The devotion awoken by the Way of St James reached the ears of the Catholic Monarchs, and they decided to set forth on a royal pilgrimage in 1488. When they arrived at Santiago, they realized that the old pilgrim’s hospital was not in good condition for such a laudable mission.
There were so many pilgrims that they would stack up miserably at the cathedral’s gates and inside the temple. Therefore, the Kings decided to build a new hospital. From its beginning, the work was colossal. The most prestigious architect of that moment, Enrique Egas, was in charge of the project. The Kings were involved in every detail. It was a conciliatory construction that lasted ten years. The best artists and craftsmen showed all their virtues in an extraordinary work. The work done on the fountains, gargoyles, coffered ceilings, carvings and courtyards was praiseworthy. The hospital opened its doors in 1509.
Everything was thought to host pilgrims in their request of salvation. There were gardens with medicinal plants, chemist’s and doctors to help the sick. The hospital provided the dreamed-about relax after long walks of pain and sacrifice.
Visitors can feel what it would be like for the pilgrims to enter through the plateresque facade. Stones breathed out spirituality. A statue of the benefactors, the Catholic Monarchs, was carved; they were the authors of this small city created as a place of rest for the afflicted pilgrims.
Since then, five centuries have gone by and so it is the most ancient hotel in Spain. In the Jacobean year of 1954, it became a complete Parador, achieving the status of a luxurious hotel in record time. The inside keeps this respect for details, for thorough care, for every chisel’s groove in the stones. The useful ballrooms were filled with details; works of art acquired a predominant dimension, taking away the deteriorated and poor appearance of the hospital. The rooms gained a luxurious elegance, in line with the robustness of the building.
In 2014, we commemorate its 60th anniversary as a National Parador with a thorough renewal of the hotel that includes important remodelling works, a new room décor and an exhibition with pictures of the building. Moreover, more than 1,000 pictures taken in its opening in 1954 have been gathered in different collections. These pictures were taken by César Manrique, Martínez Novillo, Redondela and Luis Feito, among others.
There is also a huge mural by Clavo that will be placed on one of the walls of the Enxebre Restaurant. As a novelty, for thisanniversary, the Western Garden, leading onto Dos Reis Restaurant, will open to the general public for the first time