A bit of history
GRAN HOTEL ALBACETE
Gran Hotel Albacete was opened 1917 replacing the Inn concept and providing the tracellers the comfort that seemed to be exclusively given by the hotels abroad.
By 1905, Gabriel Lodares promoted the ‘Gran Hotel’ great building, placed in the town hall square. This building broke out off the pattern of that period because it appeared with five storeys, and was completed with three cupolas, emerging from the plain to the urban landscape. The façade is eclectic, with different styles: Renaissance, Gothic, Plateresque and Modernist. Both this building and the Lodares arcade represent two of the most emblematic ones in the city of Albacete because of the exquisite composition and ornamentation. Its inner part has been totally rebuilt, in order to blend in, elegance and tradition, with a daring, functional and avant- garde design.
A bit of history: Paradores, Lodges, Inns, Taverns, Hotels
The geographic situation of Albacete was linked, from long time ago, to the need of providing accommodation to travellers like merchants, soldiers, wheelwrights, postmen, passerbys and an endless number of people who had to find a place to stay in because of their jobs, their needings or just for pleasure. There were Inns and Paradores in Albacete since Medieval times, without mentioning the hostelries, which were placed on the roads but not inside the cities. In the XVth century there is evidence of a lodge in the New Square (now, Main Square) that was a usual place for market and a very busy spot because of the Main Street, known as the “The Main one in the town” in the XVI century. Other lodges would be placed in the main roads to enter and leave the town. In the course of time, lodges, which just offered accommodation to people (but not food), and some barley and straw to horses, were improved and other similar places with a superior category appeared: they were the Inns.
A dispatch from the Chief Magistrate in Murcia in the year 1751, compelled all the hostelries, inns and lodges in the way from the Court of Madrid to Murcia, Alicante and Valencia, to improve the dreadful conditions in accommodation that were common throughout the Spanish territory.
It was required to have suitable rooms with clean beds, chairs, writing desks and enough stables for the great number of carriages and horses that were continuously travelling along the mentioned road. It was especially remarked that the inns should have basic products like bread, wine, oil, vinegar, salt, water and rice. In relation to horses they had to have barley, straw and water.It can be proved, through some documents from the Tax Office (Property taxes) in 1879, that apart from the traditional lodges, new accommodation like Inns and Guesthouses appeared.
When the railway arrived in Albacete, the influx of travellers became greater, and so a new kind of traders, civil servants and wealthy men looking forward to knowing the world. They were travellers who avoided the former cohabitation with farmers, soldiers and people from low classes. As a result of that, Guesthouses, Inns and Hotels appeared.
The Gran Hotel is registered in the Industry and Trade property taxes, September 1st, 1917 for the fiscal purpose it is represented as “Tavern, Cafe and Restaurant”. It was Federico Sanchez Maniero who took advantage of it until 1918, when he transferred it to Victoriano Garcia.
In 1919, Jose Garcia Herraiz, who owned the license of the establishment at that moment, stepped up its category to the one of a “hotel” as it was registered in the Registration Book of Contribution. Its opening was announced in the local press by publishing box ads, so the “Opinion” newspaper, August 23rd, 1917 wrote about the opening that was going to take place on September 1st, so that all people from Albacete as well as the ones from other places, could find, because of the Fair, all kind of comfort in a first rank hotel (...) with “French and Spanish cuisine”. It was not the only building made for leisure time, which could be admired because the new bullring was also opened in that year. September 8th, 1917 “El defensor de Albacete” newspaper wrote about the opening of the Gran Hotel Café which had been celebrated the previous morning, without any flashiness, but with all kind of comfort, and served by twelve waiters. The official opening, which was due to be a brilliant celebration, couldn’t be accomplished because of the strikes.