Accommodation with a legendary past
One of the best moments of any trip is taking time to plan the destinations, what to see, and of course, where to sleep. If you are looking for a hotel for your holiday in Spain and are dreaming of staying in a special place, we have a series of historic hotels that will definitely meet your expectations, although the list could be much longer. You will find castles and palaces, many of which are more than 100 years old, with an interesting past where significant figures including royal members, Hemingway and Chaplin have all stayed. These are not simply hotels, but places where you need to spend at least one night of your life.
Completing part of St. James’ Way and ending up in Santiago de Compostela is a great plan for a trip to Spain. But this plan is truly complete if you stay in the Parador (Hostal dos Reis Católicos) once you arrive in the city. It is not only one of the most luxurious and beautiful hotels of the entire Paradores group in Spain, but its location is also unbeatable: in the centre of Plaza do Obradoiro, right next to the stunning cathedral. Walking around the beautiful cloister or trying Galician style dishes in the dining room, you will enjoy being reminded of this hotel’s history. It was opened in 1499 as shelter for pilgrims, meaning that today it is considered one of the oldest hotels in the world.
Hotel María Cristina
The beautiful city of San Sebastian, with its exquisite pinchos and famous La Concha beach, would not be the same without this hotel. And since it opened in 1912, it has formed part of the city’s history and cultural life. The majestic façade has views over the Urumea river, it is next to the stylish Victoria Eugenia Theatre and its Belle Epoque charm is noticeable with its spectacular chandeliers, splendid columns, and much more. This hotel has always been associated with glamour. When it initially opened it used to host royalty and the aristocracy; now it plays host to the stars invited to the San Sebastian International Film Festival, which is held every year. Stars such as Coco Chanel, Bette Davis and Elizabeth Taylor have all spent a night in this hotel.
Hotel Alfonso XIII
Walking around the Santa Cruz neighbourhood in Seville has a charm all of its own. Visitors will come across the Cathedral, the Reales Alcázares and, as an extra monument, the magnificent Hotel Alfonso XIII. It has been considered one of the most prestigious luxury hotels in the world since it opened in 1929 for the Ibero-American Exhibition. A banquet was arranged for the opening and none other than King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenia were in attendance. Every detail in this hotel was carefully chosen, which makes it a real pleasure to look at its palatial rooms and the Neo-Mudéjar decoration inspired by Arabic architecture. An interesting fact: Anthony Quinn, Omar Sharif, Peter O’Toole and the entire crew of the film “Lawrence of Arabia” were based here for the filming and even shot some scenes in the hotel.
Gran Hotel La Perla
The city of Pamplona in Navarre is known worldwide for the fiestas of San Fermín. Ernest Hemingway was one of the historical figures who loved this festival. And where did the writer stay in Pamplona? In this iconic hotel, of course. Since 1881, the hotel has also hosted Charlie Chaplin, Pablo Sarasate, Ignacio Zuloaga and many more. To make the most of this illustrious past, the rooms at the Gran Hotel La Perla are inspired by historical figures and visitors can find the Hemingway room just as he would have known it. It is a great experience to watch the bull-running at San Fermín, which is held in July, from the hotel balconies.
The Ritz and the Palace
These are two of the great classics in Madrid. King Alfonso XIII opened the Ritz in 1910 to accommodate the European nobility of the time and it maintains its Belle Epoque charm to this day, right in the centre of the Paseo del Arte. Just two years later, the other great icon of Madrid was built—the Palace, which is now in the Las Letras neighbourhood. The clientele of both hotels includes such illustrious names as Orson Welles, Rita Hayworth, Sofia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Picasso, Dalí, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie... It is easy to feel inspired by such a distinguished atmosphere at Sunday brunch on the terraced gardens at the Ritz* or at the Opera & Brunch, with live opera, at the Palace. Interestingly, Madrid is also home to the oldest hotel in Spain: the charming Posada del Peine, which is very close to the Plaza Mayor.*Please note that the Ritz is currently closed for refurbishment.
Parador de Granada
The Alhambra in Granada is the tourist sight to beat all in Spain. Walking around the palaces and listening to the noise of the fountains in the gardens is a unique cultural experience. But, what if you could spend a night on the complex? It is possible at the Parador de Granada, a former convent constructed for the Catholic Monarchs on top of a Nasrid palace whose century-old walls are still preserved. All of the rooms, the furniture and the cloister seem to have been taken directly from the tale “One Thousand and One Nights”. See the sunrise over Granada, take in the views of the Generalife, smell the aroma of the flowers, have the Alhambra less than 100 metres away from your room and know that you are staying where Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco spent their honeymoon. If you do not feel like a sultan here, then you won’t feel like one anywhere.
Hotel de San Marcos
500 years ago in the 16th century, the Hostal de San Marcos was constructed by order of King Ferdinand the Catholic to house the headquarters of the Military Order of Santiago. This beautiful hotel in the city of Leon is truly a step back in time: it served as both a hospital for pilgrims and a prison, among other things. In fact, such illustrious figures as the writer Quevedo were locked up here. San Marcos later operated as a type of miniature city with gardens, a winery, servants... Now it is impossible not to fall in love with this building, which has been converted into the Parador de León, upon seeing the Chapterhouse with its coffered ceilings, its cloister with sculptures... Visitors who spend a night here will really feel like Knights of the Order.
This hotel in the heart of Barcelona is almost next to famous sights such as La Pedrera and Casa Batlló. Its origins go back to 1918 when the Italian Ércole Cacciami founded the Majestic Hotel Inglaterra, which was considered one of the best hotels in the city. It has witnessed several historical moments and, for example, served as a centre for the foreign press during the Spanish Civil War. Throughout its life it has hosted no shortage of famous people, from Queen Maria Christina to the poets Antonio Machado and García Lorca, the painter Joan Miró, the singers Charles Trenet and Josephine Baker, and many more. It remains a landmark institution to this day.