Are Spanish Paradors worth it?

Paradors put stickers everywhere!

Spain’s state-owned Parador hotel chain is supposed to offer a selection of the finest hotels the country has to offer, often in beautifully restored historic buildings. There is usually a restaurant of varying quality within, and rooms tend to be spacious and clean (especially the bathrooms, where hygiene labels are slapped on everything – see above!)

But Paradors are increasing in price, and are not the bargain they used to be. Typical summer rates hover around the 130 Euros mark, and the big guns like Granada and Santiago de Compostella can charge over 300 for a room. Yes, you can sign up for the “under 30” or “5 night card” special deals, but only if you can work out the mind-boggling chart that supposedly explains when to make the most of these. So the question remains, are Paradores worth it?

Well, what makes a Parador worth paying for? It’s either the location or the building, and preferably both. Staying in an old castle, for example, is cool, especially when it has exceptional views over endless dry plains. With this in mind, below are two lists, including all the Paradors we have stayed in, explaining why we think these Paradors are either worth the cash, or worth avoiding. Hopefully you can help expand to the lists in the comments.

Paradors worth the money

  • Malaga Gibralfaro – Stunning location, amazing views of city and sea, great pool
  • Jarandilla de la Vera – Beautiful old castle in a quiet town
  • Carmona – Stunning views of the Andaluz plains, peaceful Andaluz town
  • Santiago de Compostella – … if you can afford one of the good rooms…
  • Gredos – Lost in the sierra north-west of Madrid, real escapism – not for all tastes!
  • Trujillo – Peace and quiet in an old convent in a pleasant Extramaduran town

Paradors worth skipping

  • Cadiz – Overpriced modern monstrosity
  • Argómaniz – Boredom in the Basque country
  • Siguenza – Lovely old castle, nearly makes the mark, but the town is a little dull
  • Arcos de la Frontera – Again, so nearly makes it, with amazing views and a picture-perfect white washed town, but finding a cockroach crawling over my bed at 4 a.m. tips this one off this list

To locate all of these check out the Parador list and map at the Parador website. Can you help to expand on these lists from your own experiences?