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Parador hotels - which one to stay in?


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Once I have completed my camino, my husband is meeting me in Santiago and we are going to hire a car and drive back along the route I would have walked, into france and fly out of Paris.

Seeing as it will be my 50th birthday at that time, we would like to stay in one of the Paradors along the route. Has anyone stayed in the one in Leon or Burgos or have you had a sneak peak whilst you were walking past? Which one looked the nicest? Which one would you choose? Because it is a celebratory treat for us I'd like to book the one that will be the most spectacular. We probably will only stay the one night.

thanks to anyone who can give me their preference or their experience with staying at one. (I don't want to stay at the one in santiago as I still will be in 'wind down mode' and will probably just want to sleep for a day or so. :)
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Hi, Jane,
Ok, I confess, I have stayed in both the paradores in Leon and Santo Domingo de la Calzada. I am not aware that there is one in Burgos. In terms of "spectacular", the one in Leon wins hands down, but along with its spectacular architecture comes a pretty impersonal atmosphere, lots and lots of rooms (many of which are in a new wing, quite comfortable and modern, but not historic) and a so-so restaurant.

The one in Santo Domingo (in fact, there are two there, but I have only stayed in the one across from the cathedral) is very nice, not spectacular, but much smaller and more "cozy."

If you have the flexibility to go off the Camino for a day or two before starting your trip back along the camino, I would suggest that you take a look at Santo Estevo, a parador in a very old monastery in a remote part of the province of Ourense. I was there this past year and it was very very nice. And the surrounding area, known as the "Canyon of the Sil River" has some georgeous scenery.

The parador website is very user friendly, with a clickable map and a good description of each one.

Happy birthday, and buen camino!

How about staying in the one beside the cathedral in Santiago. It was actually an albergue for pilgrims long, long ago.

Did you know that the first ten pilgrims (I believe) who show up after the journey are treated to a free meal at this Parador? I did and made sure that I had a free breakfast there when I finished in Nov '05. They served it for all of us pilgrims in a little room near the kitchen and, as I recall, it was a splendid affair. I suspect that we were kept separate from the paying guests as much as anything for our attire. While those who had just flown or driven there as paying guests were considerably better dressed than us who had been wearing the very same clothes for the past month or so and who had walked to get there. So, while they may have been cleaner and better dressed, without a doubt us shabbier pilgrims had more class!
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Hi Jane, I've stayed in Paradors in Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Leon and Santiago. The best by far, including best value for money, has to be San Marcos in Leon. It has so much more atmosphere than the other two. If you do stay there, go to the top level of the cloister and walk across to the 'Bibliotec". Here there is a door which opens on to a tiny balcony in the church which adjoins the hotel. It was such a surprise to find a 'secret' entrance to the church.

As far as I know there is no Parador in Burgos, but I have stayed at the Meson del Cid hotel opposite the Cathedral. This is actually two hotels, the older one has front rooms with fantastic views of the Cathedral, but no aircon; the 2nd hotel is just across the road (where you actually go for breakfast), and apparently has airconditioning etc. I love the older part, and have stayed there twice.

Hope this helps.

thanks everyone. I went on the website for the Parador and there seems to be lots listed - obviously not all a heritage or unique. Looks like I might have to stay in several :D Nice to get everyones feedback of what they thought. thanks again!
cheers, Jane
I would agree with the various comments. There is also one in Villafranca del Bierzo, but this is small and not a historic building. The second one in Sto Domingo only recently opened - a training camp by the looks of the website! And if you can wait until 2009 the one in Irache monastery should be opening then.

Keep a lookout on the website as they frequently have special offers if you can book in advance.
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I have stayed in the Paradors in Santiago, Villafranca, Leon and Santo Domingo. The Parador San Marcos in Leon is very impressive and the public areas like the Reyes Catolicos in Santiago are very impressive. In both there are a large variety of rooms and costs per room and the best will cost more. Many of the rooms in Leon are in a new block at the back though there are some in the main building, all the ones in Santiago are in the originalstructure. The food is much better in Leon than Santiago if you are going to eat at the parador.

The Villafranca one is a good comfortable hotel in a lovely town but in no way historic.

The original Parador in Santo Domingo opposite the cathedral is a lovely old building which like the ones in Santiago and Leon has links as a pilgrims "hospital" with the Camino. It is not as impressive as either of the others but has a charm of its own.

It looks like for your purpose - a spectacular one on the route home for a celebration - that the San Marcos in Leon is the one, but pay the extra for one of the historic rooms if you can.

On the Parador website there is a "Unique Rooms" section which shows what some of the best look like.

Buen Camino
I've never had the pleasure, although I've heard that the one in Santiago is good... and John, you're right about the first ten pilgrims thing... Although I believe you eat far from the sight of paying guests!
I treated myself to a few days at the one in Santiago after my pilgrimage - it was ok though a bit behind the times (in theory had internet access but in practice sent off to internet cafe) - made the most of the breakfast buffet with lovely self-made toast

Don't worry about how you look - I hadn't shaved for three weeks and came in wearing my walking clothes without a reservation - then my credit card did the rest
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Hallo All

I was at the Los Reyes Catolicos for a couple of days in October after the camino. We wanted to treat ourselves for some time after our first camino. It was very welcoming. good ambience, breakfast was great. IMHO the room was not so as we expected, the bed was a bit hard and uncomfortable.

I think the belhops are used to seeing peregrinos walk into their hotel. The one advantage it has, is its on the praza and in front of the cathedral.

Next time in 2008,I go to another hotel atleast for a better bed.

Kind Regards

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