90 years of history

Ninety years in the service of Spanish tourism

El Rey Alfonso XIII acompañado del Marqués de la Vega-InclánParadores turns 90 this year. Its origins date back to 1910, when the Spanish government of José Canalejas made the decision to put the Marquis of Vega-Inclán in charge of creating a hotel infrastructure—nonexistent in the country at the time—whose establishments would provide lodgings for visitors and travelers, while also improving Spain’s image abroad.

The Royal Tourism Commission was created the following year and the aforementioned Marquis of Vega-Inclán was appointed to head this body.

Parador de Gredos. 1928However, it would be several more years before the emergence of the first of the establishments which would eventually make up the Paradores chain. It was 1926 when, following on from this ambitious project, King Alfonso XIII himself personally selected the best spot for the first hotel with the Royal Tourism Commission.

The location chosen was the Sierra de Gredos mountains, between Madrid and Ávila, in the heart of a uniquely beautiful natural area. Work began in August of the same year. It was completed on October 9, 1928, coinciding with the opening of this iconic hotel, the pioneer in what would come to be the Paradores de España chain: the Parador de Turismo de Gredos.

After the opening of the first hotel, the Committee for Paradores and Hotels of the Kingdom was formed, headed by the Count of Gamazo. At this point, the chain began to set its sights on unique buildings with a long history and excellent cultural heritage, as well as geographic locations with significant natural interest.

Manuel Fraga, ministro de Información y Turismo, inaugurando el Parador de Nerja. 1965Following construction of the first Parador, there came a frenetic series of openings. It would not be long before Paradores took shape as a prestigious chain of tourist establishments in Spain, a public sector firm which, almost a century later, sets a true example of responsibility, prestige and recognition, both within Spain and abroad.

Over the years, the Paradores expanded to locations throughout the entire country. This era was also marked by infrastructure development such as roads, railways, airports and ports. Naturally, the Civil War not only brought with it stagnation, but also represented a setback for tourism.

Parts of the chain’s infrastructure were damaged or used as hospitals. However, after the conflict, the idea took root, gaining new momentum with restaurant offerings and the reopening of existing Paradores. The 1960s saw the period of greatest expansion, coinciding with significant tourism development in the country. During these years, the Paradores chain went from 40 hotels to 83.

Spain’s transition to democracy meant a change in ownership for the Directorate-General for Paradores, and above all, its relationship witEl Hostal Reyes Católicos de Santiago de Compostela pasó a Paradores de Turismo en los años 80h the government.

Extensive restructuring was proposed, closing some facilities which were obsolete or far from the beaten path, causing them to operate at a loss. In addition, operating criteria were revised to improve profitability. In the 1980s, some of the hotels belonging to the Empresa Nacional de Turismo (Entursa) chain became part of Paradores.

These included such iconic establishments as the Hostal de los Reyes Católicos (Santiago de Compostela), Hostal de San Marcos (León) and Hotel La Muralla (Ceuta). With the arrival of the 1990s, Paradores experienced a major change.

The public corporation Paradores de Turismo de España, S.A. was constituted on January 18, 1991. The company is publicly-owned and its sole shareholder is the Directorate-General for State Assets.