Spacious, elegant, and yet, with just seven rooms, the Palacio de Bentraces has warmth and intimacy. The hotel occupies a fine old pazo – a stonebuilt Galician country house whose walls still display the escutcheon of former noble owners. It was built in the 1400s as a bishop’s palace, but by the 1700s had been converted into a manorial seat by a family of Portuguese descent. Its present owners have taken pride in its sensitive restoration using only natural materials. They decorated each bedroom differently and furnished the rooms with antiques and bold colours.
The house, in a hamlet on Galicia’s southern edge close to the Portuguese border, is supremely peaceful. There are no balconies, but one suite has a private terrace overlooking the flower gardens, and every bedroom window has a view across the hotel grounds and woods to the countryside beyond. Couples and families with older children predominate among the guests, who love to tour the ancient towns and villages of southern Galicia. This is essentially a guesthouse offering bed and breakfast but the owners have a restaurant in the village (about 100m away), where the cooking is up to date and international, and based on good local produce.