Parador de Cáceres - 14th century palace complex (4*)
This gem of a Parador dates back in part to the 14th century and was built on even older Moorish foundations. It was created in 1989 by the amalgamation of the palaces of the Marquises of Torreorgaz (a superb Gothic construction with a neoclassic entrance) and Ovando Mogollón, Perero y Paredes House (likewise Gothic buildings that were later extended). Of particular note is the double-arched Gothic window and the oldest part of the Parador is the stone and granite tower. You cannot help but notice how the various palaces have been merged into one building today, with halls and corridors constantly leading to more rooms and rooms. You won’t get lost though, signage guides you to the facilities and rooms with ease.
Between 2009 and 2011, the Parador de Cáceres underwent extensive refurbishment and the new energy efficiency measures and systems that have been utilised have made it a hotel that will set the standard for tourism and gastronomy in the region with a strong focus on reducing the Parador’s environmental impact. The buildings that house Caceres’ Parador were built principally of granite, stone, clay and wood, and these materials are still very evident throughout. Carved wood ceilings and furniture, leaded glass windows, iron railings, and the signatures of prior inhabitants – in the form of the coats of arms displayed outside – all help to maintain an atmosphere of timelessness and which are carefully contrasted by the addition of modern comforts and facilities, giving it much architectural appeal. Modern style often features heavily in the bedrooms here, but this does not detract from the historical attraction of the building overall, and you will enjoy many of the decorations and nooks and crannies to be found in the main halls and passageways.
Cáceres’s Parador is right in the heart of the historical and artistic quarter of Cáceres, an ancient walled town so rich in old buildings that it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Such is the unspoilt nature of the old town, or Ciudad Monumental (also famous for its many storks’ nests), that many historical dramas have been filmed here.
The exterior of the Parador de Cáceres is in a simple stone-built Gothic style, concealing many stunning interior spaces, marked by arches and pillars and a great sense of wealth and luxury – apparent, for example, in the magnificent original mantelpiece in the living room.
The restaurant of the Parador de Cáceres looks out onto a delightful patio and the columns and original walls of the palaces with ceiling-high glass windows, giving it great atmosphere, and in hot weather it is possible to eat outside in the shady inner courtyard. On the menu in the restaurant are such dishes as young goat oven-roasted with rosemary, caldereta stews, Zorongollo extremeño (salad of roasted peppers and tomatoes) and Tarta de queso del Casar (cheesecake made with Casar cheese and raspberry sauce). Recipes of the region around Cáceres often include stews and hearty food, along with many styles and foodstuffs that were frequently traded from north and south, including gazpacho (a chilled tomato and vegetable soup) and migas (a dish centred around breadcrumbs cooked with meat and vegetables) and fresh fish.