Originally denoting an inn intended for the use of "respectable" travellers, the term parador is now applied to a member of a network of well over ninety state-run hotels. The network was initiated in 1926 by the Marquis of Vega-Inclán as a way of increasing high-class tourist accommodation by renovating disused castles, monasteries and palaces. The first to be opened, in 1928, had been built as a hunting lodge for Alfonso XIII in the Sierra de Gredos.
   Particularly impressive is the Hotel de los Reyes Católicos in Santiago, which started life as the mother house of the military Order of Santiago in the twelfth century and was greatly embellished according to the plans of King Ferdinand the Catholic in the sixteenth century. The paradores of León and of Cuenca were originally the monasteries of San Marcos and of San Pablo respectively, while the parador of Granada, the former monastery of San Francisco in the grounds of the Alhambra, is especially popular with tourists. The parador of Sigüenza was once a fortress, and that of Alcañiz a twelfthcentury castle-monastery.
   There are also a very large number of paradores of modern construction, such as the Cañadas del Teide in the national park on Tenerife, and together with the paradores situated in historic buildings they offer a wide range of good value accommodation from five-star rating downward.
   See also: camping; holidays; tourism
   Further reading
   - Hoyt Hobbs, A. (1998) Paradors, Pousadas and Charming Villages of Spain and Portugal, California: Fielding Worldwide (a travel guide with individual entries).
   - Sauvage, C. and Brown, C. (1998) Karen Brown's Spain: Charming Inns and Itineraries, Travel Press (a travel guide with individual entries, distributed by Fodor Travel Publications).

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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