With these comments we hope to provide relevant information about each Parador and also receive and publish comments from clients who have stayed in some of these special places.
The Paradores of Spain
It was in the year 1910 that the government entrusted Marques de la Vega Inclan with the project of creating a hotel network, practically non-existent in the country at the time, which would provide accommodation for tourists and improve Spain’s international image.
In 1926, continuing this Project and from the office of the Royal Tourism Commission created in 1911, De la Vega Inclan ordered the construction of a hotel in the Gredos Mountains which would open up the wonders of this landscape to tourism.
The idea excited King Alfonso XIII, who chose the location personally. Work began in August of the same year and was completed on the 9th of October 1928 with its inauguration by the King himself. The Parador de Gredos was to become the first establishment of the subsequent network of Paradores de Espana.
With this first establishment inaugurated, efforts were focussed on perfecting the original idea and making use of particular historical and artistic monuments and areas of great natural beauty to establish new Paradores.
In the favourable climate of the twenties the first administration and the imminent Latin American Exposition reinforced the project and inspired the construction of new Paradores, now in monumental buildings, such as those inaugurated in Oropesa (1930), Ubeda (1930), Ciudad Rodrigo (1931) and Merida (1933), among others. At the same time the first lodging houses that were being integrated into the network would also open to the public, such as Manzanares (1932), Bailen (1933) and Benicarlo (1935).
The Civil War, naturally, meant not just stagnation but a slump for tourism. Some of the infrastructure comprising the network was damaged or used as hospitals, but once the conflict was over, the idea was consolidated and a new energy was produced with the restoration and reopening of the existing Paradores.
During the period following the war Paradores were created with diverse purposes, among them the publicising of the most important scenes of the conflict, as in the case of the Parador de Andujar, as well as others whose objective was to promote the country’s tourist attractions. The conversion of the San Francisco de Granada Convent, located in the heart of the site of the Alhambra, one of today’s most attractive Paradores, took place during these years (1945). The same occurred in other tourism settings, such as Santillana del Mar (1946), Malaga, with the Parador de Gibralfaro (1948), and Pontevedra (1955).
Nevertheless, the greatest expansion was produced during the decade of the sixties, coinciding with the significant tourism development that the country experienced.
During the eighties a number of hotels from the public chain Entursa became part of the Paradores network. Among them, establishments as emblematic as the Hostal de Reyes Catolicos (Santiago), the Hostal de San Marcos (León) and the Hotel La Muralla (Ceuta). Both Santiago and Leon have maintained their five stars deluxe category throughout the years. At the same time Salamanca (1981), El Hierro (1981), Chinchon (1982), Trujillo (1984) and Caceres (1989) were opened.
During the last decade the Paradores have combined tradition with innovation and developed new strategic policies: a clear commitment to environmentally-friendly policies, a strong investment in the renovation of the network, the development of R&D initiatives, the implementation of new technologies and the promotion of quality as the main premise of the hotel service offered by the chain.
The thirty hotel beds with which Paradores de Turismo started with the inauguration of the first establishment of the network in the Gredos Mountains in 1928 have reached over 10,000 and the number of establishments has reached a total of 93.
Many of these are located in historic buildings such as convents, monasteries, castles and palaces. The rest, often located in monumental settings or in the very heart of nature, exhibit a regional or modern architecture.
Currently more than 4,300 professionals work for Paradores and the establishments have an average of 63 rooms—sizes which allow for a more personalised approach with a higher degree of quality in the services offered to guests.
With establishments in all of Spain’s autonomous communities (with the exception of the Balearic Islands) Paradores de Turismo is the leading hotel chain in cultural and nature tourism. As such, in addition to having establishments in nine cities declared World Heritage Sites, more than half of the Paradores in the network are found in monumental settings and many others allow people to lodge in national parks and the most interesting natural areas of the country.
Below is a slideshow with some pictures of the The Paradores of Spain