Paradors are the state-run hotels that can be found throughout Spain; to visit Spain and overlook a stay at a parador is to miss out on a major portion of the country's lore and historical heritage.
Many are lovingly restored medieval castles, Arab fortresses, palaces, monasteries, and convents, while the remainder were built with an architectural style that complements the locale. Paradors are found throughout mainland Spain and on the Canary Islands. And they're hardly a new thing: the Parador de Gredos near Avila was inaugurated in 1928 (by King Alfonso XIII).
Regardless of the parador's age or style, all are outfitted with modern amenities, although not all accommodate high-tech travelers (ask about wireless before reserving) or those with special needs.
There are issues in historical paradors where it's not feasible to destroy an old staircase to install an elevator. And except for original and often exquisite furnishings, amenities are supplied by a central parador outlet. The conformity is easy to overlook especially when you know the bath towel will wrap around twice wherever you stay. An interesting parador factoid is the manufacture of its soap, which requires its own factory.
Topped off with traditional cuisine, local and national wines and special gastronomic events served in elegant dining rooms, it's no wonder that half of the network’s profit is derived from the restaurants. A parador culinary school in Leon trains the majority of chefs where many ancient and local recipes are modernized for today’s table, not to mention producing experts such as the fish chef and the chocolate chef. And menus can cater to diabetics, vegetarians, gluten-intolerant guests and include children’s favorites.
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Parador de Siguenza is former castle perched on a hill that was once fortified by the Moors in 712 and was the residence of bishops and cardinals until the end of the last century.
The region of Guadalajara is a short drive from Madrid.
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Parador de Santiago de Compostela is believed to be the oldest hotel in the world and faces a wide square. It was a former refuge and final point for the pilgrims who completed their arduous trek to the birth of St. James.
Read more about Santiago de Compostela.
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This a 15th-century convent that has fountains, large windows and a Moorish ambiance accented with gardens.
Read more about Granada.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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