Thursday, August 13, 2009

All modern luxuries in former monasteries

Four of the best: hotels in former monasteries - Telegraph

One of the oldest Benedictine monasteries in Galicia, north-west Spain, has been converted into the contemporary Parador de Santo Estevo. Rising dramatically from a densely forested hillside and overlooking the Ribeira Sacra, where the Sil and Miño rivers meet, the monastery can be traced back to the sixth century, and has visible Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque elements.

It was declared a historic monument in 1923. What is remarkable about the place is that while it is stylish and modern, with warm, tactile furnishings, it also feels wonderfully historic, and no two of the 77 bedrooms – spread among three cloistered areas – are the same.

The restaurant, with an emphasis on local food, offers alfresco dining in fine weather. A spa was recently added, featuring a heated indoor pool, sauna, relaxation zone and the intriguing (and chilly-sounding) ‘bi-thermal Scottish shower’.
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