Ancient beeches and oaks line both sides of the road that goes from Barreda to Santillana del Mar and crosses the river Saja. The basin where Cantabria emerged and which reveals irrefutable proof of its antiquity in the paintings of Altamira, is now a must for travellers, who find peace in the inns of the area.
José Manuel González represents the third generation of one of those Cantabrian families who opened the doors of their houses to accommodate travellers. “It was about 80 years ago that my maternal grandparents began to devote themselves to this business. Originally it was an inn but in 1992 it was completely renovated and became a hotel, and from there on we have followed the tradition”.
La Casona de Luis was followed in 2009 by the Hotel Felisa, a four-star hotel they opened a few metres from the original building to reach other types of public. “Given the situation of recent times, our only choice was to renew ourselves or die,” José Manuel explains. “About 30 years ago we were the only inn on the road but now they are everywhere. That’s why we decided to open a hotel with spa aimed at another profile of guests.”
Maintaining an establishment of these characteristics requires a great effort in the organization of resources and, in particular, energy management was one of the most important aspects that were taken into account when defining the project. “For us, energy consumption is a determining factor”, assures Jose Manuel. “You have to keep in mind that only in the spa area there are elements that operate 24 hours a day, like the swimming pools or hot baths”.
everything in the hotel works
For this reason, during construction they decided to adapt an area to house a deposit of propane gas and at the same time, in La Casona de Luis, they changed the old system for a 1,000 litre underground tank that provided greater capacity. “We estimate that the savings are 20%, a considerable amount considering that we have a lot of business in winter, which is the most critical time,” he explains.
In addition to the spa, all systems in this hotel operate “in bulk”, from the stoves where the stew is cooked to the laundry rooms that use the gas to run the calendar roller, a machine to iron large items in a few seconds. “For us, the most striking thing is that you pay only what you use since with other types of systems, in the end you do not get to consume everything”, says the manager.