Paradors are a chain of 94 state run hotels of exceptional quality, scattered throughout Spain. They were founded by Miguel Primo de Rivera, the then Prime Minister, in 1928. The first one, at Gredos near Madrid, was opened in that year by King Alfonso the13th. There are 3 types of hotels. Those that are in historic sites and buildings, such  as Monasteries, Castles and other such buildings; others that are in areas of natural beauty or situated at such places as golf courses; and then the rest in more modern buildings in many towns around the country. Whatever the building, new or renovated historic, the accommodation is always spacious and comfortable, and the food of a high quality. They were originally built as a chain of tourist hotels of good quality, yet reasonable prices, for the benefit of the average middle-class Spaniard, and to enable an increase in foreign tourism to be developed. Today they are at the luxury end of the market, yet for their quality are reasonably priced, especially if advantage is taken of their special deals and offers. You can of course just go for a coffee, snack or meal, you don’t have to stay at them. Golfers  can visit Málaga Golf Parador just to play a round (then of course enjoy a drink at the 19th hole).

As well as quality, they also these days have a ‘green’ agenda. They often use energy generated by solar panels, and encourage water conservation and recycling. The cuisine is usually local, and often they have special gastronomy menus where a range of dishes are on offer. All the staff are trained by them and so the service is friendly, efficient and professional.

Here on the Costa del Sol, Paradors can be found in many places. There are two in Málaga, one next to the Gibalfaro, that has commanding views of the port and town, and the other on the golf course. There is one at Nerja with a private lift down to Burriana Beach, and another in Antequera which is near to the dolmens and El Torcal. Then of course there is another in Ronda,  situated alongside the gorge and bridge.

In my book TWISTED TALES, one story Deadlier Than The Male is set in three Paradors Antequera, Nerja and Málaga Gibalfaro – and below is an extract from it. The full story can be found in the book itself. How to obtain this and all my books, together with several free short stories, can be found on my website www.johnhardybooks.com

EXTRACT FROM ‘TWISTED TALES’, John Hardy

“Davina leaned against the rail of the balcony to her hotel room, oblivious of her surroundings. Her thoughts were bitter and disappointment ran through them.

“I’ve failed,” she thought. “Failed at the last. Thrown away months, years even, of careful plotting and planning.”

All that time, effort and sacrifice rendered to no avail, because of a last minute act of weakness, of pity for someone not worthy or deserving of it. The sun beat down upon her head, below at the bottom of the hill the port of Málaga lay stretched out, tour ships at anchor, small vessels moving in and out of the harbour. To her left, the side of the bullring and between the hill and the sea, the constant movement and noise of the traffic on the Alameda below. At her own level to the right, the battlements of the Gibralfaro where tourists could be seen moving. Her eyes saw nothing of all this, her ears closed to the noise, all she could see was Greg’s face as he had looked at her that morning, wary, scared even, but defiant and with a sneer, a contempt in his eyes.

“What can I do now?” Once more her thoughts went over it all again. “Yes, I can keep him in his place, even humiliate him some more, but in just two days we will be on the plane home, and then I won’t see him again, and he will be free to humiliate and abuse some other woman, drive her to the point of despair and nothing I can do will stop……..”

“Señora,” a voice called quietly in Spanish up from the path three stories below, and she looked down and saw a tall lean man with a hosepipe in his hand. The gardener. He continued speaking in Spanish, and she had no difficulty in following him or replying in the same language

“Señora, it was a brave thing you did yesterday afternoon, to rescue your man from the sea, and then to bring him back to life with your administration of artificial respiration.”

“You heard of it, señor?”

“I saw it, señora. I work here in the gardens in the morning and evening, but for a few hours in the heat of the day I am free. I often go down to the playa, beach, have a beer and perhaps a barbecued fish, a few sardinas or some anchoas at a chiringuito, beach bar, and then sit for a while on the sand and sometimes go for a swim. I saw you yesterday pull your man from the sea and bring him back to life. It was very brave and well done.”

If you read the book, any of the others or a free short story or two, I hope you enjoy them. Also, if you visit a Parador, even if only for coffee or a meal, I hope you enjoy that too.

With all best wishes

John Hardy

Sedella, June 2016

More info: www.paradores.es.