 minutes on foot from the front door). A contemporary restaurant, bar, saltwater swimming pool and fitness centre are among the Hotel Palacio Del Carmen’s amenities.
Hotel A Quinta Da Auga Relais & Châteaux
With a former life as a paper mill, this 18th-century traditional Galician building has plenty of character. Rooms here face onto the pretty garden, with its water fountain, colourful window boxes, lawns and terrace. Guests can book a treatment at the spa from a menu of oriental and occidental rituals which make use of high-quality natural products, enjoy a drink in the bistro-style bar and dine at the excellent Filigrana restaurant. Family-run, the romantic hotel has 51 bedrooms and three suites, the latter incorporating living spaces, a study and a jacuzzi, as well as a reading room and a social room.
Hospital Real De Santiago De Compostela
Converted from a hospital first built in the year 1499 and commissioned by King Ferdinand, this used to serve walkers who came here on pilgrimage. Hospital Real De Santiago De Compostela still caters to visitors but in the form of a luxe hotel – one of the oldest in the world. Ideally located in the Plaza do Obradoiro beside the cathedral, it immerses visitors into a bygone era. Cloisters, thick stone walls, an outdoor terrace overlooking the square and a manicured courtyard garden help evoke the ancient atmosphere. Rooms come with wifi, satellite TV, air-con and mini-bars, and there are two restaurants.
Hotel NH Collection Santiago De Compostela
A sleek resort for the modern age, this NH property is set within peaceful gardens, surrounded by parkland and close to a lake. It’s a striking feature on the landscape, designed by Aranguren & Gallegos Arquitectos. The grounds include a swimming pool and a terrace. Inside, there’s another pool (with floor-to-ceiling windows looking onto the outdoor pool), a gym, sauna, Turkish bath, the Abeiro Restaurant with charming garden views and a lobby bar. Bedrooms are decorated in hues of white, chocolate and apple-green, with amenities including a pillow menu, high-quality mattresses, soundproofing and Nespresso machines.
Hotel NH Collection A Coruña Finisterre
Next to the historic centre and an easy stroll to the beach, this hotel brings together classic and contemporary design. Every room at the NH Collection comes with a hydro-massage bath and a minibar, with spacious family suites available. Dinner at the hotel can be taken at La Terraza, accompanied by stunning views and live music, or at the Novo Restaurant, both offering vegetarian and child-friendly dishes. Guests staying here have access to multiple pools, a gym and sports courts and you can bring your pooch along for the stay too, with NH’s accommodating pet policy.
Noa Boutique Hotel
Very sleek and modern, with a hint of urban chic and simple Scandi design influence, this stylish boutique hotel has a bayside position in Santa Cruz de Oleiros, close to La Coruña’s centre. It’s fully committed to sustainability, with a strong environmental focus — geothermal energy is used throughout. 32 airy, open-plan bedrooms have extra long beds, blackout drapes, terraces and floor-to-ceiling glass windows. NOA Gastro Lounge is its award-winning restaurant, complemented by the alfresco NOA at la Taberna. Climb to the rooftop to experience the highlight of an Insta-perfect infinity pool and jacuzzi. Noa Boutique Hotel also offers in-room massages, a gym and a Wellness Club.
AC Hotel by Marriott Palacio Universal
Built using ornate stone with pretty wrought iron balconies, this building dates back to the 19th century. Overlooking the marina on the Ría de Vigo estuary, the four-star hotel is within walking distance of the city’s attractions and under a quarter of an hour’s stroll from the railway station. 69 sleek monochrome rooms come with minibars, satellite TV, designer toiletries, climate control, free daily newspapers, laptop-friendly workspaces and soundproofing. Amenities include a library, a rooftop terrace, fitness facilities, a lounge bar, a business centre and La Cuaderna Restaurant serving buffet breakfast and a la carte Mediterranean cuisine.
Hotel NH Collection Vigo
Found on the city’s main boulevard surrounded by shops, the NH Collection Vigo is housed in a 20th-century building with a Neoclassical façade, designed by the French architect, Michel Pacewicz. Accommodating 108 bedrooms including jacuzzi loft suites, the four-star property is pet, family and business traveller friendly. Guests have access to their own Nespresso machine, NH branded toiletries, babysitting services, a pillow menu, fluffy duvets and super comfy mattresses. Valet parking, a small gym and an onsite restaurant — the elegant Irati — are all available. Plus there’s a bar with a charming alfresco terrace overlooking the church.
Parador de Baiona
A little outside of Vigo, 30 minutes south on the coast road in Pontevedra, lies the walled enclosure of Monte Real. Here, between the sea and a pine wood, lies the regal Parador de Baiona. A deeply distinguished property recalling a bygone era, this Galician mansion offers fantastic sea views, a large outdoor pool surrounded by manicured gardens and a fine seafood restaurant. On arriving in the entrance hall, guests are greeted by a majestic stone staircase, candelabra lighting and suits of armour. Bedrooms have features such as timber beamed ceilings, four poster beds, grid windows, polished stone walls and antique dark wood furniture.