The Parador de León, Hostal de San Marcos, is once again receiving customers as of this December, once the complete renovation of this historic building has been completed. A project by the architect Mina Bringas which has been executed by the construction company FCC.
The Parador de León closed to the public three years ago, in December 2017, in order to undergo a comprehensive reform. The Parador was divided into two different spaces: the historical Parador, Hostal de San Marcos, and the “modern” building from the 70s. At that time it was decided that the work would be divided into two phases. PHASE I: the reform of the historic building and, PHASE II: the construction of a new building for which the existing modern building attached to the historic building was demolished.
The main idea of the project for the rehabilitation of the Hostal de San Marcos – explains Mina Bringas – is “to recover the original volumetry of the building, a building with perimetral corridors around a patio. This space is recovered as the heart of the building. We have named it atrium in reference to the Roman domus that was the center of the house from where all the uses were distributed”.
For this purpose, a closed interior atrium has been built, but with the entrance of natural light. It is a “new plant” space. Bringas explains that “the intervention that was done in the 60s was a very hard intervention with the building”, since it destroyed the central patio, forging plants to give them hotel use. Now, this newly recovered space will house the Parador’s cafeteria and, above it, hanging at a high altitude, the spectacular ceiling by Lucio Muñoz, which has been restored, can be seen in all its splendour. “The Parador had this work by Lucio Muñoz which was located in one of the halls and which now has been given prominence as the crowning glory of this building,” said the architect.
Mina Bringas states that the intervention has been carried out with total respect for the historic building. It has been done “with care, always with actions that do not touch the original parameters, reversible in all cases and respectful of everything: with the material itself and with the volumetry of the original spaces.
He describes the interior of the building as “a sober interior, with few materials. It does not compete with the exterior”. The architect adds that they have used “mainly natural stone, natural woods and then a dark color that brings me a bit of the monastic air of a building of this type, with a cloister, which has had many uses, which has been a convent or hospital”.
Restoration of masterpieces of art
The closure of the establishment has been used to restore some of the valuable works that the Hostal de San Marcos treasures. Recently, work has been completed to recover “The Birth of Christ”, a piece created by the Renaissance artist Juan de Juni in the 16th century and located in the old cloister. Under the criteria of minimum intervention, delicate cleaning, consolidation and light reintegration works have been carried out that allow to enjoy in all its splendor this unique piece.
In addition, the ceiling by Lucio Muñoz, the Inmaculada by Antonio de Pereda y Salgado or emblematic pieces such as the 18th century mirrors that preside over the main staircase have been restored to their original appearance. The consolidation of the 16th century coffered ceiling of the Chapter House is also underway, following the disinsectation carried out to treat the wood.
Paradores has reviewed the state of conservation of all the works and has restored seventeen paintings, another seven pieces including carvings and furniture, as well as antique frames.
Spaniards trust Paradores
Paradores is the only large Spanish hotel chain that has reopened all its establishments after de-climbing. It did so on 25 June after three months of inactivity, which it took advantage of to reinforce all its hygiene and safety protocols. The procedures of the Paradores have always been very rigorous, but now they have gone far beyond the official recommendations. The public chain has worked to become the safest tourist destination to ensure the safety of its employees and customers.
In a summer campaign marked by the fall in foreign tourism, the Spanish have put their trust in Paradores, which have reached an occupation of 72% in July, 82% in August and 67% in September. The fact that the majority of their establishments are located in remote places, far from mass tourism, as well as the size of their hotels, almost all of which are medium or small, facilitates the rigorous implementation of safety and hygiene controls to make them the safest tourist place to spend a few days of rest or to hold family or business meetings.