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“Staying in a little piece of history”

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Parador "Hostal San Marcos"
Ranked #3 of 36 Hotels in Leon
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
67 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Staying in a little piece of history”
Reviewed March 29, 2013

I loved the history of this hotel and the way that it is depicted without being too much "in your face". If you want to learn the history of the building and its former occupants, you'll find plenty of information all around the hotel. I could easily have spent a whole afternoon walking around the hotel and reading about the knights and the pilgrims. Actually an afternoon just sitting in the cloister reading a book would have been nice too!

We were fortunate to have a room in the old section of the hotel. I'm not sure it would be worth staying in the new section, you wouldn't get the same sense of history. The room was a good size and looked out onto the river. With the door open, all we could hear were birds and the river flowing past, it was very peaceful. The shutters on the door when closed completely block out the light, so that we slept really well.

The room had everything you would need and the water pressure in the shower deserves a special mention - it was like standing underneath a waterfall!

We didn't eat in the hotel. We walked into the old city to sample some of the local bars.

My only grumble with the Parador was that the wifi wasn't working. We called the front desk and they just confirmed that it wasn't working! It seemed they had no plans to fix it so at 11.30pm I went down to the front desk to ask them to reboot the router. They told me that it had been down since that afternoon and they were waiting for parts from Madrid. I tried to explain that they probably only needed to switch it off and on again. The attitude of 4 employees sitting there thinking it was acceptable to have a 5 star hotel without internet access made me quite cross. Luckily, something seemed to sink in as by the time I got back to my room, the wifi was miraculously working.

Breakfast the next morning was fantastic; a really good choice from cereal to fresh fruit, to cakes and pastries to bacon and eggs. The staff were very friendly - one even rustled up a teapot for me, once I had managed to translate what I was looking for.

There is a car park at the back of the hotel which we used as I didn't want to leave a car with a foreign number plate on the streets.

I would definitely stay here again.

Room Tip: Stay in the old part!
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank Weary235
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (157)
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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
70 reviews
70 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
Reviewed February 21, 2013

The exterior makes you think you're entering a palace, but within 5 minutes i was disappointed. The hotel is not what you think it is. Perhaps 70% of rooms are in a modern annexe created probably in the 1980's, which looks hideous. I think its rather unfair to promote the place in a way that means that 70% of occupants aren't going to get what they thought they would. Our room was not in the old section, not in the new section but in the twilight zone between! It was standard American style branded hotel decor and content, not very Spanish and tired as well. The grounds are still quite grand, and we enjoyed breakfast a lot, but we paid £100 and by far it was worst let down on a trip where we paid as little as £15 a night. I came away feeling like i'd wasted money. Leon itself is great for food and night time bar life. Go and enjoy it, but spend £60 on a hotel somewhere else and spend £40 going out instead.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Brodiej
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rancho Santa Margarita, California
Level Contributor
50 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed November 16, 2012

The Parador itself is magnificent. The location is very good and one can walk to the center of town in about 15 minutes. Breakfast was excellent, but our dinner was a very poor experience. The staff was gruff and our waiter was in dire need of a shower. The food was very average, especially for the price. There are excellent restaurants in Leon and I would highly recommend seeking them out rather than eating at the Parador.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank laurie087
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed October 16, 2012

One of my hobbies (I wish) is staying at paradores in Spain. I've stayed at 3 at this point. By far, Leon is my favorite. Don't expect high end modern like a W. This more like a high end old school type of place. The furnishings are a little dated but then so is the parador - what from like the 16th century or something? I stayed here in August, the first and last night of luxury before embarking on the Camino de Santiago - which starts up pretty much right outside the main entrance of the hotel.

The breakfast is amazing - I'd stay here just for that. Definitely recommend and if you want a last little bit of luxury before the roughing it of the Camino - stay here.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank Melkolbe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cary, North Carolina
Level Contributor
55 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed October 8, 2012

The rooms are pricey and ours was small, but exploring the building is worth the price. We barely had room for us and our bags, but it was in the old historic section! There's a newer section that does not appear as interesting. Dinner and breakfasts were very good. We wandered all over the building and signs were provided to tell us about each area and the historical significance. Historic sites were about half a mile away and there was lovely walking along the river.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank blhuber
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne
Level Contributor
29 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
Reviewed September 28, 2012

As a major town on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, Leon is not short on pilgrims. So when I rocked up to the reception desk of the Leon Parador I wasn’t too embarrassed by my appearance having just walked several hundred kilometres to get there. Not so sure the receptionist appreciated my effort much though. I didn’t have a reservation, I just though I’d wing it when I arrived. I was offered a very good rate, much better than any discount rate online, which included breakfast.

The concierge offered to help me to my room but seeing as I hadn’t taken off my backpack I said it would just be easier if I took it myself and if he pointed the way I was sure I’d find it ok. I was on the second floor in a twin room (single beds) overlooking the back of the hotel.

The building itself has marvellous history and the transformation into a hotel has not meant the loss of its charm. The cloisters of both the ground floor (accessible to the public) and first floor (accessible only to guests) have seating all the way around to allow guests the occasion to sit and relax while soaking in the atmosphere. There are cards detailing the history both of the building and the order of St James and upstairs you can access the choir area of the adjoining church just as the friars would have. There are a great many spaces throughout the hotel where guests can gather or sit quietly.

I’d love to return for a few days and just enjoy staying in this beautiful old monastery. It is by far one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in simply for the building (and the price! Cheapest 5* hotel I’ve ever been to.)

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
3 Thank BrawBlether
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
102 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
Reviewed September 28, 2012

The hotel has a fantastic location in Leon. The massive facade of this historic building is a combination of palace, monastery, church, prison and inquisition. It probably serve all of these purposes.

The hotel standards are the usual for Spanish paradores. Great value for money. I find food in the Paradores expensive, when compared with similar restaurants. We opted at night for a small dish - calamares fritos - at the bar - a better value proposal provided in an large and relaxed setting.

I loved sitting in one of their gigantic, super high celing lounges with my ipad drinking a cup of coffee. It felt like an upmarket Starbucks.

The rooms were large and comfortable, albeit in a modern wing. The room views are to inner, uninteresting streets.

The main building has an exquisite inner court and plenty of conference and meeting rooms.

We enjoyed large plaza and the river walks next to the hotel. Leon's cathedral is just a 10 to 15 minute walk. The old town is nice and the cathedral itself is worth the visit.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank RinRanKD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Parador "Hostal San Marcos"

Property: Parador "Hostal San Marcos"
Address: Plaza San Marcos 7, 24001 Leon, Spain
Location: Spain > Castile and Leon > Province of Leon > Leon
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in Leon
#2 Romantic Hotel in Leon
#2 Business Hotel in Leon
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Parador "Hostal San Marcos" 5*
Number of rooms: 184
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Hostal de San Marcos is one of the most extraordinary historic hotels on the Old Continent. Construction of the building was begun in the 16th century, together with the bridge across the River Bernesga in the outskirts of León. It was built to house the peninsula's western headquarters for the Military Order of Saint James. The project was financed by King Ferdinand the Catholic. The magnificent hotel is a museum of stately function rooms, with a spectacular cloister and chapter house; spacious, elegant guest rooms; a library; and a wonderful restaurant that offers beautifully prepared traditional cuisine. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Parador De Leon Hotel Leon
Parador De Leon León
Parador De Leon Hotel León

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