Choosing the top 5 Paradores located in Spain’s World Heritage Cities was not a small task. I could have selected more but wanted to keep it at five by design for this article.
I established a few selection criteria:
– A compelling anecdote around the building’s history
– A robust gastronomy offering, paired with a few more features such as a view, outdoor dining, and exclusive food choices from the Parador region of Spain
– A larger amount of meeting spaces for groups of all sizes
– Access to a spa or wellness center on property preferred
– A wide variety of activities for incentive groups
Paradores are luxury hotels usually located in converted historic buildings such as monasteries, castles, or palaces. These five Paradores are located in some of the most historical cities in Spain and are located in amazing historical buildings. They offer modernistic facilities that fully mix with their scenic settings. The quality of their cuisine and the variety of services are an assurance of top quality and comfort.
1- Parador de Alcalá de Henares
Alcalá de Henares is the birthplace of Cervantes. The Parador stands in a 17th-century monastery school and student lodgings located in the former San Jerónimo College. History can be intimidating, but do not let that stop you. The hotel offers the perfect combination of modern design and elegant decor. Several dining options that combine classic Castilian cooking with creative and avant-garde cuisine are available for your delight. Groups will have a plethora of spaces to hold their meetings. The hotel features 15 meeting spaces that can hold up to 450 people. One of the trademarks of this hotel is the spa. It is one of the most spectacular areas in the Parador. It is located beneath the vaulted church ceilings of the convent—the perfect place for a journey of relaxation and well-being. Outdoor activities offered range from bicycling, golfing, hiking to cultural tours of this World Heritage City.
2- Parador de Córdoba
Córdoba, the legendary city of the caliphs, is a treasure chest of fascinating beauty. The Parador stands atop the ruins of the summer palace of Abda-Rahman I. The hotel, surrounded by the garden of “The Orange Trees,” offers breathtaking views of the city and the swimming pool. Discover the exquisite flavor of Córdoba-style salmorejo (cold tomato purée) and gazpacho blanc as well as traditional Andalusian stews in the Parador Restaurant. The terrace restaurant on warm nights contributes to the enjoyment of this spectacular city. Meet in one of 10 spaces available for groups of up to 600 people. Take a tour of the old quarter with its lovely courtyards decorated with flowers. Visit the mosque, the third-largest in the world, go horseback riding, birdwatching, canoeing, hiking, or relax around the pool.
3- Parador de Santiago de Compostela
The Parador de Santiago is known as the Hostal dos Reis Católicos and is one of the most luxurious and beautiful hotels in the Paradores chain. The Parador near the cathedral was built as a royal hospital in 1499 to accommodate pilgrims traveling to Santiago. It is considered the oldest hotel in the world. You will find two restaurants in the hotel. The Restaurante dos Reid is housed in the old stables of the Royal Hospital, featuring vaulted stone ceilings. The gastronomy in both restaurants is inspired by traditional Galician cuisine. You will not want to miss the Parador’s breakfast, almost as symbolic as the hotel itself. The Parador de Santiago de Compostela offers 12 meeting spaces for groups as large as 550 people. Due to its proximity to the ocean, this Parador offers unique activities, such as hang-gliding, diving, sailing classes, rock climbing, paragliding, river fishing, and city cultural tours. You also may want to check room 329, known as the Cardinal Suite. This room is seen as the finest bedroom in the building.
4- Parador de Segovia
The Segovia Parador was recently built on a hill overlooking Segovia and is located in one of Spain’s most historic cities. Every hotel guest room, dining room, and outdoor swimming pool has a stunning view of the city, the snow-clad mountains, and the plains beyond. This panorama is enhanced by soaring eagles, vultures, and storks. The restaurant offers regional dishes featuring traditional roast meats such as suckling pig and lamb. Enjoy classic dishes made of the finest ingredients while admiring the Alcázar and cathedral in the distance. The Parador boasts 15 meeting spaces for groups of up to 400 people. The wellness area has a gym, sauna, and heated pool seated in a splendid backdrop. You will be able to take a hot-air balloon ride, go horseback riding, hiking, gliding, golfing, or take cultural tours of the city.
5- Parador de Úbeda
You will find this Parador in the old quarter of the city of Úbeda housed in a 16th-century palace. Some guest rooms of this charming historic Renaissance-style palace offer a spectacular view of the square and El Salvador Chapel. The cozy restaurant offers delicious regional recipes such as stewed lamb and other unique culinary offerings. The traditional interior courtyard lined with tropical plants and flowers and the sound of water flowing in the fountain offers a peaceful ambiance for a remarkable dining experience. This Parador is ideal for a smaller group looking for an intimate environment. Three meeting spaces can hold up to 132 people. The essence of Úbeda lies in its magnificent Renaissance buildings and monuments, in its palaces, monastery, convents, and elegant homes. Take a guided tour of the city or explore Úbeda by bike. Discover how the olive oil is made by visiting one of the first olive-oil mills or participating in multiple festivals held during the year.
Other Paradores located in Spain World Heritage cities did not make the list but are just as spectacular as the five I chose. Check the Paradores in the cities of Ávila, Cáceres, Cuenca, Mérida, Salamanca, and Toledo. They are all magnificent establishments designed for rest, relaxation, and enjoying meaningful experiences.
For further information contact the Tourism of Spain at .
For further information on the Paradores of Spain…www.parador.es
*Photos courtesy of Turespana