Did you know a reclusive, Swedish publisher has rented out Ernest Hemingway’s room at Hotel la Perla during the San Fermin fiesta until he’s a hundred years old?
That is commitment. I hope he reaches that goal.
So are many others when it comes to San Fermin. I’ve been asked time and again what the best method is for accommodation if attendance to a major festival is on your list of things to do before you die.
Just last week I met a backpacker in Paris who decided to partake in the wild times at Pamplona and he ended up paying €50 per night. That’s because he went on a last minute whim. Don’t do that.
Not with San Fermin.
Many dedicated attenders plan a year in advance, I was unlucky to prepare six months in advance.
We engaged in a partnership with Roomorama for a flat in the historic old town and with trepidation, I wondered how it might play out. San Fermin is a boisterous, intense experience, so I worried about the noise and the smells and the safety factors.
Our cute, little flat was located near Calle Santo Domingo, by the old town walls, so we had a pleasant view.
However, what does that mean in terms of real life use?
What I discovered:
- We could access the flat any time of day and didn’t have to worry about reception desks closing or disturbing other guests.
- Staying in the old town was a brilliant move. Staying outside would either be a 15 minute bus ride or a 20 minute walk. And with the variety of activities at different times of the day, being close to the action was essential.
- We always had the choice of eating out or in. One night we all just stayed in and I made pasta. We gathered around our coffee table for girl-chat and a squeal. Yes, I do squeal once in while.
- Our flat normally runs €85 a night, you can obviously see the financial benefit of sharing costs. Face it, hotels and hostels double their prices during San Fermin, so gathering a group and booking a flat just makes more sense.
- A hotel suite with a common area would have been exorbitant and difficult to find in small Pamplona. So having different rooms connected together was a nice option.
- It was a great plus to be able to walk everywhere and not be far away. Once the fiesta starts, taxis are not allowed to enter. For us, we had multiple media interviews, so not having to stress about transportation saved me a headache or two.
- Sure there was garbage, unidentifiable liquids splashed on the cobbles and stale sangria spoiling the normally fresh Pamplonian air, but I enjoyed being in the middle of it. San Fermin has a metallic, raw energy and it made sense to me to live local at that moment.
- The noise. Sometimes booming bass rudely shook me by the shoulders and invaded my beauty rest. I like booming bass when I’m standing upright and drinking heavily. Not at 3:00 a.m. when I’m horizontal.
- Since I’m mainly a solo traveler, it wasn’t the easiest to share space. Hulk mad. Jeannie brood alone.
- One word: bathroom. To share such a space between four women was contentious. I’ve talked about the unfortunate size of my bladder before. Don’t mess with my bladder, or I mess with you. Next time, I’d scope for at least two bathrooms.
- Having to clean the flat weighed on my mind. After all, I steered this project, so I felt like everything rested on my shoulders. The day I was due to leave, I woke up, started fussing in the kitchen, when Nicole Blake woke to point out it was 5:30 a.m. and maybe I should just leave it? Stop disturbing my sleep, crazy beatch.
- Hmm.. I can’t think of anymore.
Overall, I’d say short term and sharing the accommodation in Pamplona was a sound choice. A hotel was too impersonal and having the flat allowed the four of us to bond quickly and when you rely on each other in a tough situation, it’s nice to know your sister’s got your back.
I’m a firm believer in atmosphere. Where you stay and who you encounter affects your experience of a place.
So, when it comes to running with the bulls and San Fermin, find a cozy apartment and have the best time of your life. Oh, and don’t get gored.
Roomorama was our exclusive accommodation provider in Pamplona; however, all opinions are my own. If you’d like to try out Roomorama, go to their website or access the booking widget on the sidebar. You can also connect with them on their blog, Twitter or Facebook.