by Craig Randall
March 19, 2005
The halls are hardwood and decorated with appropriate works of art on the walls and floors. The rooms are spacious, even the one we got [for $275/night U.S.], and the amenities were complete.
The space in the room was nice, but I was really impressed with the oversized bathroom and shower. A full assortment of toiletries was included, and the shower had more pressure than I can remember. If there was a water shortage in Santiago that week, I take full responsibility.
Breakfast is served buffet-style in one of the dining rooms. It is complete and includes charcuterie from all over the peninsula: tortillas, cheeses, fruits, etc. Enough of a variety to suit any taste in the morning.
You are free to explore the grounds, though the treasures are inside. The outside of the hotel looks more like a low-slung box than a five-star paradise. The interior is replete with courtyards and gardens, a chapel and numerous nooks and crannies to explore. We were fortunate enough to be guided by Francisco Bujan, head bellman, to most of these places. I've known him for almost twenty years... and he's been at the Hostal for about that long.
As a pilgrim, even though we were grossly underdressed, we were treated respectfully by all on staff. I think they recognize and appreciate the effort of pilgrims, as well as understand their essential nature to the local economy. I never felt odd, although I was decked out in cairn pants from REI and a yellow rain shell, due to the Gallego rains.
From journal Two Nights in a 500 year-old Hospital