One of the nicest places I stayed in for 2019 was the Parador de Cuenca in the province of Castilla La Mancha. It’s not a luxurious hotel in the typical sense. However the hotel is furnished in very good taste. It has the kind of atmosphere you will never forget.
THE LOCATION OF THE PARADOR DE CUENCA
One of the best things about the Parador de Cuenca is its location. It’s slightly away from the city of Cuenca, but it’s across an old river bed from the old town. Opposite the parador are the famous hanging houses of Cuenca, which are probably the top attraction of the city.
I was breathless with wonder when I got out of the car and saw the view of the old town of Cuenca from the hotel driveway for the first time. I arrived just as the sun was setting, and the sun cast a golden sheen on the town.
A ROOM WITH A VIEW IN SPAIN
Luck was with me that day. I got a room with this exact same view, and I never got tired of gazing out. In fact, my room had a ledge and I often sat on this ledge reading a book or writing in my diary while looking at the view.
In the morning, I loved opening the heavy wooden windows and seeing the old town of Cuenca in all its morning glory.
ABOUT THE CONVENT OF SAN PABLO
The Parador de Cuenca is a hotel created from the Convent of San Pablo, one of the most famous monuments in the city. It’s situated on a ridge overlooking the River Huecar, and it is connected to the old town via a footbridge. This current footbridge was built in 1903 to replace an old stone bridge that had been connecting the convent to the old town until it fell down in 1895.
The Convent of San Pablo itself was built in 1523 on top of a small ancient monastery. The two most important architects in Cuenca created a convent and church in the Gothic style.
Much of the ancient church still remains. However the interiors have been upgraded to suit a luxury hotel in Spain. I love the way the ancient stonework and black-and-white tiles are combined with contemporary furniture and modern art.
The widow of a famous local artist, Julian Casado, donated some of his most important works to the Parador de Cuenca. Today guests can admire his works all around the courtyard lobby of the parador.
I also like the breakfast room here. I’m guessing it was once the refectory as it has high vaulted ceilings, impressive frescoes and elaborate stonework on the sides. It’s a beautiful room to start the day in, especially as the Parador de Cuenca makes excellent churros con chocolate.