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Archive for July, 2018

Dream Accommodations

What could you feel more luxurious than staying in an old castle or palace during your vacation? Spain’s Parador hotels and Portugal’s Pousadas give you the most exclusive holiday you deserve.

For those of you who are not so much into architecture and are more interested in Spain’s tasty gastronomy and wines, there are huge wineries with wonderful hotels available as well.
Keep reading for more information about these dream accommodations.

Parador and Pousada are both hostelry establishments that are known as a chain of luxury hotels. The concept of their exclusive, unique appearance is simple. Almost all Parador and Pousada hotels are located in historic buildings that used to be some palace, fortress, monastery or castle and give their guests a magical experience. That’s why they are so popular and sometimes even are a tourist attraction.

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Pousada de Portugal was founded in the early 1940s with the mission to create “hotels that look nothing like hotels”. The hotels usually don’t have a high number of rooms but offer first class service and focus a lot on exquisite, local gastronomy.
The Spanish equivalent Parador was born in 1910 and basically supports the same idea. Founded by Alfonso XIII, his idea was to promote tourism in Spain and therefore he opened the first Parador luxury hotel in 1928 in Gredos, Avila.
What started so little became a whole industry on the Iberian Peninsula and it strongly defines and influences luxury tourism there. Here are some examples of the best luxury accommodations in the country:

Parador de Carmona (Andalusia)
The Parador de Carmona is a proposal of beauty, tranquillity, exquisite cuisine, and beautiful scenery. The building stands on the ruins of an impressive Arab fortress of the 14th century that crowns the village and offers a fabulous swimming pool, terraces overlooking the countryside and a charming inner courtyard surrounded by peaceful living rooms. The restaurant, is one of the most spectacular of all Paradores. It offers beautiful views of the bright Andalusian skyline, as well as traditional food.

Parador de Ronda (Andalusia)
In the center of the city, in a privileged place, next to the emblematic new bridge of Ronda, you will find the Parador, located in the old town hall. It is located in an impressive building, with unique views over the Tagus, a 120-meter deep gorge. And it also impresses inside. The spacious, bright rooms will make you feel like royalty and the big gardens, the swimming pool and the marvel terraces make it an even more exclusive ambience.

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on the left the Parador de Carmona and right the Parador de Ronda

Parador de Cangas de Onís (Asturias)
On the banks of the River Sella, surrounded by the spectacular Picos de Europa mountains the Parador de Cangas de Onís awaits. The hotel used to be the Monastery of San Pedro de Villanueva, an ancient building, with spectacular stone and wood rooms, decorated in an elegant, warm and traditional way. The lounges and the garden next to the river are the ideal environment for unforgettable moments and the first class cuisine make guests enjoy this idyllic place to the fullest.

Parador de Cardona (Catalonia)
This Hotel is a wonderful medieval castle on top of a hill, overlooking the charming town of Cardona, Catalonia. It is a fortified enclosure of the ninth century where you can also visit the Minyona Tower and a beautiful church, both from the 11th century. Additionally, the panoramic view of the town, the landscape and the Cardener River is just breathtaking. This Parador is located in a very privileged area that offers a one-of-a-kind experience.

Parador de Santiago de Compostela (Galicia)
One of the most luxurious and magical of all Paradores is located in the pilgrims’ town of Santiago de Compostela. It is the only one of the chain’s hotels that holds 5 stars and therefore is unbeatable in terms of service and luxury. It’s  a mixture of history, art and tradition and can be found in the Plaza do Obradoiro, forming an angle of spectacular beauty in one of the most important cities in Spain.

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the parador in Cardona on the left and the one in Santiago on the right

Pousada do Porto, Palacio do Freixo (Porto)
The majestic architecture of this Pousada will blow your mind. The 18th-century Baroque palace is located near the city of Porto in the north of Portugal, on the banks of the charming Douro River. This hotel offers an irresistible combination of modern rooms and an authentic cultural experience with incredible cuisine and service.

Pousada Convento de Évora
The Pousada Convento de Évora or Pousada dos Lóios is located in the world heritage city of Evora. The building retains traces of its original architecture, such as the cloisters of the inner courtyard, a haven of peace and tranquility where you visitors will find an outdoor pool. Furthermore, all rooms are different and have their own characteristics.

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left the Palacio do Freixo in Porto and right the Pousada Convento de Evora

There are several other options to enjoy first class accommodation in Spain without staying in a Parador hotel. The region of La Rioja and especially the small town of Haro are famous for their excellent red wines. The charming area invites with large vineyards placed in the idyllic landscape and many wineries that offer tastings and tours through their institution. Many of them include accommodation and restaurants as well. Two of the most luxurious wineries are listed below.

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Hotel los Agustinos
The Hotel Los Agustinos, founded in 1373 as a convent, is a landmark building in the town of Haro. The building exudes history, whilst offering comfortable, well-appointed facilities, making guests feel exceptionally privileged to stay there. With its decorations that combine classicism and modernity, it makes the perfect accommodation for guests with high standards and demands.

Bodega de Marques de Riscal
Also called the city of wine, the Marques de Riscal winery is one of the oldest and most prestigious ones in the region of La Rioja. It hosts two hotels, a special wine spa, as well as two exclusive restaurants and a conference centre. It impresses with some of the best wines s of the country as well as with its futuristic architecture and first class hospitality.

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the famous “city of wine”

If this post inspired you and gave you some ideas for your next holiday in Spain and Portugal, come back for the next one to learn even more about the Iberian peninsula and its rich culture.

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