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Designed to appeal to modern travelers with spas, nearby top-notch golf courses and routes that take them from region to region, the Paradores are among the world’s finest stays.



New York, N.Y., July tk, 2010—Converting historic buildings -- from castles and palaces to convents and monasteries to fortresses and hunting lodges into paradores or lodgings is Spain’s forte. The newest additions to theParadores de Turismo, which near 100 properties, are the five-star Parador de Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, which is part of a UNESCO-designated World Heritage site and the four-star Parador of Cruz de Tejeda nearly 3,000 feet above sea level on Gran Canaria the third largest of the Canary Islands.

            These properties join a spectacular portfolio of the world’s most memorable accommodations throughout the country some located within the world’s architectural gems: the recently renovated five-star Parador Hostal de San Marcos in León, is a former monastery and pilgrim’s hospital founded in the 12th century; the Parador Hostal Dos Reyes Católicos is one of the world's oldest lodgings in operation since 1499 set in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia; or, Andalucia’s Parador San Francisco in Granada that gives guests a chance to stay inside the Alhambra grounds.

            A major investment in the Parador de Alcalá de Henares, in the province of Madrid,  the second largest property in the Paradores de Turismo, has prepared the property with the latest technology to host meetings while preserving the warmth that appeals to leisure travelers. Housed in a 17th-century Dominican Collegiate-Convent of Santo Tomas de Aquino, is the 128-room Parador de Alcalá de Henares, Madrid. Ever since Cardinal Cisneros founded the university in 1510 the institution emerged as a cultural center that only gained even more prestige from its local luminaries -- Cervantes, Lope de Vega and Quevedo. Each November, the interior courtyard of the Archiepiscopal Palace is the stage for a traditional production of  Don Juan, an exceptional work from the Spanish Golden Age.

            The Parador’s restaurant decor is notable for its original dark wood beams echoed by the 16th century reproductions and antiques that lend power and authenticity to this space. Its Castilian kitchen prepares regional cuisine such as cocido madrileño, a fragrant consomme spiked with sherry that has become one of Spain’s national dishes; asados, traditional roasted meats such as cochinillo, roasted baby pig, ending with a costrada, an almond puff pastry particular to Alcalá.

            Often described as a “continent in miniatura,” the island of Gran Canaria boasts a comfortable climate, beaches, and historic buildings. Perched on a moutainous ridge above one of the most famous landmarks in the Canary Islands -- Roque Nublo, a 240-foot high monolith that was formed 4.5 million years ago – is the 23-room Parador Cruz Tejeda. Local cuisine ranges from rabbit and veal to potaje de berros, a hearty watercress stew, or simple dishes such as papas arrugás y mojos, boiled potatoes topped with red or green mojo sauce, and almond desserts such as bienmesabe de Tejeda.

            Its enviable setting makes it the perfect base from which to explore El Nublo Nature Reserve, adjacent to the Parador, Cueva Pintada, the most important archaeological park in the Canary Islands, or the botanical gardens -- Jardin Canario in Tafira Alta and Cactualdea in La Aldea de San Nicolas. Just 28 miles away is Las Palmas where the Almond Blossom festival and Carnival are celebrated in February each year.

            Both properties are outfitted with internet access, minibars, business centers, well-equipped conference spaces, parking facilities, pools, spas – and are each within easy access of airports and Spain’s finest attractions.

            During the last five years, the Paradores de Turismo group has expanded by nearly 15%. When King Alfonso XIII first appointed the Marqués de la Vega Inclán to create a hotel network 100 years ago, the King chose the very first location personally and inaugurated the paradores system with the debut of a 30-bed former royal hunting lodge in the Gredos Mountains in 1928. Major expansion will continue through 2012.

             Other relatively recent additions to the Paradores system include the 80-room Parador de Lorca in the province of Murcia built near an old Moorish fortress; a former monastery, the Parador de Morella in the province of Castellón counts74 rooms situated in the 15th century Convent of San Francisco; while the 82-room Parador de la Granja, near Segovia is housed in both the 18th century Casa de los Infantes and the adjoining former military barracks
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