Spain Guide

 

Toledo Accommodation

There's a good range of hotels to choose from in Toledo but it's a good idea to book in advance, especially if you plan to visit during the Corpus Christi or Semana Santa fiestas when thousands of visitors flock to the city. Many historic buildings have been converted into charming accommodation and new hotels are being built on the outskirts of the old town to satisfy an every increasing number of tourists attracted by the many charms of one of Spain's best preserved medieval cities.

The most luxurious place to bed down for the night is the government owned Conde de Orgaz Parador, an old manor house converted into a top quality hotel. It sits on the Cerro del Emperador (Emperor's Hill) and affords one of the most stunning panoramic views to be seen in the whole of Spain. It's said that this was the spot where El Greco painted his famous "View of Toledo" which now hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Stay in the Parador and you can see for yourself what inspired him the ancient city with its fabulous alcazar fortress and cathedral towering above the River Tagus. The Parador is named after El Greco's most famous painting "The Burial of Count Orgaz" which hangs in the city's Santo Tome chapel. The hotel is beautifully furnished with antiques, wooden beams and staircases, Arab rugs and decorative ceramic tiles. The restaurant specialises in the regional dishes of La Mancha such as "Perdiz a la Toledana" (partridge casserole) and "Ponche Toledano", a marzipan sweet introduced by the Moors.

The best location in the historic city centre is occupied by the Hostal de Cardenal which is built right into the old fortified walls next to the Bisagra Gate. This was the summer residence of a local cardinal in the 18th century and today it's one of the most popular tourist choices in town a haven of patios, fountains and rose gardens with an interior which captures the flavour of old Castile. It's furnished with antiques and decorated with ceramics and woodwork. Its restaurant, run by the same people who own Madrid's world famous Sobrino de Botin, is the best in Toledo offering local specialties including roast suckling pig. Don't be fooled by the fact that it's called an "hostal" because it's actually a three star hotel with prices to match. You'll find plenty of other genuine hostals in town where facilities are much more basic but you'll get a clean and comfortable room at a very affordable price.

Other historic hotels include the Pintor El Greco in Alamillos del Transito in the old Jewish Quarter. It's a typical 17th century Toledan house, once used as a bakery. The building has been sympathetically restored and conserves its original façade whilst providing every modern comfort including satellite TV and air conditioning.

The Maria Cristina Hotel is located in a beautiful 15th century building next to the Tavera Museum and bull ring. The hotel, which was once the old St. Lazaro Hospital and an orphans' home, takes its name from Queen Cristina who once lived here. It's a three star hotel with some wonderful luxury suites, including the Arab style Imperial Room in the domed roof.

Students and budget conscious back packers head for the town's youth hostel which is in the Castle of San Servando (but you need to hold a youth hostel card to stay there). There are also several campsites on the outskirts of the city and in the wider province of Toledo.

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