BACK ROADS OF IBERIA: SPANISH PARADORES AND PORTUGUESE POUSADAS
Hotel Turim Av. Liberdade, Lisbon, Portugal
"CENTER OF THE CITY, SMALL ROOMS, FAST INTERNET, DARK HALLWAYS"
LOCATION: Center of the city, easily accessible to all needs. Walking was easy. ATMs, stores, groceries in a few blocks.
RECEPTION: Welcoming, short staffed most of the time. First room was only one bed, went right down to change, sold out, said we could make the move the next day. Agreed to our room change because Rikardo made it happen. Did bring us a second chair in timely manner.
ROOM: Small, but typical European room. Not a lot of storage, great for one person, tight for two. Clean, windows opened.
BEDS: Twin beds, bedding good, tight space,
BATHROOMS: Good size tub and shower. Bowl sink water splashed.
WORK SPACE: Narrow but accessible to power. Difficult for two computers and writers.
INTERNET: Fast internet, access easy, no logouts overnight.
BREAKFAST: Generous breakfast buffet, fresh fruit, hot selections, staff was attentive. Not crowded first day, refreshed plates frequently.
ELEVATORS: Only two elevators to our section. Came when called, pretty fast. Not large, fine for 4 or 5 people.
ISSUES: Noisy - trash pick up at 1:30 am, overlook to center courtyard.
OVERALL: Dark hallways, lights were motion activated but slow when walking to breakfast or in the evenings.
Pousada Dos Loios, Evora, Portugal
(Pousada Convento Évora)
"PERFECT LOCATION, ONE CAN WALK EVERYWHERE IN THE CITY"
LOCATION: Edge of the city, view of the surrounding countryside and city center. 10 minute walk to city center. Easily accessible to all personal needs.
RECEPTION: Extremely accommodating front desk staff, they knew our names and room number the very first day.
ROOM: Very luxurious for a cell in a convent. Plenty of room, had a mini-split AC/Heater that worked well once we figured out the remote. Several little storage spaces and a small closet.
BEDS: The beds were firm, almost too hard. Down comforters kept the night chill off.
BATHROOMS: The shower was a bit tricky to manage as it was over the claw-footed tub, but the shower curtain was very large and provided good localization of the shower spray.
WORK SPACE: Large work space, used a stool from the bathroom as a second bench for writing.
INTERNET: Free High Speed Internet, very fast, no problems.
BREAKFAST: The meals were simple but adequate.
ELEVATORS: No elevators, marble stairs to all rooms and dining rooms.
ISSUES: No major issues - very enjoyable stay.
OVERALL: Location was perfect, right by the cathedral, within walking distance of everything in the small town.
Parador De Carmona, Carmona, Spain
"LOCATION AWAY FROM CITY, LONG WALK, POOR INTERNET"
LOCATION: Beautiful views but a distance from the village center.
RECEPTION: Excellent front desk staff. Very accommodating.
ROOM: No ventilation unless the windows were open and with farms nearby, there were many bugs and flyes in the room. NO A/C season
BEDS: Good beds, still a bit hard. Plenty of extra pillows and blankets.
BATHROOMS: Good shower. Double sinks both that did not drain. Toilet was in back corner with another door that opened back to cover access to toilet.
WORK SPACE: Not meant for two, but we made it work with another chair from the front desk.
INTERNET: Free Internet was very slow. Sometimes worse than others but this is about the only complaint about the parador.
BREAKFAST: Plentyful with great variety of food and great choices - hot and cold.
ELEVATORS: We were on the first floor close to the elevators but did not hear any noise.
ISSUES: No major issues, but the internet was slow and many people could not access phones WiFi.
OVERALL: Location was away from city but within a long walk.
Parador De Ronda, Ronda, Spain
"A/C OPERATION DEPENDS ON DATE, CLOSE TO CITY CENTER"
LOCATION: Right on the main square. Formerly the City Hall, we were close to everything in both the old and new town.
RECEPTION: Very helpful, bar was very nice to give ice.
ROOM: NoA/C - season for it meant it was not turned on in the hotel. Rooms super hot, had to open door to plaza and to hallway. Plaza was noisy all evening and past midnight. Room finally cooled. Deliveries arrived at 4 AM, moving chairs, lot of noise on the cliff side of the Parador. Great view with patio. A little noisy on the first floor overlooking all of the people on the street. Desk was long so both of us could work. Furniture needs to be refinished.
BEDS: Beds were fine. Extra pillows and blankets.
BATHROOMS: Excellent shower, very clean, double sinks,
WORK SPACE: Spacious enough for two chairs. Only one electrical plug in but made it work.
INTERNET: Faster than other paradores. Internet was super fast, easy to work.
BREAKFAST: Breakfast similar to other Paradores - buffet, many combinations.
ELEVATORS: No need for elevators, walked to dining area - down only one floor.
ISSUES: Very hot! Almost our entire group mentioned how hot it was, hotel felt it was too early to turn on the AC, had to have doors open to get any ventilation or cool air.
OVERALL: Ventilation poor for the first of April.
Parador De Ubeda, Ubeda,Spain
"CLOSE TO CITY CENTER, GOOD BREAKFAST, VERY POOR INTERNET"
LOCATION: Well situated to the town and Main Square. Had to walk with bags to the bus park area as no big busses on the square.
RECEPTION: Welcoming. Quick to respond on Internet issue and offered another room.
ROOM: Nice room, lovely antique furniture. Very spacious, biggest room we have had.
BEDS: Beds were excellent, enough room between the two to walk.
BATHROOMS: Better layout than other paradors. Hair dryer was ancient and did not work well. Shower leaked all over the floor - no seal at the bottom of the door. Could hear next door neighbor in the shower or going to the toilet. Could hear the kids playing in the bathtub.
WORK SPACE: Workspace was good - enough space for two computers. Used big chairs.
INTERNET: Internet was SOOO slow - very bad worst of all the paradores we stayed at. Only one router in whole Parador. Walls were stone and masonry - poor transmission. They need to add routers to every hallway.
BREAKFAST: Same buffet as other paradors - great variety
ELEVATORS: Used the stairs, only had to walk one floor
ISSUES: Nice location but internet was a great disappointment. We had to upload our stories to Canada and it took so long or we had to go to the main floor at 11 PM or later.
OVERALL: Nice layout but long hallways, good breakfast, close to city center.
Hotel Emperador, Madrid, Spain
"PERFECT LOCATION IN CITY CENTER, ROOM VENTILATION WAS POOR"
LOCATION: Great location right on the main street. Theaters and restaurants in each direction.
RECEPTION: Very helpful. Brought us another chair. Helped with PC computer - Francisco Molina was super.
ROOM: Probably the most spacious and well laid out in our tour. Beds with room between. Furniture was old fashioned and needing touch-up.
BEDS: Beds still a bit too hard, extra pillows and blankets.
BATHROOMS: One sink, but the shower worked well. All toiletries replaced each day - very generous. Toilet did not flush fully - never fixed.
WORK SPACE: Large writing desk, brought up additional chair.
INTERNET: Good high speed - fast.
BREAKFAST: Limited, usual European style breakfast.
ELEVATORS: Had to use key card. Three very close to the room.
ISSUES: Room ventilation was minimal.
OVERALL: Center of the city and many things within walking distance. Lot of the room looked old fashioned and showing quite a bit of wear.
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Realized I hadn't read your followup. Was very interesting and the expectations one should be aware of.
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