Parador De Carmona – Historic Hotel, Evocative Of Andalucía’s Rich History

Spain’s unique network of iconic hotels offers guests unprecedented access to magnificent buildings in some of the country’s most emblematic towns and cities. Parador Carmona is no exception, giving you the opportunity to sleep in an ancient fortress, with unrivalled views over Andalucía’s central plain.

It’s said that Andalucia is (after Switzerland) Europe’s most mountainous area. Yet driving to the monumental city of Carmona, a little over half an hour’s drive east of the Seville capital, is to discover the vast central plain of southern Spain. This agricultural powerhouse has generated great wealth in the surrounding towns, each chockful of noble houses, palaces and the extraordinary ornate architecture of monasteries and churches, writes Andrew Forbes (The Luxury Editor).

Set on a high ridge overlooking the pastures and meadows fed by the river Carbones, is the Parador de Carmona. The robust architecture reflects its history as a former 14th-century Moorish fortress, each wall, arch and pieces of stonework echoing the centre of history from the Moors, through to the reconquest. Now this once austere castle is a welcoming refuge for visitors eager to discover more of this fascinating part of Southern Spain.

Living History

Parador de Carmona boasts fabulous design details including a stunning central courtyard with a large Mudejar fountain, vaulted ceilings, original stonework and spacious terraces.

The main spaces feature tapestries and antique furniture evocative of the citadel’s past as a fortress and Royal Palace.

Guest rooms have large terraces with spectacular views over the countryside and the Corbones River. Parador hotels are about authentic, uncomplicated hospitality.  Don’t expect on-trend experiences, dining or wellness.

Instead, you get a good old-fashioned stay that is a proven success with guests. From the traditional room key to a pared-back uncluttered room, to straightforward service in the restaurant, Parador is all about tradition.

The guest rooms have classic décor with Seville-style tiles, and original 14th-century stonework.

Take the path down to the gardens and you’ll discover the seasonal swimming pool, with more views too!

In fact, the property is all about its privileged position, with a fine dining restaurant serving local fare in a sophisticated way, with tables set near large windows, with yes, you guessed it, great views out over the plain.

Breakfast here is a treat. Parador always offers very generous and comprehensive breakfasts and it’s really worth it.

Discovering Carmona

Staying at Parador de Carmona is a great way to feel connected with the destination, and to feel part of traditional Spain. The fortress is within walking distance of many of the city’s sights. It’s a pleasure to take the stone-cobbled meandering stress and discover magnificent architecture, shaded plazas and small bars and restaurants.

Mooch around and discover the Baroque palaces of Alonso Bernal Escamilla, Aguilar, Domínguez, and Lasso, as well as two of the city’s ancient entry points, including the elaborately build Seville Gate.

The Convento de Santa Clara in Carmona sells traditional baked goods. You can purchase the items through a traditional turnstile – it’s a memorable experience. As for the Torta Inglesa, a dense and tasty cake said to be made to a recipe favoured by one of the English archaeologists that centuries before was excavating the nearby Roman Necropolis.

This necropolis is definitely worthy of a visit, as it is said to contain more than nine hundred family tombs dating from the second century BC to the fourth century AD. Enclosed in subterranean chambers hewn from the rock, with some tombs showing restored frescoes. Remains were stored in niches, with some of the funeral urns on show in the small museum. Visitors are also able to visit one of the larger family tombs.

Often when exploring inland Southern Spain, itineraries focus on the great cities of Seville, Cordoba or Granada, yet Carmona should not be forgotten. Including the Parador de Carmona will be a welcome addition to your grand tour of Andalucia.

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