Paradores are a chain of state owned hotels dotted throughout Spain. Their original purpose was to promote tourism in different parts of Spain. Many of them are old converted buildings such as castles or monasteries whilst others are modern and purpose built but usually in a great location. Their restaurants serve good quality food and promote local cuisine and a nice little touch is that lots of the serving staff wear local traditional costume
Paradores can be a bit of a mixed bag: sometimes the service in the bars is awfully slow, sometimes the rooms are a bit disappointing but I've always felt that the friendliness of the staff and their courteous style nearly always outweigh any other failings.
It was Maggie's birthday on Saturday and John Moore was doing me a huge favour by driving me back to Culebrón, so I suggested that I buy them both a meal in the Parador.
John's a vegetarian and Spain is not a good country for veggies. When we enquired of the Restaurant Manager if she had any suitable food she came back with "Of course!, even vegetarians have to eat". It was good do. The food was much better than average restaurant fare, if not great, the ambience was lovely, the staff were friendly without being over familiar and it felt like an event rather than a refuelling stop. It wasn't even particularly expensive at 100€ for the three of us though we did get the coffee and brandy at a bar around the corner.