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Hotels in Granada - Parador de Granada vs. AC Palacio de-Santa-Paula

Hotels in Granada - Parador de Granada vs. AC Palacio de-Santa-Paula

Nov 6th, 2010, 02:35 PM
  #1  
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Hotels in Granada - Parador de Granada vs. AC Palacio de-Santa-Paula

Almost finished with my plansa trip to Southern Spain, but trying to decide between two hotels in Granada. Can anyone tell me the pros and cons for staying at the Parador Granada vs. AC Palacio de Santa Paula?
Thanks for your advice.
claveygirl is offline  
Nov 6th, 2010, 03:53 PM
  #2  
 
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Here are two reviews...

AC Palacio de Santa Paula

This property stands well above the fray in the heart of the old city, three blocks north of Plaza San Augustin. This is one of the best picks in Granada for those who want to immerse themselves in the history of this city.

From the ruins of the 17th-century Convent of Santa Paula, the designers here have polished the building's architectural wonders—a lovely restored cloister and enchanting central courtyard—with a bit of modern-day style. Unlike the similar NH Hotel chain, which prefers to pepper the landscape outside of Madrid with good but often unmemorable design-oriented properties, AC tends to pick winning structures, working overtime to develop them into something special.

This stunning gray-stone, six-story building overflows with superb architectural details: carved stone pillars, balustrades, undulating stucco walls, exposed wooden beams, and ancient stone floors that are weathered but warm and wonderful.

The reception area and adjoining lounge tastefully blend old and new, providing comfortable modern furniture in wonderful contrast with age-old tapestries. This hotel does have a commercial edge, but the staff executes tasks with smiles.

Dining here gets good marks. The bar is an inviting haunt with a good selection of regional wine. The restaurant is in an evocative gallery-type room (the convent's former library), with high coffered ceilings, ornate original carved woodwork and attractive linen-dressed tables. The food draws inspiration from Andalusia and the sea, with fresh surf-and-turf at the top of the menu.

Recreation is relegated to a small but well-equipped gym and a sauna. Walking laps around the elegant cloister is also a popular activity, and outdoor seating awaits those who need a rest. The central patio features a trickling fountain.

Four meeting rooms, also in ancient confines, create an attractive setting for up to 198 people, and despite the look of the rooms, high-tech gadgetry is at delegates' fingertips. Complimentary wireless high-speed Internet access is available in public areas only. There is a business center, and parking is ample. Pets are not allowed.

The guest rooms vary from smallish modern digs to moody, monastic confines that transport guests back to the days of the Inquisition. Recently updated furniture has made its way into guest rooms and the lobby area.

All rooms have plank floors, good soundproofing, modern lighting, bedside controls and amenities that run to flat-screen TVs, phones with data ports and voice mail, wireless high-speed Internet access (for a fee), safes, and complimentary minibars that are replenished daily with snacks and beverages.

Well-lighted baths feature modern fixtures, glass vanities, makeup mirrors, tiled walls, hair dryers and standard toiletries. The most expensive rooms (Superiors) add robes, slippers and Acqua di Parma toiletries. Smoke-free rooms are available, and room service never stops.

This operation may lack the Occidental's pool and overall grandeur of the Alhambra Palace, but few will find fault with this excellent hotel.


Parador Granada

This slightly stiff government-run hotel is in Granada's most tranquil setting, surrounded by thick, fragrant gardens. Surpisingly, it is expensive for Granada, but even so, it is difficult to book except in winter.

The old brick, 15th-century convent and its newer brick annex are restrained and surprisingly tasteful, radiating an evocative monastic air full of history and romance. But common areas here lack the stateliness of those at the Alhambra Palace. Obviously, the draw here is based on historical digs rather than fanciful surroundings.

The beamed reception area is narrow and cumbersome for transporting luggage, and bellhops often stare blankly as guests drag their baggage to their rooms. The neighboring lounge makes up for reception's limited proportions with spacious, elegantly furnished sitting areas that are well-designed for conversation.

Other winning amenities include a salmon-pink restaurant with high-back chairs, antiques, fine views and flavorful cooking; a downstairs bar; a formal garden; and beautiful Moorish-style patios with fountains. Live music entertains certain nights. The gorgeous terrace surveying the Generalife Gardens and Sacromonte Caves is a perfect spot for drinks.

Parking is discreetly hidden, and nonguests are kept from the hallways leading to accommodations. Pets are not permitted.

On par with the toned-down rooms at the Alhambra Palace, these simple comfortable quarters show restrained Spanish style and are appointed with rugs on stone or apple-red terra-cotta tile floors. Cable TVs, phones, minibars and safes are standard, and combination baths have contemporary tiling, makeup mirrors, robes, slippers and hair dryers. The modern fixtures are a bit surprising for this ancient structure, but come as a pleasant surprise (especially the minimalist designer sinks and bidets). Rooms 202, 203 and 204 are solid choices, but the top pick is the extravagant duplex suite with a glamorous bath.

Some guests may cast longing glances at the budget-minded America next door, where they would pay considerably less, but most will consider the leapfrogging rates justifiable for the exclusive location. Staffers here are brusque and tired, which reflects the hotel’s allegiance from tourist groups seeking Alhambra vistas (and nothing else).
travelhorizons is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 03:25 AM
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Those are only two reviews--both glowing--of the dozens that you will find on Trip Advisor.
I had the same decision to make and I chose the AC Santa Paula (I also considered Casa Morisca). But I believe that the rooms at the AC vary tremendously depending on which part of the hotel you are placed. The more pricey and better rooms are in the old section. There are several poor reviews from persons who lodged in the newer section. Breakfast costs an additional 20 euro per person.

Here is a related thread:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...sa-morisca.cfm
ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 03:30 AM
  #4  
 
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I should add that the parador also receives reviews across the spectrum, from excellent to terrible, as does the AC Santa Paula.


Neither of the two are near the top of the list on Trip Advisor:


http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g1...ia-Hotels.html



Review from a guest who lodged in the new section of the AC hotel:



AC Palacio de Santa Paula looks stunning in the online photos, and perhaps that part of the hotel even exists, but we didn't see it. We arrived a few days before Christmas, and there was such a low occupancy that they closed down the old section of the hotel, leaving us with no option but to take a room in the new section. These are like two completely different hotels, and it is a scam to market them as the same hotel. The new section is NOT worth the money. Its just a hotel, no more, no less. We could have been at a Holiday Inn. The front desk staff was unfriendly, never lifting their head when we arrived, nor left.

The only way I would recommend this hotel is if it is the cheapest available (unlikely), or come at a time when the old part of the hotel is open, and lay down the big bucks.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 03:47 AM
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The Parador comes with some serious history. It's a part of a palace/mosque built between 1332 and 1354. This was converted into a Franciscan convent by the so called Catholic Kings, Isabella and Ferdinand, after they took Granada in 1492. Isabella decided to be buried here in a modest grave in a chapel with both Moorish and Christian detailing that is still a part of the Parador. She was buried here in 1504 and Ferdinand in 1516. They were both later moved to the extravagant royal mausoleum in the Capilla Real, adjoining the magnificent Cathedral in down-town Granada.
http://www.totallyspain.com/aloja.asp?id=279
kimhe is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 03:52 AM
  #6  
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wow--thanks so much travelhorizons and ekscrunchy for posting those reviews. I have read them along my hotel searching,but you hear so many pros and cons that it gets confusing. Do either of you, or anyone else, have any better suggestions? We really only have a day and a half in Granada and probably much of that time will be spent at the Alahambra Palace, Generalife Gardens etc. Any additional suggestions would be much appreciated!
claveygirl is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 03:57 AM
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All I will say is that dining on the terrace of the Parador, at night, listening to the wonderful guitar (live) music and gazing upon the wonderfully illuminated gardens of the Alhambra was magic for us
Dukey1 is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 04:07 AM
  #8  
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oops--sorry kimhe. I still have sleep in my eyes and missed your response. Thanks so much for the historical info on the Parador! Do you know anything about the Alhambra Palace Hotel?
claveygirl is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 05:13 AM
  #9  
 
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If these were my choices, I would no doubt have gone for the Parador. http://11870.com/pro/parador-granada/media
kimhe is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 05:35 AM
  #10  
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Hi Kimhe. Thank you for the parador de granada link. After viewing the amazing photos, I am sold on it! Waiting to hear back re availability for next September. Thanks so much for taking the time to help!!
claveygirl is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 05:52 AM
  #11  
 
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You asked about other choices, so here is a thread that helped me choose. I chose the AC because I want to be in the center of town rather than on the Alhambra hill. The rate for our dates is for a room in the old section is 162 plus VAT, plus 20 PER PERSON for breakfast. So it is quite pricey but not nearly as expensive as the Parador.




http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...s-on-these.cfm
ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 05:58 AM
  #12  
 
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I will add that I am tempted to change to the new Fontecruz Granada because their rates are MUCH less and the reviews on TA are almost uniformly excellent:


http://www.fontecruzhoteles.com/hote...ecruz-granada/
ekscrunchy is offline  

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