Villaviciosa is not on the well-worn tourist trail but is a perfect microcosm of Spanish provincial life, and Hotel Neru de Campomanes happens to be one of the best places to enjoy all its charms. Right in the center of the town’s historic center, with medieval buildings and a stunning 13th-century gothic church, Hotel Ñeru de Campomanes is historic itself, built in 1933 and listed in the town’s architectural registry.
Situated on a small corner of town life, the location is lively without being touristy, bustling without overwhelming the senses. The hotel proprietor, Mercedes can come off a little brusk but get her talking and she warms right up (she speaks no English so come prepared with a few phrases in Spanish if you aren’t bilingual). Her grandfather built the hotel as a family home for his wife when he returned from “finding his fortune” in the Dominican Republic at the turn of the century.
Originally the two sides of the house were two separate residences and Mercedes still lives on the east side of the hotel with her husband and her son in a collection of rooms filled with antiques and old photographs. The west side of the building is now the hotel, with 9 individual rooms, each with a slightly different layout. We stayed in room 201 and loved our balcony that faced the street. Several other rooms also have balconies or sun room-type terraces so make sure to ask for one. Some rooms also have mini-fridges and combinations of three beds or two with a fold-out cot.
While the spaces are small, both bedrooms and bathrooms, they are cozily dressed with wooden furniture, small wardrobes, and bedside lamps for the kind of softer light that Villaviciosa requires. For the location, the price is outstanding, only 40 Euros or about 47 USD. While there are few in-house amenities like breakfast or a lobby (there is the smallest reception area I have yet to see in my travels) there needn’t be much because everything outside is so close at hand – restaurants, bars, small shops, and lots of tiny alleyways for getting lost.
A definite plus is the good wi-fi signal and the low-key attention of the proprietress if what you like is no fuss hospitality. You are free to come and go as you please and if you need anything you just give Mercedes a call or a knock. Beds and linens are basic and comfortable but definitely ask for a second pillow as it seems the style in this part of Spain for budget hotels is a single, long pillow for two people. There’s free street parking in front of the hotel and through the historic downtown which covers a half dozen or so blocks in the surrounding area.
Just below Neru de Campomanes is the Taberna el Charrán, a charming bar and restaurant that serves traditional local fare and the town’s most famous export, hard cider. Tangy and slightly effervescent, sidra is drunk a gulp at a time, poured from a foot-level high above the glass to oxygenate and enhance its flavor. The cider is made with the local apples that you will see growing all over the surrounding countryside.
A great little beach, Playa de Rodiles, is only about a 15-minute drive through some beautiful countryside, and the town itself has all the basics, lots of charm and gorgeous architecture, but less hustle and bustle than some of the bigger tourist destinations in these parts. For the price and location, Hotel Neru de Campomanes is a real gem in Spain’s northern Asturias region.
Book direct with the property as this one is hard to find on any of the big booking sites.