It’s hard to take in the majesty of the Asturias region all at once – as soon as you’ve soaked in the brisk and rugged beauty of the Atlantic coast then there’s a sawtooth sierra or fulsome forest vying for your attention. But, 16th-century Palacio de Luces (now a stay in the CoolRooms stable) has packaged up this natural fray so you can enjoy it at leisure. Once the blue-blooded Victorero-family seat (whose Mexico-made fortunes echo in the Caribbean-comes-to-Cantabria restaurant and tropical decor touches), it’s now a welcoming retreat where you can enjoy champagne picnics, gentle games of pool and estate wines on the terrace in-between gastronomic and cultural expeditions.
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A large bottle of cider. GoldSmiths also get free tray charges for room-service breakfast
12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 4pm.
Double rooms from £164.94 (€185), including tax at 10 per cent.
Rates don’t include breakfast (€24 a person for buffet or à la carte).
For rainy days or just lazy afternoons, the La Canela lounge has a pool table and honesty bar. Or admire the nature-themed light sculptures made by Spanish artist Gabriela Calderón Chillida, granddaughter of the famous sculptor and engraver Chillida. And there’s more luminous magic in your room, with lamps that project virtual landscapes – fitting because Palacio de Luces translates to ‘palace of lights’.
At the hotel
Spa and gym, lounge with a pool table and honesty bar, gardens, chapel, mini golf, charged laundry service, free WiFi and newspapers. In rooms: 55-inch Smart TV, radio, Nespresso coffee maker and tea-making kit, minibar, climate control, bathrobes and slippers, high-speed WiFi, Molton Brown bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Rooms are all elegantly styled in a palette inspired by the Asturian countryside (the greens of the forested mountains, greys of the limestone massif, varying blues of the sea), with nods to the family’s move to Mexico in botanical drawings and Caribbean-style furnishings. The outdoors is very great here, so opt for the Junior Suite with a sizeable private garden.
The indoor heated spa pool is made all the more soothing with massage jets.
There’s just one treatment room in the spa, mostly used for massages, but the spoiling doesn’t stop there. Sweat out the bad in a sauna, bathe in chromotherapy lights in a Turkish bath, or laze in the pool. And there’s a fitness room filled with Technogym kit too.
Leave room in your suitcase for eclectic culinary treats: tins of anchovies, rolls of smoked cheese and bottles of cider.
Public areas are wheelchair accessible and one room is adapted for guests with mobility issues.
The hotel is child-friendly indeed, with a sofa bed in Suites, babysitting on request and a dedicated menu in Tella. Plus little ones will enjoy learning to surf, biking in the wild and frolicking on the beach.
The hotel is working towards its ‘S’ sustainability certification from the Spanish Tourism Quality Institute. In doing so, solar panels, light sensors, an aerothermal climate system, timed boilers and water regulators have been installed, glazing is UVA, and glass is very much preferred to plastics. Eco-friendly cleaning products and toiletries are used, recycling is done as standard and the restaurant sources from highly local providers. And the car park has charging points for electric cars.
Tella’s banquettes are very cosy, but they are set away from the modular window. You can spy the sierras from any table, but we recommend putting nose to glass (or close as) or taking a seat on the terraced patio.
There are two eateries at the hotel: La Palmera Snack Bar is the more laidback of the two, serving up delicacies such as spider-crab croquettes, stuffed peppers in a Biscayne sauce, calamari with citrus aioli. Plus there are hamburgers and sandwiches, burritos and tacos. The latter of which will give you a hint as to the direction main eatery Tella takes – inspired by the Victorero family’s Caribbean adventurings, the menu arrives at the Med via Mexico, under the direction of chef Nacho García Canellada. Food veers away from the simple, offering flight-of-fancy dishes such as guinea fowl stuffed with apple, chestnut and cinnamon cream; cocoa-rubbed venison with orange gnocchi and smoked potimarrón pumpkin; candied Navarran artichokes, smoked cheese and pesto; red prawns with lime and jalapeño – and caramelised French toast with rice-pudding ice-cream for dessert (hola, lover). And dig into traditional stews, warming bowls filled with beans and hare; cod, mushroom and black-garlic mousseline; or venison and foie tataki.
The hotel’s drinks list really DOPs, with wines from Spain’s most drinkable appellations and beyond to be taken in Tella, La Palmera, or on the terrace. And the spirits list is very robust, showing its Caribbean clout when you get to the rums.
Breakfast is from 8am to 11am, lunch from 1pm to 4pm, and dinner from 8pm to 10.30pm. On the weekend last orders at both restaurants are 11pm.
Dine in-room on the Snack Bar menu from 1.30–3.30pm and 8.30–10.30pm.
CoolRooms Palacio de Luces sits between the Sierra del Sueve mountains and the Cantabrian Sea in the northeast of the Asturias region amid a swathe of fields and small villages.
Asturias Airport is the closest, around an hour’s drive away, with direct links to some major cities in Western Europe. Transfers can be arranged from €100 one-way. The next is at León, 90 minutes’ drive away, with limited European routes, and the best connected is Bilbao, a two-and-a-half-hour drive away.
You can ride to Oviedo train station (a 40-minute drive away) from major cities such as Barcelona, Madrid, Bilbao and León; however, you’ll need plenty of reading material for the journeys, most of which take around seven hours. Transfers can be arranged from €100 each way.
The hotel is set in a rustic area, away from major cities, so for the freedom to explore coast and countryside some wheels will be essential. There’s a free car park onsite, plus valet parking and e-charging points too.
Worth getting out of bed for
Palacio de Luces pulled off a hat trick when it comes to location, location, location: those would be the Cantabrian Sea stretching out blue-ly from the Atlantic Coast, the Picos de Europa mountains to the aft, and the Sierra del Sueve massif to the east. They make a gorgeous whole and offer up beaches, dinky towns to explore, and gastronomic excellence. Firstly, take the two-kilometre trip to Lastres, a fishing village whose beauty is feted; the hotel can arrange a guided tour, and then you can hit the playa (there are two in close quarters). And a little further along, La Isla’s sandy stretches are also charming. Here you can indulge in maritime pursuits, such as making fishing nets, heading out to sea to use them with a local or sailing around the lighthouse. Or you can spend the day learning to surf (from seven years old). Or if you’re eager to dive into the fray of yew, beech, cherry and pine trees surrounding the hotel, you can hike up Pienzo peak, trek the sections of the Camino de Santiago route that cross into Asturias, or wander through the picturesque Biescona beech forest. The Victerero’s weren’t the only noble family to go over to the other side of the world – the hotel can arrange for a tour of the Caribbean-inspired architecture in the neighbourhood, with a stop at the Indiano Archives-Emigration Museum. For more local history, see Oviedo’s Romanesque churches, Gijón (the city that inspired Spanish Realist writer Clarin) for its Campoamor Theatre, or Avilés for the retro-futurist Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre. Quad biking brings the adrenaline, but for more decadent thrills, you could visit the Los Caserinos cheese factory, have the chef put together a champagne picnic, taste Hazas anchovies with Asturian wines or – come July – drink your fill at the annual Nava Cider Festival.
The gastronomic haven of San Sebastián is just a four-hour drive away, and Asturias does its utmost to follow suit (there are eight Michelin-starred restaurants in the region). But, its cuisine is very distinctive, with seafood from the Cantabrian (anchovies of face-scrunching flavour are especially popular), deep pots of bubbling stew, sidrerías aplenty and steaming pans of rice. In Lastres, sea-view Restaurante El Mirador covers all these bases, with fresh pickings from the fishermen's nets, warming paellas and rich hearty bowls of fabada: hunks of morcilla and chorizo swimming in a bean stew. Go a little further inland and you’ll come across Casa Marcial, a Michelin-acclaimed restaurant beloved by chefs (so you know it’s good). Meals here are foraged from the surroundings, so you might have a mushroom-y ‘forest broth’, hake and sardines with caviar, Friesian beef with tubers or rice-pudding strudel with brandy jelly. Close by is also Restaurant El Corral del Indianu, which showcases the region’s ties to the Americas. Start with corn-and-chorizo-stuffed macarons, continue with Iberan pork or stewed pigeon, and finish with a cake sodden with Lagavulin, or a pear tart with honeyed cinnamon croquettes and wild-rosemary ice-cream.
Try El Escanu in Lastres for juicy scallops, rosy platters of jamon and boards of local cheeses.
Lastres has a few local and beach bars, but nightlife is a little thin on the ground round these parts. If you want to see Asturians let their hair down, head to Oviedo for the eve. Pub Pico & Jazz Bar is one of the cooler spots with funky, Sixties-style decor, live music and a wall of whiskies. Don’t arrive too early – things kick off at around 11pm.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this Spaining-the-Atlantic stay in Asturias and unpacked their toothache-sweet moscovitas and jet jewellery, a full account of their lording-it-up break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside CoolRooms Palacio de Luces in Spain…
The CoolRooms brand continues to live up to its name with Palacio de Luces, a 16th-century Asturian residence perfectly positioned between the Cantabrian coast and forested sierras. In case you’re wondering who to thank for this spectacular retreat with its elegantly botanical-themed suites, restful spa, view-blessed terrace and sprawling gardens, well, the noble Victorero family owned it before it was cool. A fishing dynasty who earned their wealth via paper mills in Mexico, there are small signs of their tenure – mottos engraved in fireplaces, coats of arms, and elements of Caribbean cuisine in the fine-diner Tella. It’s still an aristocrat, but a gracious host too, inviting you in for glasses of DOP wines, champagne picnics in the grounds, and fire-warmed games of pool, while giving you free reign to indulge in Asturias’ culinary delights, picture-perfect beaches and rampant nature. So if you find yourself craving a hot Spanish adventure, stay Cool.