When it comes to accommodation, paradores are in a class of their own and undoubtedly among the best hotels in Spain. Converted from castles, monasteries and other Spanish monuments, they can be really special places to stay, sited in the most beautiful parts of the country or in some of the most historic cities. Prices compare favourably with the five-star hotels with which they compete – typically €150–180 per night for a double room. Here are seven of the best hotels in Spain.
Apparently the oldest hotel in the world, the Hostal dos Reis Católicos is impressively set in a fifteenth-century hospital at the end of the Camino de Santiago in A Coruña province. Its 136 irresistibly luxurious rooms are arranged around four separate tranquil courtyards, and there are also two restaurants and a plush bar. It’s worth every penny, especially if you get a pilgrims’ or multi-day discount.
This majestic former imperial palace is set in the verdant Vera valley in Extremadura. Castillo de la Suda has a splendid palm-fringed courtyard, period furnishings and a very good restaurant serving Extremeño cuisine. What's more, there's an open-air pool in summer.
Occupying a grand fifteenth-century palace in the middle of a quiet town, Zamora’s Parador is gentility defined. It mixes lovely rooms with princely trappings throughout, from the heroic medallions surmounting the internal courtyard to the idly positioned suits of armour. An elevated garden terrace and open-air summer pool have city views, while a fine restaurant serves updated cuisine from the Duero region.
Occupying a stunning, crag-bound thirteenth-century Moorish fortress, Parador Castillo de Santa Catalina is one of the most spectacular locations in Spain. In the city of Jaén in northern Andalucia, its imposing ruins can be seen from miles around. The comfortable rooms have fine balcony views with a sheer drop to the valley below; facilities include a pool, restaurant, bar and ample parking.
The Parador de Lerma is a remarkable ducal palace facing a broad plaza of elegant beauty. A stunning central courtyard sets the tone, around which are the public areas and restaurant. Rooms are palatial and look out over the burned countryside far below. Located just south of Burgos, Lerma makes a great stop on the route from Bilbao to Madrid.
Ducal palace at Lerma in Lerma © Iakov Filimonov/Shutterstock
There are just fourteen rooms in this atmospheric Parador de Lerma perched on the rocky promontory above the Río Júcar in Cuenca province. The restored interior combines modern and classic designs, and the restaurant serves local specialities including lamb stew and the sweet almond sauces for which the Alarcón and Alaju regions are famous.
Tortosa’s highest point, the splendid Parador de Lerma, looms majestically over the lush Ebre valley south of Tarragona. For a splurge, it’s well worth opting for this historic hotel, where you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into the medieval era. Undoubtedly one of the best hotels in Spain, it also has one of the better restaurants in town, open to non-guests and specialising in fish from the Ebro delta.
Top image: Exterior of Parador Jarandilla de la Vera, Spain © Oscar Garriga Estrada/Shutterstock