13.10.11

The "Paradores" of Spain - Mazagón

Today, I begin a series of articles on the different "Paradores" I have visited. The "Paradores" are, normally, high end - a majority are assigned 4-stars - hotels. What makes them different is that they are housed in historical buildings, like medieval castles, monasteries, convents, palaces, etc., which have been restored to very high standards, maintaining a lot of the original features. The Paradores were established in 1928 and are state-owned. Today, there are around 90 paradores, scattered around Spain. Complete information at Paradores Nacionales

Prices vary, depending on the parador and the season. Its always advisable to be aware of special offers, and if you are going to be a regular visitor, become a friend of the paradores. There are also, different routes you can take, staying at different paradores along the way. One of the highlights of the paradores is the food. Each parador promotes the local cuisine and the quality and service are usually very good. Be advised that the portions tend to be large.
One snag you may encounter in some of the paradores is the fact that they are often used to celebrate company events and celebrations. If you are too near to the banqueting rooms, you may find yourselves being awaken in the middle of the night.It happened to me once and when I complained they changed us to a superior (and quiet room).

I am going to start with a parador which is not set in an historic building. It is a modern construction, but is situated above a very nice beach and close to the natural park of Doñana. It is the parador at Mazagón, in the province of Huelva in Andalusia. The parador is comfortable and its main attraction is the beach. However, be aware that whilst going down to the beach is fine, coming back up to the parador may pose a slight problem if you are not fit, as you will see from the photograph. On the other hand, you may look upon it as an opportunity to become very fit indeed, or at the very least to work up an appetite.




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