San Martin Di Pinario

Hospederia San Martin Pinario was our pit stop for three nights in Santiago. Initially we’d intended to stay at a four star hotel once at our destination but after having stayed at the very well-kept pensions we changed our bookings.

We participated in a guided tour of the building to learn more about San Martin Di Pinario. Elena, our lovely guide and an art history student, gave us an informative tour of the building during which we learnt much also about the history of Santiago and San Martin Pinario, the monastery. The name derives from Saint Martin, a French saint, and pine forest (pinario=pine forest), the monastery was first located in a pine forest near Santiago.

The hotel lies next to the Cathedral on the Plaza de la Immaculation. The building works of the monastery you see today were started  in the last part of the 16th century and it was built on for two centuries. It was the Benedictine monks who established the monastery – there was and still is also a Franciscan monastery in Santiago. History tells that there were some disputes about the rent of the land of the Franciscan monastery – in the end, when the original lease contract was found, it was discovered that the annual rent was to be a basketful of salmon be it that the monks could catch the fish. Today you can see this as a living traditions each year when the Franciscans have a procession from their monastery to San Martin Pinario carrying a basket full of salmon.

The facilities have served as a monastery, hospital, parador for Spanish kings and army base. Today the 24,000 square meters host three institutions: the hospederia, seminar for priests and municipal offices.

It is unbelievable that this accommodation is classified as one a one star place. It is of course only a  hospederia, and does not have the amenities and facilities of four or five-star hotels. Still it was very comfortable and luxurious, especially after the albergues and pensions. We did not in any case miss the TV or a mini-bar or even a 24/7 bar service. The rooms were tidy and the interior decoration suited the building well.

We can warmly recommend the hotel. It was a peaceful and calm place. The beds were comfy and the hotel service was friendly. At times the cafe and the Wi-Fi area would get crowded as large tourist groups would gather before dinner. We had one dinner at the restaurant and it was not very remarkable. A pity that they serve such food in a town and country full of best culinary delights.

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