So successful is La Santa Maria in the centre of smart Sitges, that it expanded to having two restaurants - both on the seafront - and almost doubled the number of bedrooms. It is still refreshingly unpretentious and invariably packed, with all kinds of customers enjoying local seafood and wines. From inside the atmospheric restaurants, glimpses can be caught of the kitchens. Giant wooden fans in the ceiling waft in the smells. Señora Uti - amazingly fluent in English, Spanish, French and German - reserves special treatment for her hotel guests, and is generally to be found behind the bar. 

The hotel itself is modern, behind an older five-story moulded plaster frontage, the chief advantage being that inside it is clean and bright rather than notably well equipped. In the bedrooms you will find pleasant wooden furniture, firm beds, good views and pleasant bathrooms. Here there is no hint of the restaurant bustle. In addition, a small TV room with leather armchairs, dotted with antiques, ceramics and magazines, provides a quiet backwater.