When walking the Camino de Santiago most pilgrims find overnight lodgings as cheaply as possible. This usually means an albergue (hostel).
For us, we mix it up staying primarily in low-budget hotels, an occasional albergue as well as guest houses, pensions and Airbnb’s.
While walking the Camino Frances last year I looked longingly at the magnificent Parador Hotel in Leon, knowing this stately hotel was beyond our budget.
What I didn’t know is that there are 94 Paradores throughout Spain, and some are quite affordable.
“Parador’ is the name given in Spain to luxury hotels managed by a state-run company and usually located in buildings of historic importance such as fortresses, monasteries and castles; but also new buildings set in nature reserves and areas of outstanding beauty.
Paradores de Turismo de España, the public company managing these luxury hotels, was founded by King Alfonso XIII to promote tourism in Spain. The first parador, Parador de Gredos in Ávila, opened in 1928 by the King. Today there are 94 paradores from 3 to 5 stars all across Spain, many along the Camino de Santiago.
Parador comes from the Spanish ‘parar’ which means to stop, halt or stay. The concept behind parador is to open exceptional historic properties to the public, and use the hotels profits to maintain these beautiful buildings. Most of them also have excellent restaurants offering traditional
cuisine at a high standard using local and seasonal produce.
Regardless of the parador date or style, they all are refurbished to high standard offering all modern comforts, as long as they comply with protected building regulations. Prices at Spanish paradores will vary depending on the room, region and season but they are a real treat to the pilgrim!” (source www.caminoways.com)
So the other night my husband was booking rooms for us ahead a few days, and he booked the gorgeous Parador de Pontevedra as a surprise for me. And it’s only $100. Incredible!
The Parador, once the residence of the counts of Maceda, is located in the old quarter of the magnificent city of Pontevedra. The entry boasts a stately carved stone staircase leading to a beautifully furnished sitting area. The building is decorated with antiques and very valuable classic furniture. It combines regal, noble and stately styles with charming rural elements.
Our room was very comfortable and beautifully furnished with a full and modern bathroom and a lovely view of the garden in back. We did not eat dinner in the restaurant but we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast in the morning as well as drinks in the stately bar.
This Parador is not as grand as some, like the magnificent Five Star Parador de Santiago de Compostella, one of the oldest hotels in the world. But I loved it. A perfect little sanctuary as we make our way north on the Camino Portuguese.
Thanks for the special treat honey.
Read our blog about our first week on the Camino here.
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