Parador de Turismo in Cuenca. Photo: EFE/J. Benet
Paradores: 90 years accommodating guests in Spain’s historical buildings
Spending the night at the heart of the Alhambra… Sleeping in a castle, a palace or a monastery… Using the same bedroom as the Duke of Alba, Garcilaso de la Vega or Emperor Charles V… These are some of the experiences delivered by Paradores de Turismo de España, one of the oldest and leading chains of luxury hotels and restaurants in our country.
This year, Paradores de España is celebrating its 90th birthday. For almost a century now, it has delivered quality accommodation experiences to visitors from all over the world who want to be part of the history of Spain, staying in idyllic and iconic buildings that are part of our architectural heritage, often located in World Heritage cities.
To celebrate its 90th birthday, Paradores – recently named Marca España Honorary Ambassador in Tourism and Gastronomy – is organising a series of events to take place in 2018: open days, guided tours, unique experiences, exhibitions, special publications on architecture or gastronomy, cultural activities, and so on.
A special website, 90aniversario.parador.es, has been created containing information about all the special events, as well as stories and curious facts. It gives information about hidden treasures or rewarding experiences, unique rooms, artistic gems and the anniversary menus offered at the various restaurants.
‘This anniversary is the perfect occasion to tell both trade members and general visitors that we have been delivering great experiences for 90 years. This has made us global leaders in the hospitality industry and ambassadors of our nation brand wherever we go,’ says Ángeles Alarcó, President and CEO of Paradores.
Promoting tourism and rehabilitating landmarks
The history of Paradores is similar to evolution of the Spanish tourism industry. The network was established in the late 1920s, when the country welcomed the first international visitors and the need emerged to develop quality tourism infrastructure.
In 1928, the first Parador was opened in Sierra de Gredos, in a ceremony attended by King Alfonso XIII. It was the first node in network that expanded year after year, adding properties in beautiful natural areas or towns with a rich cultural, artistic or historical heritage.
Nowadays, the Paradores network comprises almost 100 exclusive hotels all over Spain – castles, palaces, convents or monasteries, mountain cottages, seaside forts, properties in amazing natural settings, etc.
Moreover, Paradores is an efficient, sustainable network that has succeeded in the preservation and rehabilitation of our country’s cultural and historical heritage, renovating iconic buildings and converting them to top-quality, modern hotels that are a reference in the Spanish tourism industry.
To the buildings’ beauty and uniqueness, we should add the world-class cuisine offered at Paradores, rooted in regional and national tradition – one of the strengths of our nation brand at the international level.
The figures speak for themselves: in 2017, the network as a whole reported a net profit of 17.6 million euros, 1.3 million overnight stays and 2.2 million diners.
Paradores has launched an ambitious renovation plan for the next few years, budgeted at 163 million euros through 2021. It involves the rehabilitation of some of the properties, including those in Aiguablava, Cardona, Limpias, León and Toledo, and the recent opening of a hotel in Lleida.