After staying at Parador de Carmona we were convinced that nothing can top off the experience . But when you think you have seen the best parador in Andalusia, you are surprised by an even more beautiful one. Jaén beats it all. Located in a 13th century castle, Parador de Jaéen is one of the most unique that we have visited so far.
The Parador stands high above the city, atop Santa Catalina Hill. As you drive up the road, the views over the city of Jaén and the and the plains of Andalusia are breathtaking, but the ultimate panorama awaits you at the top of the hill, when you reach the Parador.
A Little History
Parador de Jaén was built on the site of Santa Catalina Castle (Castillo de Santa Catalina), an 8th Century Moorish fortress. Although the original fortress was built by the Arabs, the current construction is of Christian origin. In 1246, after the Siege of Jaén, Ferdinand III of Castile captured the city and began the transformation of the castle. The construction became known as the New Castle on the hill. Over the next centuries, the castle served as a fortress against the repeated attacks of the Moors. The builders of the new castle used some of the towers and ramparts of the old fortress, but destroyed most of the others. In 1965 when the castle was restored and extended to incorporate the Parador, many of the elements of the Old Castle have been destroyed as well. Today there are only a few remnants of the original fortress that can be seen on the western side of the hill.
The medieval-style building of Parador de Jaen has a truly majestic appearance. Perched up high on a ridge above Jaén, the walls have a sheer drop down to the side of the mountain on which it sits. The feel inside the castle-hotel is equally majestic, with medieval decor, twenty meter high arches, wooden beams and large metal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.
The Arabic style dining room has heavy carved wooden doors and arched windows. Everything about the hotel – from its large, majestic lobby and dimly lit corridors to the enormous vaulted ceiling and heavy studded-wooden doors – describes its Moorish roots. The rooms are spacious too. They have tiled floors and amazing views of the city. Some of them have balconies.
Things to do in Jaén
Jaen city has a beautiful square Gothic cathedral, one of the most important Renaissance-style cathedrals in Spain, as well as the oldest surviving Arab baths in the country. To get a real feel of the city, you should take a walk through the narrow, Moorish-like streets that surround the cathedral. The castle complex where the parador is located can also be visited.
Staying at a Parador is a destination in itself. Besides being located in spectacular castles, convents, fortresses and monasteries, many of the Paradores are in World Heritage cities like Toledo, Segovia, Santiago de Compostela, or Granada. In addition to the history of the buildings you will also enjoy the comfort, luxury and technology of a 5-star hotel at a much lower price. The Parador de Jaén is a romantic and enchanting place to spend a couple of days and visit the surrounding area.
Have you ever stayed in a Parador?