What is a Parador?
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.
Read about the Top 10 Paradors in Spain.
How much does it cost to stay at a Parador in Spain?
When judged against comparable lodgings, the rates and programs are quite reasonable. In 2008, expect a range from 97€ to 159€ per standard room or more for exceptional lodgings.
What kinds of buildings do they turn into paradors?
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).
What sort of facilities can I expect at a parador in Spain?
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. A section of the paradors' Web site regarding accessibility by degree of ease is planned for early 2008.
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.