The Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, this afternoon visited the recently remodeled Parador de León, Hostal de San Marcos, which will reopen its doors tomorrow, December 3, after three years of closure to undergo a comprehensive reform which has meant its total renovation.
For Reyes Maroto, the reopening of the Hostal de San Marcos is excellent news and has shown its satisfaction for having fulfilled its commitment to open the Parador in 2020 despite the difficulties of the pandemic. “As a Castilian and a Leonese, I am excited and looking forward to enjoying the wonders of the new parador, which in addition to being a hotel and restaurant is a new museum for León. Thanks to an investment of 15 million euros, León recovers one of the most emblematic establishments of the Paradores chain, which has a great value from the tourist point of view for Castilla y León and Spain, especially considering the start of the Xacobeo 2021, which will turn León and its parador into a meeting point for the thousands of pilgrims who walk the Camino de Santiago every year ”.
The minister also recalled that Paradores has worked to become the safest tourist destination to ensure the health of its employees and customers. "Along with safety, the social commitment of Paradores stands out, which has maintained all employment during the time that the works have lasted, also keeping our word".
For the president of Paradores, Oscar Lopez, “The reform was more than necessary. The Parador was wonderful and now it's going to be even better ”. López is convinced that "the reform will make all Leonese and all Spaniards proud of the Hostal de San Marcos."
The Parador de León exhibits some 500 works of art. These are the most important and representative works that, in addition, are now preferably located in common areas for the enjoyment of customers and visitors.
The set of pieces that wears in the Hostal de San Marcos has been completed with more than sixty works that were exhibited in other Paradores. According Maria Gimeno, head of the company's Art Collections: “We lacked important names in the art world who were in other establishments and who support the exhibition discourse to make it make much more sense now. They create a tour that the visitor will enjoy in a more active way and better understand what they are seeing ”.
From other establishments of the hotel chain, works by Pancho Cossío, Juan Barjola, Gloria Merino, Juana Francés, Rafael Canogar and Julio López Hernández arrive in León, as well as, among other pieces, two songs from the 15th century.
Paradores commissioned a commission of renowned art experts to select the pieces that will be displayed in the remodeled Hostal de San Marcos. Its mission has been to create a coherent exhibition discourse and "musealize" the works to compose a set that allows the maximum enjoyment of those who contemplate them. "Having had experts of this level in the world of art offers us a proposal very similar to what can be found in a museum," says Gimeno. For Luis Grau, director of the León Museum, “it is always difficult” to carry out a job of such magnitude, but here two very disparate artistic ensembles have been “combined” in a building that “has its own limitations”. "I think it has been resolved with some brilliance because we can see today practically all the heritage that San Marcos had before starting these works."
Walking through the rooms of the Parador de León allows, once again, to explore the history of Spain. Seven centuries of life make it a unique hotel in the world. Behind its walls, important episodes in the history of Spain have been forged: chapters of the Order of Santiago, illustrious confinements such as Quevedo's and tragic stages, such as its use as a concentration camp during the Spanish Civil War.
A project by the architect Mina Bringas
The Parador de León closed to the public three years ago, in December 2017, to undergo a comprehensive reform of its facilities in order to adapt them to new tourist demands. The reform has been very delicate due to the typology of the building. From its inception, various complications arose that forced us to adapt the architectural project to the structural reality. The project chosen by public tender was the one presented by the architect Mina Bringas and the contractor awarded for the execution was FCC.
The central idea of the rehabilitation project of the Hostal de San Marcos -explains Mina Bringas- is “to recover the original volume of the building, a building with perimeter bays around a patio. This space is recovered as the heart of the building. We have called it atrium in reference to the Roman domus that was the center of the house from where all the uses were distributed ”.
For this, a closed interior atrium has been built, but with natural light. Now, this new recovered space will house the Parador's cafeteria and, above it, hung at a great height, it will be possible to contemplate in all its splendor the spectacular ceiling of Lucio Muñoz, which has been restored. "The Parador had this impressive work by Lucio Muñoz that was located in one of the rooms and to which they have now wanted to give prominence as the crowning of this building," says the architect.
Mina Bringas affirms that the intervention has been carried out with total respect for the historic building. It has been done "with care, always with actions that do not touch the original parameters, reversible in all cases and respectful of everything: with the material itself and with the volumetry of the original spaces". He describes the interior of the building as “a sober interior, with few materials. It does not compete with the outside world ”. The architect adds that “mainly natural stone, natural wood and then a dark color have been used that brings to me a bit the monastic air of a building of this type, with a cloister, which has had many uses, which has been convent or hospital ”.
Spaniards trust Paradores
The public company has always been a benchmark in terms of quality and reliability and, now more than ever, it has increased the cleaning and disinfection measures in all its establishments. According to Óscar López, president of the hotel chain, “we are a trusted destination. We have reinforced our hygiene and cleaning protocols so that our clients have the maximum guarantees of security with a personalized treatment and the quality that characterizes Paradores ”.
In a summer season marked by the drop in foreign tourism, Spaniards have trusted Paradores, which has reached an occupancy rate of 72% in July, 82% in August and 67% in September. The fact that most of its establishments are located in remote places, far from mass tourism, as well as the size of its hotels, almost all medium or small, facilitates the rigorous implementation of safety and hygiene controls to make them the place safer tourism where you can spend a few days off or hold family or business meetings.