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“Grand over the top architecture, average room”

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Parador "Hostal San Marcos"
Ranked #3 of 36 Hotels in Leon
Certificate of Excellence
Estepona Spain
Level Contributor
55 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Grand over the top architecture, average room”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 16, 2013

The sheer size of the exterior, which appears even larger because it sits on an open plaza, is daunting. The plataresque decorative style so embellished the building that it was overwhelming. The interior was equally grand but in smaller doses more tolerable. Our arrival was strange because we weren't certain we could drive the car through the plaza (we could) and once in front of the building, the valet came out and offered to park it and we didn't know the parking arrangements and the valet couldn't communicate well. I have mobility problems and had booked a disabled room and was disappointed to find the room fairly standard with limited functionality Travelling from reception to the room was awkward as the most direct way was by a large stairway so I had to take an indirect elevator route that included a stroll through the breakfast dining room. In general, the accessibility of this parador was lacking. We found the staff sufficiently helpful except at check out The process was slow and the lady doing the checking out answered a telephone after she began helping me causing me to wait even longer.

Room Tip: We were in the annex Imagine the rooms in the main building would be more expensive.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank Jakmor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,209 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (152)
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Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
52 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 15, 2013

Walking in was like going into a great museum or cathedral. The history of the hotel/hostel/monestary dates back to 70 AD and its been built, destroyed and rebuilt several times. Construction of the current building started in 1515. It’s served as a monastery for the pilgrims travelling to Santiago de Compostela and later became the headquarters of the Order of Saint James whose soldiers provided protection for the pilgrims. It also contains a consecrated church and museum. This truly is one of the most beautiful Renaissance buildings in Spain that we’ve seen. The carvings on the 100 meter long front of the hotel depict religious and historical events is amazing. An explore of the interior is a must. There are several public rooms filled with paintings, carvings and tapestries as well as the church and choir areas. It rained hard while we were there but fortunately just walking around the hotel was well worth it. When we entered the hotel the reception area was crowded with pilgrims making the 700 mile (or more) trek from France to Santiago de Compestela by foot and carrying enormous backpacks. Over the time we were there waves of latter day pilgrims arrived or left. We met French, Germans, Norwegians, Americans, Brazilians .. pretty much from everywhere.
This facility has been remodeled as a hotel and is the best hotel option in Leon. Rooms are average size and ours came with a small balcony overlooking the river. wifi is spotty probably due to the thick stone walls. You may have to go down to the first floor to do any serious file transfers. Breakfasts are good and include a wide selection (eggs and bacon as well as a large assortment of fruit, pastries and bread). The restaurant is a good dining option. I had a stew of chickpeas, beef and bacon that was very good. But there are other restaurant options in the local area that are more reflective of current Spanish foodie cuisine. Try the Parrilla Louzao restaurant which is a 5-10 minute walk. Its an amazing experience by itself. If you have any real volume of wash to do on your trip there’s a reasonably priced laundry mat within walking distance that the concierge can direct you to (the hotel option is very pricey). Service at the hotel is spotty due in part to the large waves of people coming in and leaving. They are friendly and helpful but overworked at times.

Room Tip: Get a room overlooking the river/park and preferably with a balcony.
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank ron p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kansas City, Missouri
Level Contributor
301 reviews
66 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 195 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 12, 2013

Staying at this magnificent building either you fuse into it or feel overwhelmed by its size and grandeur. One gets the feeling of being an unwelcome guest and the attitude of the personnel enhances the perception. They were aloof and rude and the service during breakfast short of peevish. This is a common problem with Paradores. The personnel feels and acts like civil servant to which you owe them a favor by staying at the premisses. This is not new, it has been an endemic problem. The parking was free and the rooms quite. Although the building is probably the most grandiose of Paradores, it lacks the human "touch", or charm such as those in Cangas the Onis or Cambados. Worth once a lifetime experience.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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1 Thank martinezcm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
113 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 11, 2013

A magnificent building both externally and internally. Although we were in the 'new' wing, this was not immediately apparent from the interior of the room. The reception was brusque on arrival and we had to use the bell boy to take us to the room and he seemed to want a tip! On the basis that I did not ask for him he did not get one!

This is a busy hotel and two receptionist staff in the morning were clearly struggling to cope with all the check outs.

We ate out in the town and can not comment on the dining room except to say that breakfast w of the usual Parador standard.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Budjuggler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northern Ireland
Level Contributor
95 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 10, 2013

Possibly the grandest Hotel building in Spain it incorporates an ancient resting place for pilgrims and a beautiful church and yet has modernised with 120 rooms fitted neatly behing the facade so you don't notice you have moved from old to modern. The public rooms are wonderful and just to look at the and the grand staircase is a treat. There is a reasonable coffee and snack bar in the front of the hotel which leads on to the Grand dining room - 9.00pm opening ! The rooms in the new block are spacious but could do with refurbishment. The Wi/Fi is weak and intermittent (but stiill free although they are plugging a 9 euro upgrade) Breakfast room is halfway up the grand staircase and with several hundred guests is reasonably managed. Fresh orange juice and 4 netpresso machines. Good selection of warm and cold buffet and excellent bread. If you can get a deal on the grand rooms in the old part you should take it. A trip to the church before service and especially the choir stalls off the cloister are hightly recommended.

Room Tip: Negotiate for a room in the old building.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank robinbwatts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
132 reviews
110 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 4, 2013

We treated ourselves two nights here having completed stage 2 of our Camino adventure. Leon is a beautiful city and this hotel complements it perfectly. Gracious, stunning architecture and full of history, this grand hotel is welcoming and very comfortable. Our standard twin room had its own balcony, super comfortable bed, perfect wifi and offered everything that you would expect from a hotel of this standard. Breakfast was fabulous and fully inclusive. I could not recommend highly enough, and already looking for an excuse to return to this amazing hotel, if I could give it 6 stars I would.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank yogaflowjo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
shropshire
Level Contributor
99 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 4, 2013 via mobile

There are 2 parts to this hotel - the old building and the modern addition which isn't visible from the magnificent front of the hotel in the square.
We stayed in room 362 in the old part,overlooking the square.
A large room full of character - 4 poster bed. Small balcony..
Marble bathroom with bath and separate shower cubicle.
Water pressure was the best ever!
No problems with the room.
Good choice of breakfast - plenty of fresh fruit etc.
We didn't use the main restaurant in the evening but had food and drinks in the bar which was excellent.
The hotel has a very interesting history (monastery,church,cloisters etc) which have been restored and maintained beautifully - there are "story boards everywhere explaining the history of it's many uses over the centuries, which is fascinating.(in English and Spanish) - well worth spending a couple of hours looking round.
(Non guests are welcome - you can access either through the church main door off the piazza or via the hotel into the cloisters..
Hotel has huge public areas filled with antiques. The main staircase is stunning.
Staff courteous and helpful.
Plenty of parking on site (round the back)
The hotel is on the Camino route to Santiago and is a place that many pilgrims stay (it was featured in the film "The Way" with Martin Sheen.
It takes approx 15 to 20 mins to walk into the Old Town which is all on the "flat ". Market stalls surround the cathedral selling local crafts and food..
There is a lovely tree lined avenue that runs parallel to the river.
It's a half hour walk to El Corte Ingles.
We stayed here for 2 nights at the end of a 4 week driving trip around spain - we stayed in 5 Paradors,(as well as other hotels) and this was by far the most spectacular.
We would definitely recommend .

Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Lizzieshrewsbury
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 Romantic Hotel in Leon
#2 Business Hotel in Leon
#2 Luxury 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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