If you were to merge an enthusiastic restaurateur with a dedicated hotelier, and to offer them a generous budget, they might well come up with something like this hotel, perched on a hill above the salt marshes which isolate Santona and sweep past Escalante to the Ason estuary and Laredo. It stands in manicured gardens, dotted with palms, statues and enough pillars to start a Roman builder’s yard: this is definitely an up-market establishment. Some of the bedrooms are in the main building (a stout, honey-coloured stone building that used to be a manor) and there is also a small library equipped with chintz covered armchairs for those who want to escape the peace of the garden or the brilliant white paving and walls which border the swimming pool. The rest of the bedrooms are in a newly-built block next door, all on the ground floor and all with their own front doors. These are high, cool rooms with acres of space, good ‘baronial’ furniture interspersed with thoughtfully selected modern pieces, and the sort of bathrooms you’d like to pack and take home with you. On the other side of the main building stands the restaurant, a galleried half-timbered building, which is something of a magnet for local, and not-so-local, people – proof of the quality of its food and wine list.