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#165 - 07/20/00 04:27 PM paradores
rgf Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 07/20/00
Posts: 666
Loc: New York, New York
Just got back from a two week tour of paradores, using a special promotion called SEMANA DE ENSUENO. Each night cost only 8.500 pesetas (a little over $50 plus taxes). Anyone interested in the paradores should go to the website, parador.es. Look for the great deals: 5 night cards, age 60+ discount, youth discount... you can really do well at these amazing places as long as you don't need to travel during the absolute high season (aug-sept). My favorites, all within a few hours drive/train from Madrid: Cuenca, Almagro, Guadalupe and Merida. The parador in Chinchon is lovely but the town itself is pretty empty. Also: these paradores all had great pools and gardens!

As for Madrid, stayed in a great apartment with living room, huge bedroom etc. for 20 thousand a night, three people, in Arguelles. Apartamentos Rosales. Pricey but VERY worth it if traveling with a kid.

saludos y que lo paseis bien todos en Madrid!

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#166 - 07/20/00 08:15 PM Re: paradores
Lola Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/17/00
Posts: 2
Loc: Nashville, TN USA
I agree, Paradors are the way to go. Try to stay in the smaller, older ones. In my opinion, they are better, and more like the region they are in. The food is great, and the people are great, as been my experience. I have stayed in 5 different Paradors in different regions. What a way to go!!!!

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#167 - 08/13/00 09:12 PM Re: paradores
nagardner Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/13/00
Posts: 1
Loc: Washington, DC, US
What are paradores?

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#168 - 08/13/00 09:35 PM Re: paradores
MadridMan Offline


Executive Member

Registered: 05/06/00
Posts: 9080
Loc: Madrid, Spain (was Columbus, O...
Paradors are Spanish governement owned and operated lodgings, sometimes simple hotels, but most often they are very old convents, castles, cathedrals, or other fortified structures that have been turned into unusual and historical places to spend a night or two.

I own a book called "Historical Paradors: A Journey Through Spanish Hotels" and you can find this, as well as my own description, in the NON-FICTION section of MadridMan's ALL Spain Market . It's a beautiful book (<--<< click for image) with lots of beautiful, glossy photos of Spain's most interesting paradors.

Saludos, MadridMan

[This message has been edited by MadridMan (edited 08-16-2000).]
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#169 - 08/17/00 07:20 PM Re: paradores
MadridMan Offline


Executive Member

Registered: 05/06/00
Posts: 9080
Loc: Madrid, Spain (was Columbus, O...
In 1999, famed British free-lance photographer Michelle Chaplow took me to the Parador de Málaga-Gibralfaro for lunch upon my arriving from Madrid for a visit. The parador next to the Gibralfaro Castle and is high atop the city of Málaga. We sat outside on the patio and had sandwiches and coffee (Michelle, being British, had tea) with an INCREDIBLE view of the city, the crescent moon shaped beach/coast, and we could see right down into the Málaga bullring. It was a wonderful experience.

Saludos, MadridMan
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#170 - 08/20/00 12:07 PM Re: paradores
MadridMan Offline


Executive Member

Registered: 05/06/00
Posts: 9080
Loc: Madrid, Spain (was Columbus, O...
In 1995, my ladyfriend took me to Sigüenza (<--see live cam of town), a small, picturesque town about 2-hours from Madrid (depending on how many stops you make along the way - almost the midpoint between Madrid and Zaragoza).

Upon nearing the town that afternoon, all we could see was a large, medieval castle, the Parador de Sigüenza , which sits atop a hill overlooking the town. We pulled in, parked out front, walked through the thick-stone-walled 16th century castle-turned-parador (my first at that time!) and out to the patio ( SEE parador-patio semi-\"LIVE\" CAM here! ) where we sat at one of the many umbrella covered tables. It was a cool, spring day, but the sun helped warm us. Apparently, all (or most) of the paradors quarters (rooms) faced this patio.

We were among the few on the patio so we had the camarero's near-full attetion. We only ordered tapas of olives, almonds, and jamon (of course!) along with a vermuth. This was such a nice beginning to walking around the old city of Sigüenza. Ahhh... Just the word "Sigüenza" (with castillian accent) rolls off my tongue with soft pleasure.

Saludos, MadridMan

[ 01-06-2002: Message edited by: MadridMan ]
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#171 - 08/20/00 07:53 PM Re: paradores
uphilldeb Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/22/00
Posts: 16
Loc: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Hi Madrid Man!
We're getting excited about the trip at the end of September. After our time in Madrid, we will go to Barcelona for a couple of days.

We decided that we will splurge while in Barcelona for one night and stay at a Paradore. The two Paradores that we found near Barcelona are the "Parador De Vic-Sau" about 75 Km from Barcelona, and the "Parador De Cardona" about 85 Km from Barcelona.

I was wondering if any of your readers is familiar with either of these places. I haven't made reservations yet, but will need to soon.

Thanks for your help,
Deb

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#172 - 01/06/02 09:01 AM Re: paradores
MadridMan Offline


Executive Member

Registered: 05/06/00
Posts: 9080
Loc: Madrid, Spain (was Columbus, O...
Parador de Tordesillas***

As her Christmas gift to me, my ladyfriend gave me/us 2 nights stay in this wonderful parador ( Brochure Photo ), located in the province of Valladolid (read their "How To Get There" description HERE ) just outside of the charismatic little village of Tordesillas which lies along the Duero River.

We were there the nights of December 26 & 27. The cost, as I found out, was about $55/night! (about 110€ total) WOW! I was SHOCKED they could be SO cheap. I think it was a mid-week special of some kind.

The arrangements were made through a Halcon travel agency in her Madrid neighborhood. She had hoped to get a reservation at the Parador de Sigüenza but this one, and nearly all others close to Madrid, were already FULL.

Now. ON WITH THE REVIEW!

Located almost 1-mile outside of the town of Tordesillas, the Parador de Tordesillas is in the traditional hacienda style. To be honest, I can't seem to find anything on their website NOR in the brochure I took from the room, but it appears to be about 100 years old, wood and stucko/adobe structure with high ceilings, 3 levels (we had a third level overlooking the swimming pool), 2 elevators, beautiful-long halls, all rooms appear to have, as ours did, a foyer with HUGE closet furniture and closing door to the sleeping/living room, a beautifully big bathroom with double sinks, ALL VERY MODERN, BIG thick wooden doors, and the window in the bedroom ( PHOTO ) was about 5-foot tall, STARTING at about waist height and almost reaching the ceiling. Each room has modern climate control dial on the wall, color TV with remote control, two arm chairs and small coffee table, and desk. Our room had two slightly-larger-than twin beds (but smaller than a double bed) which is typical in Spain unless you ask for a cama matrimonia (which we didn't rolleyes mad ), but we "made do". wink

The windows of these rooms were really beautiful. As I said above, they were SO tall, and, since the walls are so thick, they had not only double-opening panes, but also thick, internal wooden shutters AND THICK/DARK curtains! So, when we woke late after our first night and it was 10am we couldn't have known if it was 3:00 in the morning!!! The room was totally BLACK! Oh, and the beds were comfortable too.

While we didn't use it, off the lobby is a HUGE sitting room ( PHOTO ) with all leather couches, armchairs, tables, long wooden ceiling vigas, a BIG fireplace, and one wall was nothing but windows looking out over the grounds of Piños (trees of Piñon nuts).

There was another large room, a kind of café with big armchairs, a few couches, a large chandelier in the center, also with lots of windows, where one could have a coffee and a snack -- very posh.

Finally, the dining room ( PHOTO1 ).... On our second/last night at the Parador, we treated ourself to dinner at the parador -- my first time! It is a beautifully BIG room with MANY dining tables ( Brochure Photo ), all nicely decorated and looking very UPscale with the "squared", wooden viga ceiling, more windows, paintings on the wall - including a WALL SIZED mural of Columbus' discorery of the Americas. I thought the food was good and my ladyfriend agreed -- really nothing special as far as quality of food goes, but the presentation was nice - I had the Tostón (chochinillo/suckling pig) and my ladyfriend the Confit de Pato (sweet duck(?)) and the desert, the Manjar de la Vega (a specialty of the region), was WOW! Just beautiful! It was so delicious and oh sooooo gooood - The dinner was more expensive that one night's stay! eek hehehe.. ( See the bill here! )! :p

Parking was a little tricky though, with few spaces at the front and a darkened side lot which seemed to only be staff parking.

It was my first and ONLY stay at a Parador and it was certainly a positive experience. It would have been nice if the parador was INSIDE the village of Tordesillas itself, but the drive from one to the other wasn't long and gave a GREAT view of the town and cathedrals while crossing the bridge over the Rio Duero. Imagine the scene as we first encountered it ( PHOTO ) ..... approaching the bridge after driving through many little towns of Castilla y León in the afternoon.... the sun is low, casting a GOLDEN glow across the tan stones of the town of Tordesillas. It was SUCH a beautiful site.

Saludos, MadridMan

And now, the parador's official description:
This ancestral home rises up in the historical Castilian town of Tordesillas, an important crossroads since Roman times, in a place where the greenness and nature offer the guest the best of the landscape. A beautiful pine grove, with a spacious, well cared-for garden, surrounds the Parador offering the tranquillity, calm and placidity of natural spaces. The Castilian style dominates in the external lines and in the interior, where some of the rooms contain valuable antiques. The tranquillity which reigns throughout the building and in its spectacular blue swimming pool are an invitation to rest and to peaceful walks. Among its culinary specialities can be highlighted grilled peppers and "cecina de vaca" (dried beef), "gallo de corral turresilano" (farmyard cock), "bacalao a la fonda" (cod) with crayfish and "el manjar de la Vega" (fromage frais dessert).

[ 01-06-2002: Message edited by: MadridMan ]
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#173 - 01/09/02 11:34 AM Re: paradores
Cornelio Offline
Member

Registered: 10/28/01
Posts: 104
Loc: Dublin, CA
I was just in Andalusia area from Dec 28th thru Jan 4th, where I stayed at 3 paradors. All were great but I put them in the order I liked them.

1) Parador Gibralfaro in Malaga. Awesome parador though a bit pricey at about 120 Euros per night. Right beside the Gibralfaro castle and on the hill which is one of the highest point in Malaga and all rooms have a great view of the Malaga beaches, the lighthouse, the bull ring, etc. The rooms were very well appointed and the "sala de comedor" also had a fantastic view. This is one parador I would definitely want to visit again. Definitely one of the best hotels I have stayed in, period.

2) Parador Castillo Santa Catalina in Jaen. This is actually a castle on a hill and had a tremendous view of the surrounding area. The room actually had stone block walls. Though not much in Jaen except for this castle and the cathedral. This is "olive country" and as you drive on the carreteria you will see miles and miles of olive trees. They say they produce more olives and olive oil than any other area in the world. I just spent 1 night in this parador and it was more than enough.

3) Parador Muralla in Ceuta. Ceuta is actually a Spanish city in Northern Africa adjacent to Morocco. This parador was nothing special as it just seemed to be a regular hotel that the government took over. I probably would have stayed at the Melia hotel in Ceuta if I had to do it over again. Anyway, it was a great base for a day trip to Tangiers and Tetouan in Morocco. Ceuta is just a 40-min ferry ride from Algeciras, Spain.

[ 01-09-2002: Message edited by: MadridMan ]

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#174 - 01/09/02 05:55 PM Re: paradores
Booklady Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 08/19/01
Posts: 1664
Loc: U.S.A.
rgf,
I learned via your favorite Bancotel, that you may also book rooms at all the paradores with them. But, you have to phone them to book. The wonderful and perhaps most memorable the Hostal de Los Reyes Catolicos at Santiago de Compostela, was three bancotel coupons. I tried to book but they were sold our for Christmas. The staff did show me a typical room and it was very impressive. The dining room had a vaulted ceiling. It was once the place where the monks housed the sick pilgrims. Exciting!

Anyway, thank you for letting me know about bancotel.
Booklady
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The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
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