Parador de Alcalá de Henares, Spain

We stayed here for the last night of last year’s holiday in Spain – it’s pretty convenient for Madrid’s Barajas airport. The parador is based around an old convent but generally is very hi-tech and modern, almost too much so: a panel at the bedside allowed you to switch off the lights in the whole room, but you couldn’t have one bedside light on without the other being on too – not really a technological advance! The whole place was completely accessible apart from, I think, a tiny step down into the courtyard but I might be misremembering and the bedroom had both a wet-room style bathroom and also a bath with shower over too.
It is in the town centre and has a courtyard rather than any gardens so not as relaxing/get-away-from-it-all as some but peaceful nonetheless. The staff were pleasant, the food good with plenty of choice at breakfast and the town is very pleasant and historic too. I would definitely recommend this for a brief stop.


Parador de Tordesillas, Spain

Some of the reviews of this Parador talk of it being a bit past its best, but having stayed in several other Paradors on last year’s holiday in Spain as well as lots of others at other times I would say it holds up well – they are all different and have different qualities. This one is good at being relaxing, child-friendly and laid back. It didn’t particularly seem in need of smartening up so far as I noticed. What was an issue for me was that while you could enter the lobby on wheels (I use a mobility scooter when there is lots of ground to cover), you couldn’t then access the rest of the hotel. That required entering through the door that gave access to the pool and garden – not a big problem, it was a doorway people used to access the garden, so not a ‘tradesman’s entrance’ but not ideal. To use the sitting room off the lobby we would have had to go out through this door then around to the front and it would still have meant a few stairs so we didn’t bother and didn’t need to as the weather was lovely and we sat out in the garden all day, where people were using the pool and sunloungers, all surrounded by pine groves..
The staff were friendly and helpful, the food good with the usual choices of local and national dishes in the evening (although with a distinct lack of vegetables unless you chose very carefully, which is so odd in a country that produces an abundance of great veg!) and plenty of choice at breakfast: Spanish omelette, hams and cheeses, pastries, fruit, yogurt etc.
We really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and the historic town of Tordesillas where the C15th treaty was signed to divide up South America between Spain and Portugal is just down the road.

Gardens, Parador de Tordesilla
Pine woods, Parador de Tordesillas
Pine woods, Parador de Tordesillas

Posada Camarga, Santiago Millas, León

We stayed a night here on our way to Asturias in northern Spain because the place we were supposed to be spending the night at, in a spirit of helpfulness, had swapped our ground floor room for a second floor one so we would be away from the noise of a wedding that was going on, forgetting that we had booked a ground floor room because I have poor mobility. The manager rang a couple of other places and got us booked in at this charming place that was much quieter than the original place would have been and we felt we had really struck lucky!
Posada Camarga was wonderfully quiet, beautifully converted and decorated and we were welcomed with tea and biscuits! There are ground floor rooms and ours at least had a walk-in shower. The proprietress is Spanish but her English is so fabulous you wouldn’t guess; she is an ex-business consultant who has created a lovely hotel and produces the delicious meals available in the evening, from a menu with 3 choices each for each course. The courtyard was full of flowers and we could hear birds singing – a vast improvement on the slightly sozzled renditions of Abba going on at the place we would have stayed! I was able to use my scooter as there was a ramp leading from the rooms to the main house where dinner and breakfast were served. The countryside around was nothing special but if you were on your way somewhere like we were and wanted somewhere quiet and relaxing, with a friendly welcome and simple, delicious food, I recommend this place wholeheartedly.

Parador de La Granja

Parador de La Granja, Spain

Here’s a review I wrote after our holiday in Spain last year. After flying into Madrid, we picked up our hire car and this was the first place we stayed.

We stayed two nights here at the start of our holiday and got thoroughly relaxed which was the plan. My mobility is bad and I was hoping to use my scooter around the building so was really pleased that I could – a member of staff explained where to park around the back and met us there and showed us the way in. There was some issue with our booking both here and at another Parador – they asked if I had booked through an agency when in fact I had booked directly through their website; I don’t know what the issue was, plus they had missed the fact that I’d requested an accessible room but they sorted that out and showed us to the room that was really spacious and comfortable.

The breakfast did not seem to be quite as good as I remembered Parador breakfasts to be – no tortilla or hard boiled eggs, for example, but it turned out you could order scrambled eggs. Food in the evening: the first night I had fish with lots of bones – rather off-putting – but the second night had the tastiest beef dish I have ever had!

The building is great – old but sympathetically modernised. Staff were great too – really helpful when we wanted to look online for directions to our next hotel. We had a bit of difficulty finding this place, actually, as did other people – the signs are not that obvious but you turn left as you enter the gates of the complex.

Thorp Perrow Arboretum

This is a gorgeous place to visit at any time of year, full of mature trees, beautiful shrubs and loads of daffodils and bluebells in Spring. There are national collections of various plants, a birds of prey centre,  a lake,  a tearoom, accessible loos and ample parking. You can hire mobility scooters sturdy enough to cope with the terrain which can be a bit boggy at times. They charge £1 and you must prebook by ringing 01677 427203. We found staff to be really pleasant and helpful. There was no problem about taking the scooter out to the car.

Thorp Perrow Arboretum
Thorp Perrow Arboretum

Golden Acre Park, Leeds

Visited this gorgeous place recently and enjoyed the lush plants and the wonderful wildfowl on the lake. There is also a café and plenty of parking. The main carpark is joined to the park by a tunnel under the road but if you are borrowing a mobility scooter you can park in the bays in the park itself by the café. The scooters are free of charge and very sturdy although not the most convenient to operate but the paths are easy enough to negotiate. Ring 0113 2613064 to book a scooter.  Great visit!