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The idea behind the Hotel Real originally came from King Alfonso XIII. It was in 1906 that the Spanish royal family settled on Santander as their summer retreat of choice from where to sea bathe in the feisty waters. When the weather turned hot, the family would retreat to the Magdalena Palace, with this tradition continuing until the republic of Spain was proclaimed in 1931. By express order of the King, in 1916 work was started on the Hotel Real, which was to host the royal entourage.

Officially unveiled on 12 July 1917, the hotel would play host to all the honorary guests of the royal family for almost fifteen years. Following the disappearance of the Spanish royalty, the hotel continued to host all the major events held in the city: summer courses staged by the Menéndez Pelayo University and the international music festival of Santander, to name but a few (since then the hotel has lodged numerous world-renowned conductors, including the likes of Rostropovich and Zubin Metha).

It appears to have been on the spectacular terrace of the Hotel Real where Jorge Sepúlveda wrote his timeless song: “Mirando al mar soñé, que estabas junto a mí…” (“Looking out to sea I dreamt that you were by my side...”). In 1972, the establishment began to open its doors all year round. More recently, in 2003, the old garages of the complex underwent a complete face-lift to become what is now the hotel's prestigious thalassotherapy centre, offering a seemingly countless number of services.

On 1 January 2013, the Hotusa Group took over the management of the Hotel Real, which now forms part of the Eurostar Hotels chain. Always evolving, always innovating, and faithful to our tradition... “y sé que ha de volver a mí, cuando yo esté mirando al mar” (“and I know she will return to me when I look out to sea”).