What is a Parador?
In 1910 wheels were set in motion to develop a state-run hotel network in Spain to accommodate travellers and holidaymakers and to improve Spain’s image globally, and today this network extends to 97 Paradors, or Paradores de Turismo de Espana, across mainland Spain, 5 of the Canary Islands and 2 Spanish enclaves in North Africa.
The majority of Paradors are set in historic buildings of historical significance such as castles, palaces, convents, monasteries, fortresses and hospitals, all painstakingly restored and converted into hotels that meet and exceed the demanding requirements of travellers in the 21st century. However a sizeable number of Paradors are country house and contemporary hotels, set in tremendous landscapes inland in the mountains and on the coastlines, also with their own style and character.
In 1910 the Marques de la Vega Inclan was set the task of establishing and developing the concept by the Government under Jose Canalejas, and after 16 years, King Alfonso XIII, a keen supporter of the project, selected the first site to be converted at Gredos, a hunting lodge several hours west of Madrid in the centre of the Gredos mountain range. In 1928 ‘Paradores de Turismo’ was launched with the opening of the Parador de Gredos. Today this Parador still stands as the emblem of the Paradors concept, complemented by 96 other prestigious sites located strategically across the country in superb settings to facilitate tourism to every corner of Spain.
Today Paradors are proudly and fondly regarded by Spanish and International guests as remarkable places to stay and a true experience of Spanish hospitality and cuisine.
What can you expect when you stay in a Parador?
You can expect to be well looked after by multilingual staff who are highly trained in giving good service.
Each Parador has:
- 24-hour reception
- Restaurants or gastrobars at all properties except Hondarribia (which is surrounded by good restaurants), serving Spanish and international cuisine and wines. Some larger Paradors have an additional café open throughout the day serving snacks and drinks. Click here for information on special menus in Paradors.
- Room service, with a modest surcharge.
- Concierges to assist with onward arrangements and luggage.
- En-suite bedrooms of a good size, with national and international TV channels, telephones and safes.
- Bathrooms that include bathtubs with a shower overhead, or very occasionally just a large shower cubicle. All bathrooms are stocked with hairdryers and toiletries.
- Parking, either directly at the Parador in their garages or comfortably nearby.
- Leisure facilities such as swimming pools at a considerable number of Paradors, some with Spas and tennis courts. The Paradors at El Saler and Malaga Golf also have highly-regarded golf courses.
Useful points to note:
- Wifi: All Paradors provide wifi access. Some provide wifi throughout the hotel, whilst others provide wifi access in at least their main public areas.
- Tea and Coffee making facilities: Bedrooms do not have tea and coffee making facilities but these drinks can be ordered through room service. Kettles can be requested from reception at the Paradors Nerja and Malaga Gibralfaro (here they are provided in superior rooms).
- Parking: the vast majority of Paradors are set in grounds with ample space for parking, some of which also have secure garages. Parking is often free in Paradors in more remote locations, but there is often a charge for parking in the car parks and garages of those Paradors located in town or city centres, in line with local parking charges.
- Accessibility: Paradors are usually well marked and very noticeable, and road signs generally indicate their location well.
- Swimming pools: We suggest checking with us about the opening and closing dates of external swimming pools should the availability of the pool be of great importance to your stay. However, as a general rule Paradors open their pools during peak summer months when ambient temperatures regularly exceed 25-28 degrees. Towards the south of Spain the pools open earlier in the season and close later, but we try to display their exact dates on the description pages of each Parador.
- Language: Staff in receptions, bars and restaurants are multilingual and often speak exceptional English.
- Disabled access: The majority of Paradors are accessible by wheelchair and a good number have rooms adapted to wheelchair access with wider doorways and handholds in the bathrooms. However not all Paradors are fully accessible because of structural restrictions such as narrow corridors and stairs in medieval buildings. Click here for a list of the most easily-accessible Paradors.
- Pets: Some Paradors now permit cats and dogs, for more information click here.