21st August 2013 at 12:53 #457981
Anonymous21st August 2013 at 12:53 #457982
We had a total of 5 nights in Santiago de Compostela. Thinking we would be quite busy while staying at the AC Palacio del Carmen (see review) we decided to spend the last two relaxing a bit outside of the city at the A Quinta da Auga, Relais & Chateaux. This was our second Relais & Chateaux property. Based on only good experiences with Le St. Paul at St. Paul de Vence, France, we thought it was time to check out another one, this time in Spain.
The A Quinta da Auga dates back to 1792. Originally it was built by Jacobo Perez Villamarin as a paper factory, but it was also used to produce wool clothing, ice and beer. It fell into disrepair until Lorenzo Garcia and his family bought the estate. The architect carrying out the restoration and renovation project was Luisa Garcia Gil.
We took a taxi from the AC to the A Quinta da Auga and paid around 8 Euro (ca. 10.70 USD). The journey took maybe 10 minutes.
It was around 12.30 hours when we arrived. Unfortunately we weren’t able to check in early and were advised to come back at 15.00 hours, when the official check in time was and our room would be ready.
We explored the area and checked out where the bus stop for the Number 8 bus into town was. It wasn’t easy to spot, because it was at the end of the road and only a no parking sign indicated it. We later saw a bus stopping there.
Having done that we decided to go back to the hotel and have lunch.
We had Ice tea, hot chocolate, cappuccino, ham and cheese sandwiches and watermelon gazpacho.
When we had settled the bill (ca. 25 Euro or ca. 33.40 USD) our room was ready. We were offered an upgrade for 90 Euro (ca. 120 USD) per night to a suite. We didn’t take it up, because we were quite happy with our room. It was 10 square meters larger than the standard room at the AC Palacio del Carmen. We received a room at the top floor (5th). It was a mansard room with a window built into the roof and views over the garden and neighborhood. The room was sparsely furnished with a traditional writing desk, two chairs and comfortable twin beds. It was large, but didn’t look too empty. We felt immediately at home.
There were wooden floors; the mini bar was free with local water, two bottles of Coca Cola, one orange Fanta and one lemon Fanta. It was restocked daily.
The flat screen TV was small, but moving the chairs from under the window nearer to the TV solved the problem. The only English speaking channel was BBC World.
Storage space in the wardrobe was good. There was also a safe unlike at the AC.
The air condition was centrally operated and sometimes made the room slightly too hot. It didn’t bother us too much or we simply opened the window.
The tapestry was interesting. It depicted what life was like in earlier days.
The bathroom was large with a bathtub/shower combination, Relais & Chateaux Ylang Ylang amenities, a bidet, toilet and sink. The bath tub was comfortable and the water pressure was good.
The hotel has a restaurant called Filigrana, a social lounge and the Q Cafe. There is also a new wing with fitness center, hydrothermal facilities including swimming pool, hydrotherapy pool, sauna, ice fountain and steam bath. There is also a spa, offering facials, massages, body treatments, manicure, pedicure, hair care and yoga lessons. Massage treatments start from 30 minutes and cost 40 Euro (ca. 53.40 USD) to 90 minutes for 115 Euro (ca. 153.35 USD).
There are also packages available ranging from 110 minutes to 5 days.
Use of the Flotarium costs 22 Euro for 20 minutes (ca. 29.40 USD); yoga lessons start at 90 Euro (ca. 120 USD) for 90 minutes.
We enjoyed spending time on our room, going to the Q Cafe or walking in the grounds.
The gardens were very beautiful. There were different flowers, fountains tinkling and a waterfall. The hotel recommends also walks ranging from twenty to forty five minutes.
The hotel was detailed. The social lounge had old photographs of what the hotel looked like before the renovation, which famous guests had visited and other artwork. Each seating area was different with plush sofas, comfortable armchairs and an open fire.
Another detail were flowers and plants in the bedroom and bathroom or that the flowers and the outdoor chairs were in matching colors – an intense red.
There were nooks and crannies to explore on every floor and art work everywhere.
Even the elevators look not functional. They have prints depicting the paper making process.
Since we had time I choose a 30 minutes deep tissue massage.
The spa was airy and light. The original building and the new wing are connected indoors, so there is no reason to go outside. The staff was very friendly and concerned if the treatment had been to my liking. The changing room was empty and I had my own locker, containing a bath robe, panty and slippers. There were also showers and toilets.
The treatment was relaxing and eased my tensions. This massage didn’t make me as sore as previous ones. It was as good, though.
At the Q Cafe we tried different smoothies and juices, local wine and coffee liquor, pasta salad, peppers filled with cod, frozen yogurt and raspberries, Santiago Cake and much more.
Breakfast was served buffet style every day at the Filigrana Restaurant. It was small, but had everything one could need from cold cuts and smoked salmon to cheese to yogurt, fruit salad, scrambled eggs – other egg dishes could be made a la carte -, pastries and much more. The space was a bit small and when it was busy, it could get tight. Restocking wasn’t an issue. There was only one juice – orange. The flavor was outstanding and everyone had at least two glasses. The salmon was the softest I’ve ever had.
We had a funny incident with Housekeeping. It was afternoon. We had returned from our walk and saw that the maids were on our floor making up rooms. They hadn’t arrived at our room, so we were prepared for their visit. The maid knocked, shouted something in Spanish and opened the door immediately. If we had been in an indiscriminating situation it could have gotten embarrassing, so the young lady was a bit surprised somebody was on the room. She asked a colleague to help her. The room was cleaned and the bed was made very quickly.
All the staff encountered was friendly, efficient and warm.
Way too soon we had to leave for our next destination Barcelona.
Check out was done quickly, a taxi was ordered for us and the “bible” – the 2013 Relais & Chateaux catalogue in English was given to us as a good bye present. On the room we only had the actual version in Spanish, so this was a nice touch.
Donations to UNICEF are also encouraged.
We can recommend the A Quinta da Auga to couples and families with older children, who are looking for a quirky property that is romantic and off the beaten track with personalized services and attentive staff.
We are missing the property already and are definitely going to return, when we are in the area.
Would we recommend this hotel to a friend? YES!
Would we stay again in this hotel? YES!
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