Explanation for Accommodation Types
You will find the following categories on our web site:
Before we start explaining each of them and what you can expect in the different categories, some general information which might be helpful.
There exists no official rating system in Galicia or elsewhere in Spain for most rural accommodation categories (like stars, épis, or similar) e.g. Pazos, manor houses, rural houses/B&Bs. The hotels, rural guesthouses (boarding houses) and hostels are rated with the star system (estrelas) and the tourist apartments display “keys” (chaves).
But what does rural really mean? The Pazos, Manor houses and rural houses are located in Galician villages of not more than 500 habitants which can be on the sea- or countryside and in the mountains. The aspect of the buildings reflects traditional Galician architecture in its many different ways and we are always talking about historical buildings many of which have been in the families for centuries. The rural hotels and other accommodations might be situated in slightly bigger villages or small towns but still maintaining a rural character.
Independently of the lodging category there is one more important common aspect to be taken into account. In some of the accommodations you will share the dependencies with the owner who lives together with his family in the house although in a private area. The Galician regulation talks about shared and non-shared lodgings. Shared accommodations usually go together with the word “Residencia” and also the Farmhouses (group C) are shared. This has nothing to do with multiple guests staying together at the same lodging which can be the case for shared as well as non-shared accommodations.
Normally the lodgings offer facilities you can use all day: gardens, patios, terraces, lounges and swimming pools, etc. Some even offer the use of kitchens to prepare your own food, although many will also cook your evening meal or lunch besides breakfast (check when booking) and some are working farmhouses where you can eat fresh produce from the property and participate in agriculture activities. You will find a detailed list of services at each accommodation.
And if you wish to rent a whole house or apartment on your own for self catering watch out for the “casa completa-whole house” These homes typically cater for couples, families or small groups and are stocked with everything you need, however level of services (changing of linen, cleaning, laundry, etc.) can vary and you would have to check it before booking.
Some of the accommodations offer the possibility to book online (deposit required by credit card or bank transfer), for others you will only be able to see their availability calendar and will have to send a request. Both will display the “Check availability” tab and once you click on it another window will open which leads you to our Reservation Management Program. Be sure to check also the general features where you can insight reviews and get more information about prices, offers and services. And the other tabs with information about the area, photos and location data. The program also allows you to make up your own short list. The lodgings which do not work online at all will display a “Send request” tab. All available holiday accommodations can be booked direct form the property owner so no agency fees or commission.
On the whole you may find things take a little longer until you find your ideal holiday lodging in rural Galicia but we are sure this little extra effort is worth wile and you will get the reward finding yourself in a lovingly converted small family run accommodation tucked away in an enchanted village lost in time and nature.
Pazos and Manor houses (Group A).
In this category you can also find rectories, castles and monasteries. Pazos are the country estates of the ancient nobility in Galicia. Normally you would expect a minimum of 5 rooms and a maximum of 15 rooms. Due to its size most lodgings of this category offer wonderful common space where you really feel back in time like lounges with huge “lareiras”, the traditional Galician open fire place. Breakfast is usually available but it is advised to check for lunch and dinner in advance. Very few of these houses offer cooking facilities or are even to hire as a whole house for self catering.
Rural houses/B&Bs (Group B and C)
Galicia is dotted with farmhouses and cottages that have been lovingly converted into family-run casas rurales – rural houses. The close contact with local people will help transforming your holiday from an enjoyable leisure time into a life-affirming experience. Typically, the casas rurales have walls of local stone, mostly granite or slate, wooden balconies or galerías (glazed window balconies) and the typical patio. Some grand old fincas have been turned into splendid parks where guests can swan along shady terraces overlooking fruit trees and Galician hills. Cosy interiors invite to curl up in a lounge stuffed with Galician furniture handed over from generation to generation. Typically, you would expect a minimum of 3 rooms and a maximum of 10 rooms. In this category you will also find the working farmhouses (Group C). Breakfast is usually available but it is advised to check for lunch and/or dinner in advance. Some of these houses offer cooking facilities or are even to hire as a whole house for self catering. Watch out for the cooking facilities at the general services and if you wish to hire a house on your own, watch out for “casa completa – whole house” at the price list or click the “whole house” button in the search menu.
Country Hotels in Galicia are very special. Most are family owned with the proprietor and members of the family there to make you feel truly welcome. Hotels can vary from a small guesthouse in a historic building to a newly built establishment. In general the room number ranges from 10 to 20. Normally the defining requirement for a hotel is that it provides both accommodation and meals which is not always the case for country hotels in Galicia but you can still be sure to find restaurants in the very near surroundings. If you have a look at the different hotels you might ask yourself “Why aren’t some of them casas rurales (rural houses)?” since they look much more like a casa rural than a hotel. Often it is only a question of regulations: the village they are set in has more than 500 habitants, the owner decided to make an architectonic change during the restoration like an enlargement of an aisle (for casas rurales no constructive changes are allowed), etc. Another point you might find surprising is the low number of stars most hotels display. As you probably know the star system is an international standard and based on city hotels so sometimes it is just a question of not having a private parking or a lift which makes the difference of one star more or less. The private parking place certainly is an important factor in cities but, we can assure you, not in small Galician villages or towns. So the best you can do is choose the hotel you like despite its number of stars or whether it looks like a hotel or not.
This sounds a bit confusing with regard to the rural houses but in this category you will find boarding houses (Pensión) in rural areas and everything said for the former categories is also valid for this one.
In this category you will find hostels, apartments, vacation rentals (vivienda vacacional), specialized hotels (Nature Hotels) and Rural Tourism villages (Group D). Again it is often more a question of local regulations whether lodgings are in this or that category. So the best you can do is to choose the lodging you like and which best fits your requirements without taking too much into account which category it belongs to. You will find newly built establishments with all modern facilities as well as hundred years’ old restored buildings which maintain the charm of the centuries. There are also some very nice homes for self catering from small apartments for a couple to bigger houses for groups or several families. And if you prefer some more service why not have a look at the hostels and Nature Hotels. Although there are not many yet, another interesting possibility is to stay at one of the Rural Tourism Villages. This is a unit of at least three houses from before 1940 which are located in the same village and belong to the same owner.
Whichever lodging you choose you will be able to dive into Galician culture, tradition and nature.