Any recommendations for a mid-price hotel? Hotel Parma is listed as $$$$ in RS book, but it is very cheap ($75) now. It also shows itself as 2-star. Has something changed?
I'm guessing the $$$$ is a mistake.
I stayed there in 2019 on a RS tour, and it was a pleasant but simple place. Good location and the breakfast was good.
It's probably the impact of the pandemic more than anything, but what travel dates were you checking? I think Rick bases his price range on peak-season rates, and we're probably moving out of peak season for the Basque Country now. It's a cool, damp area that's ideal for summer travel. San Sebastian has some of the highest rates in Spain during the summer.
I just randomly checked rates on booking.com for 3 nights beginning September 22 and got a rate of about 160 euros per night (almost $190) for an interior-view room.
As for the two-star rating vs. Rick's recommendation, 1) He likes locally-owned hotels with character, not necessarily deluxe establishments and 2) European hotel-rating structures vary by country but often do not clearly align with the way a guidebook evaluates a hotel. For each star level there are some firm requirements that a hotel may decide not to meet or may not be able to meet for physical reasons. You can't go above a certain level without an elevator, without a restaurant, without room service, etc. There may also be a rule about the average size of a room. For all I know there might even be a requirement for on-site parking (which this hotel doesn't have) at some star level. I scanned the amenities listed on booking.com and see that the hotel doesn't have a full-service restaurant, nor does it have room service. Those omissions wouldn't bother me--this hotel is much nicer than the ones I normally stay in--but those omissions may be the reason the hotel isn't a 4-star, if not a 3-star.
Here's a link to the amenities as listed on booking.com: https://www.booking.com/hotel/es/parma.html?aid=304142;label=gen173nr-1DCAEoggI46AdIM1gEaIwCiAEBmAExuAEXyAEM2AED6AEB-AEDiAIBqAIDuALwruSJBsACAdICJGIwNDNlOWRiLWMzMDYtNGM5My1iNDY5LWI5YzY0NzcxZjNjZtgCBOACAQ;sid=7507bf293d2753b0a752ffe3fde884a9;atlassrc=sriwtitle;checkin=2021-09-22;checkout=2021-09-25;destid=-401497;desttype=city;dist=0;groupadults=2;groupchildren=0;highlightedblocks=146670397040191220;norooms=1;room1=A%2CA;sbpricetype=total;type=total;ucfs=1&#hpfacilities_box
Sometimes it's not so easy to find that information on the hotel's own website.
Rick Steves uses it for his Basque Country tours. We stayed there a few years ago on this tour, and it was clean and centrally located. I'd stay there again unless recent reviews on Booking.com were negative. (I never use Trip Advisor for hotel reviews, because anyone can post a review on TA, even rivals across the street who want to sabotage their competitor. Booking.com limits reviews to travelers who have actually stayed at the property.)
Thanks. The price I found was a web price on the hotel's own website for October. I think we'll go ahead with it.
I have a booking for mid July at the Parma, 193 Euros per night for interior facing double. They know when there is a higher demand, but let's hope this Omicron doesn't cancel our trip a 2nd time.
I was going to use Pensión Amaiur, for the trip I had planned for Spain/France and ended up cancelling the trip. It is right in the old town, pretty inexpensive, with the kind of local flavor/charm that I look for. The staff was attentive to my questions and they sent a kind email when I cancelled my trip.
Calle 31 de Agosto, 44, 20003 San Sebastián, Gipuzkoa