Parador de Plasencia - Medieval Convent (4*)
Take a trip to Plasencia and step back in time to the 15th century. Everything is where you would expect it to be. In the old quarter of the town you will find a rather spectacular looking monastery next to an equally beautiful cathedral and both are situated on the main square right at the heart of the town. Today the former 15th century monastery houses the remarkable Parador de Plasencia.
The Parador has been beautifully preserved so as to retain the atmosphere and memory of its original use. Upon entering the grand reception area you will be greeted with flagstone floors and amazing huge stone and brick archways which elicit a light, airy and indeed spacious feeling. Walking around each corner will unveil an architectural feat, from the freestanding staircase, to the intricately bricked vaulted ceiling.
Nothing has been disturbed but instead the Parador de Plasencia has cleverly managed to enhance the monastery by introducing some modern touches to the building, such as a gym and outdoor swimming pool. There is no jarring between authentic and contemporary design, which ensures the Parador remains a tranquil environment in which you can relax and unwind. Nor has anybody tried to mask over the main features of the monastery, instead features such as the crypt have been made into communal areas for visitors to sit and enjoy.
By day you can follow in the footsteps of the monks who have walked these paths many times before in a previous era, exploring the cloistered areas, corridors decorated with antique furniture and stone carvings, as well as the outdoor courtyard. Another contemporary touch is the spacious outdoor pool which offers respite in hotter seasons.
By night, the Parador is subtly lit illustrating its beauty. A good vantage point is the outdoor terrace which overlooks the courtyard gardens, where you can enjoy a refreshing drink whilst soaking up the atmosphere of your surroundings.
The Parador bedrooms are in keeping with the theme of the rest of the building. Each offer different features including stone fireplaces, wooden ceilings, chandeliers, and stone and brick archways.
The restaurant is situated in the old refectory and you can get a feeling of what 15th century monks experienced as they dined whilst surrounded by beautiful tiling and stonework. Enjoy a drink in the hidden basement bar (only open certain evenings) which frequently plays jazz music to create a relaxing atmosphere.
If you are staying at the Parador in springtime, it is well worth visiting the Jerte river valley to see the flowering white cherry trees. Visitors come from all over the world to experience this beautiful sight!