Staying within the walls of one of Europe’s most iconic historical sites, Granada’s Alhambra fortress, and being able to stroll around the grounds after the tourist hordes have left feels like an exclusive experience and that it certainly is.
The only way to do this is to stay in the luxury Parador de Granada, something which makes it one of Andalusia’s and Spain’s most desired hotels and so, unless you are lucky, it can be extremely difficult to find a room there without booking months in advance.
The accommodation is in a beautifully atmospheric medieval building, a building which was once part of the Alhambra Mosque & Palace later converted into a convent just after the Reconquista.
It was also once the burial place of Spain’s most famous Royal couple, King Fernando and Queen Isabel, before their remains were later moved to Granada Cathedral. The spot that was their resting place is still there to be seen today.
They have double and twin rooms, some of which also come with a sofa bed to sleep one extra person if needed. There are also 5 suites at the hotel, around 40 metres square they have a separate living room also with a sofa bed which can sleep two more people. Check your options on the booking page here.
The rooms and suites are relatively modern in style and come with all modern hotel facilities and comforts, but the building itself is unmistakably medieval with much of the original features still intact.
There is a nice bar at the hotel, and the restaurant is very highly rated serving up a range of classic Andalusian and contemporary cuisine that can be enjoyed in the dining hall or on the terrace outside. You’ll find the prices pleasantly reasonable too for such a unique place. The buffet breakfast which runs until 11am is a veritable feast and they also make egg dishes etc. to order.
Tucked away within the walls of Granada’s magnificent Alhambra Palace gardens, this hotel’s location must be among the world’s most privileged. Day visitors are allowed in to the complex during opening hours but beyond that hotel guests have it all to themselves. The complex itself is huge, there is a lot to explore and an enormous amount of history to be discovered.
Just wandering the incredibly atmospheric gardens in the quiet of an evening is a beautiful experience, where sometimes the only sounds to be heard are bird song and the trickling of water through the tiny canals that have irrigated the gardens since the 14th century. The Generalife gardens are of course the most famous but there are others all around, including surrounding the hotel.
Granada city centre is a nice ten minute walk down the steep hill. On the journey back you may be tempted to use the C3 bus service which runs the route, or just grab a taxi.
The original building where the hotel now stands was built by the Nasrid Dynasty in the 14th century as part of the Palace complex. Though the rest of the buildings were mainly left alone after the Reconquista this particular building was rebuilt as a Christian chapel, one which was granted the title of Capella Real/Royal Chapel and became the burial place of the infamous King Fernando & Queen Isabel, the so called Catholic Monarchs, uniters of Spain and great heroes of the Reconquista.
It lost its Royal Chapel title to Granada Cathedral though, and after the remains of the Monarchs were transferred there the old chapel would start to live a more unassuming life as a Franciscan convent.
The convent underwent some renovations and extensions in the 18th century, the most notable being the construction of the bell tower, but by the end of the 19th century it was lying vacant and in a state of disrepair.
It would remain thus until 1927 and a renovation by the famous conservationist and architect Leopoldo Torres Balbás. For a brief period afterwards it found use as a kind of artist’s retreat until, in 1945, it first opened its doors as a hotel.
WHAT OTHER GUESTS SAY:
“Heavenly! It’s absolutely stunningly beautiful. The staff, the historic building, the gardens–everything was fantastic!…”
“Although the Parador is located within the Alhambra and you are aware of tourists in the area, the hotel is quiet and has amazing views. One of the best things about it is the reception staff. They all spoke English and when we had to complain about noise in our room, they immediately moved us and cancelled our bar bill. We felt looked after by all the staff in the hotel….”
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- Calle Real de la Alhambra