I know that stars have to do with facilities rather than quality, but I don’t see why, for instance, Hotel Tryp Diana by the Madrid Airport has four and Hotel Chiqui in Santander has only three. The Hotel Chiqui has meeting/banquet facilities, a gift shop that is open some of the time (and an excellent breakfast buffet in the room cost).
On Playa El Sardinero (the beach of the sardine fisherman), all the guest rooms in Hotel Chiqui, where we stayed at the beginning of May, have ocean view–a bay (Sardinero) within a bay (Biscaye) of the Atlantic Ocean. The beach is probably crowded with umbrellas in season, but in early May there were only a few people on the beach or in the water–and those in the water deeper than wading were mostly in wet suits. The sand is quite fine (in both senses of “fine”).
The staff was friendly and tried to be helpful, though the one thing we wanted–a second key card–seemed to be a major undertaking and took 6 hours (by which time, we no longer needed it, but it was delivered to the room once it had been manufactured…).
The room was not huge, but did not feel cramped. It had a balcony (with an ocean/bay view) with plastic chairs and a plastic table. The walls were a pastel yellow with four Lionel Feininger reproductions, the carpet blue and gold.
The room had a desk–with no light on or over it (there was one over the television set on a surface continuing the desk top). The lights over the beds were good. There was a safe in the room, night stands, shelves inside and outside the closet. The beds were set behind the bathroom, so there was no noise from the hallways (just the waves washing in…)
The bathroom had an exceptionally deep tub with a fixed showerhead over it, and a flimsy shower curtain (the kind that floats in when the shower is running), bidet (of course), and thick bath towels (not something one can assume will be present in European hotels).
Toiletries included two shampoo bottles, two bottles of gel, a comb, tissues, and a sponge. (Moisturizer lotion is a concept Spanish hotels in general lack, as American ones lack that of supplying sponges… and bidets.)
The hotel restaurant was quite good (we had crab-stuffed peppers, dorado, and flan) and there is a Chinese restaurant a short walk away. The breakfast-serving room, adjacent to a bar (with smoking) overflows onto a covered patio, so that those breakfasting or snacking there can be served outside.
The hotel was pleasant and restful. The rain in Spain does not stay on the plain (indeed, is rarer there than in the north), but early May was too early for swimming in the ocean (bay) anyway. Santander seems like a nice place to live, but fairly limited as a place to visit outside the beach season. The women in the (free-admission) art museum were particularly friendly and solicitous, and there is a panoramic view of coves from in front of the lighthouse. But Santander is the only place in Spain other than the generalisimo’s hometown (in Galicia, further west) that still has a statue of Francisco Franco (an equestrian one at that). On the third hand, the natives seemed to avoid that, sitting in the part of the square with the statue, though showing no inhibitions against occupying any of the benches with a view of the fascist dictator from further away.
Buses running downtown stop half a block away.
The address is Avenida García Lago 9, El Sardinero, Santander. The room rate was less than 60E (before tax). I didn’t go into the parking garage under the hotel (or the nightclub).