Catalan countryside hotel, Spain

“Stone built country house converted into a sports & spa hotel with 11 en-suite bedrooms inviting guests to explore the surrounding countryside or stay put by the pool.”

Highlights

Choice of 17 en-suite guest rooms | on-site swimming pool, sauna, Jacuzzi and massage rooms | accessible woodland walks and cycling trails | self-guided maps, local guides and sports therapy sessions | day trip ideas by car include: Girona, Figueres, Besalu and Banyole | cultural classes and kids' activities also available |

Accessible tourism overview
We are all can do people, so we will customise what you require so that you can make the most of your vacation. We have had a range of guests with different disabilities stay at the hotel and we are only to happy to help. Activities and the hotel are both accessible. The sports club on the lake is also accessible and looks after professional para-olympic athletes for kayaking and rowing. The horse riding center 1km from the hotel is certified for disabled riders and they have a lot of experience with different disabilities and making sure you enjoy your time horse riding.
Limited mobility:
We have two fully accessible bathrooms and also 6 new suites all with walk in showers. There is a short ramp or 4 stairs up to the pool area. The gym and tv games room and sauna are all on the ground floor. The dining area is on the first floor and there are stairs to reach it. But for those that prefer they can enjoy breakfast and evening dinner on the patio area enjoying the views or in the ground floor barrel vault. There is also a new shaded outdoor eating area in the garden of the new suites. There is a level footpath around the lake for you to enjoy a hike. Onsite we have a sports injury therapist and massage therapist should you want to enjoy some coaching. For those who can walk 400 meters plus we you can enjoy short walks from the hotel or we can suggest local medieval towns for you to enjoy a walk around.
Wheelchair:
Activities and the hotel are both wheelchair accessible. The hotel has two wheelchair accessible bedrooms, both with a roll in shower with seat and a double bar by the toilet and a lower easily accessible sink. The door ways for the rooms are 90cm wide. The pool area is accessible up a ramp and has a large patio area. There is no hoist but we are here to help and we have inflatables/buoyancy devices as required. There is also a small sit down whirlpool to cool off in and relax. The dining area is on the first floor and there are stairs to reach it. But for those that prefer they can enjoy breakfast and evening dinner on the patio area enjoying the views or in the ground floor barrel vault.  The city of Girona has a wheelchair accessible map, that shows you how to explore the old town and enjoy the sites. Onsite at the hotel we have a sports injury therapist and massage therapist should you want to enjoy some coaching.
Blind or limited vision:
We are more than happy to cater for people who are blind or have limited vision. In addition the door code pads have braille numbers.
Deaf or limited hearing:
We are more than happy to cater for people who are deaf or have limited hearing.
Cognitive conditions:
Everyone is very understanding and helpful and this area is quiet and relaxed. For example Autistic children have found the quiet large rooms and the woods at the back of the property to allow them to relax. There is also a quiet place to find peace.
Free from food:
We take nutrition very seriously. Meals are all freshly cooked from fresh ingredients. Special dietary requirements are absolutely no problem. We are used to allergies, intolerances and special requirements. We customise everything as required, just let us know in advance, so for example if you have a nut allergy, we will remove nuts from the kitchen for your stay.
LGBT:
Everyone is welcome. We have guests from all over the world, from all ages, all genders, all backgrounds. We want everyone to be able to have a healthy active happy vacation.
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Responsible tourism

Catalan countryside hotel, Spain

Carbon reduction

Your vacation will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this vacation and how to reduce them.

We think about water and power usage and what waste we are producing. So all electric items use the least watts possible. We do have a large AC unit run by PV electric solar panels in the center of the building to keep the bedrooms at a good temperature (25°C indoor temp even in the last heat waves). People are always amazed how cool it is in the Summer inside. We also have shutters fitted to all the windows, so we can shut the shutters in the Summer to prevent the sun warming up the rooms. As the walls are really thick and as we have thought about window placement, this means in the Summer the sun misses the south facing windows due to the sun height, but in the winter can warm up the rooms as the sun is at a lower height and therefore shines in. We also vent in the cool night air in the Summer. The new suites have the eco ventilation for the night and we run the AC in the afternoon via the PV panels. To keep what PV electric we make we first turn on the central AC unit in the main building, as that keeps its temperature well. Then in the afternoon we move the solar power to the AC units in the new suits to get them down to 24°C and then at night we turn on the eco ventilation. The window and the roof placement for the new suites allows for shade in the Summer and the suns warmth in the Winter, so we hardly ever need to heat the new garden suites in Winter.

We have a solar pool cover and a PV solar system run the AC and the hotel in daylight hours. This means our pool is swimmable from March through to November all via the suns power. Our light bulbs are all eco and we think about each watt that is used. Our hair dryers are all 1kw rather than 2kw for example and we do not have electric kettles. Instead we provide thermoses of hot water for tea and coffee in the dining room and kettles on the gas rings of the BBQs. We look at each product and try and reasearch and buy the ones that used the least amount of power but still function well.

We plan to keep buying PV panels and adding more AC units as the number of heat waves escalate, so that we are not burning fossil fuels to keep cool. We also plan to buy an electric renault vehicle and more PV panels so we can do airport and train station transfers using the power of the sun. We are off grid, but do not be scared, most people do not even notice.

Environment

We think about water and power usage and what waste we are producing. We plant local plants like olives and lavender that require little watering. We have left the wood at the back of the property that we look after and harvest, but still keep the healthy trees. The harvested wood is then used in the wood burning stoves. We have underfloor heating as in the winter the nights can be a little chilly. The historic house has been rebuilt in the old ways but with added insulation, so it stays warm in winter but cool in Summer. The walls are 60cm thick, so slowly heat up in the Summer and then keep their heat through the winter. This system works really well, so you do not need much AC, but we do have a large AC unit run by PV panels in the center of the building to keep the bedrooms at a good temperature (25°C indoor temp even in the last heat waves). People are always amazed how cool it is in the Summer inside. We also have shutters fitted to all the windows, so we can shut the shutters in the Summer to prevent the sun warming up the rooms. As the walls are really thick and as we have thought about window placement, this means in the Summer the sun misses the south facing windows due to the sun height, but in the winter can warm up the rooms as the sun is at a lower height and therefore shines in. We also vent in the cool night air in the Summer. The new suites have the eco ventilation for the night and we run the AC in the afternoon via the PV panels. To keep what PV electric we make we first turn on the central AC unit in the main building, as that keeps its temperature well. Then in the afternoon we move the power to the AC units in the new suits to get them down to 24°C and then at night we turn on the eco ventilation. The window and the roof placement for the new suites allows for shade in the Summer and the suns warmth in the Winter, so we hardly ever need to heat the new garden suites in Winter.

We have a solar pool cover and a PV solar system run the AC and the hotel in daylight hours. This means our pool is swimmable from March through to November all via the suns power. Our light bulbs are all eco and we think about each watt that is used. Our hair dryers are all 1kw rather than 2kw for example and we do not have electric kettles. Instead we provide thermoses of hot water for tea and coffee in the dining room and kettles on the gas rings of the BBQs. We look at each product and try and reasearch and buy the ones that used the least amount of power but still function well.

All waste is divided and what can be recycled is recycled. We also compost. All of our waste water goes through a septic tank which technically produces drinkable water. We water our garden from the old cisternas which are connected to our roof, so we collect rainwater to fill the cisternas, as they did in the old days. We run the whole of our small boutique hotel on 4kw usually, but can up the power automatically for example if everyone turns on their hairdryers at the same time. But usually we run at less than 4kw, which for such a large place is unheard of in Spain.

We plan to keep buying PV panels and adding more AC units as the number of heat waves escalate, so that we are not burning fossil fuels to keep cool. We are off grid, but do not be scared, most people do not even notice.

Community

Where we can we buy local in season produce, so for example our onions are Figueres onions, apples & pear from local orchards, local wines etc. We also have our own small vegetable garden. We buy locally and use local companies for almost everything. We also support the local restaurants, by booking tables for our clients. We send our clients to the local best shops if they require anything and let them know the local market days etc.

We offer good wages to locals and train them. For example we have been employing a local guy and supporting him in his university masters studies to become a more qualified sports coach.

We are part of the local community and support the Gegants (this is a local tradition where at festivals the local Gegants (people wearing huge heads, to make them look like giants) go and dance and perform.

We campaigned with the local community against high voltage power lines being put in the area. The campaign was not completely successful but we did manage to get them moved so as not to disturb as much of the local wildlife. We all offered to club together to pay for them to go underground, but the electrical company said this would set a precedent and would not allow it. Which we find ridiculous. In the end the power company said they would put the line where they wanted it or they would work with the local town councils to come up with the best solution, although they would not bury it. So we did have a small effect, but not the one we wanted. The MAT is a very controversial project here, but it has all been passed in Madrid and Catalunya is very angry.

7 Reviews of Catalan countryside hotel, Spain

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 27 Sep 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Meeting and getting to know people from different countries, and sharing experiences and meals with them. Also, the variety of activities on offer, in stunning scenery, and the expertise and helpful advice from our hosts, Fiona and Gareth, meant that we could explore the surrounding area or just relax by the outdoor pool.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Ask advice from Fiona or Gareth about places of interest when you are out and about.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. the accommodation is off-grid and uses solar energy, a solar pool cover and centrally located courteouslythermos flasks of hot water instead of electric kettles in individual rooms. Food waste is composted and glass, paper, cans and plastic are recycled. Food is locally sourced, and two local ladies have been trained and are employed to help in the kitchen and with cleaning.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Wonderful! Fiona and Gareth are excellent hosts, and the accommodation has a real 'home from home' feel. Nothing is too much trouble for them, from arranging activities such as horseback riding to helpfully responding to any queries.

Reviewed on 03 Sep 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


So many lovely places, arriving at night with the tiny windows lit up, the smell of the air, exploring the village Seinya with it's fruit trees, vegetable patches and beautiful sand coloured buildings and village square and gentle village life, arriving in Besalu-wow, the most spectacular Medieval village, swimming in the lake at Banyoles, the landscape, seeing a wide boar, swimming in the river, visiting Girona-that first veiw of the old town lining the river, the cat family...the teenagers getting on and mucking about in the pool together!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Shops, restaurants and cafes seriously do close around 1 o'clock and (sometimes) open in the evening. This kept catching us out! Bring more money than you think you'll need, the pound is pretty weedy! Try the pub in the village for talking to locals, friendliness and good humour, and really good toasties. Ask Fiona and Gareth, they will help with anything you'd like to do and suggest lovely (long!) walks/ cycle routes. Go walking and on buses, it's beautiful.

Also, we flew from Liverpool which was great, really small and friendly (and autism and disability friendly, with 2 of our our children this really made a difference!) with a 2 hour flight, and quick transfer thanks to Gareth.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. Fiona and Gareth know the area so well and will recommend places to eat (and take you there if you wish) and places to visit, stables where the horses are treated well, and have even adopted an extended family of cats. There are very few tourists here, even in Besalu which is spectacular. You feel like you are discovering Catalonia. The accommodation is a lovely old stone building, with shuttered windows and thick stone walls, with modern innovations to reduce its environmental impact and live in harmony within this beautiful area.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Really lovely. Exploring and relaxing, being with our 4 children (there is wifi and a snug sitting room, too) and feeling safe to let them explore. Our youngest loved the pool and could manage the walk in shower-with-a-seat independently and spent hours in both! A beautiful, calm place to be, with a delicious breakfast (the best scrambled eggs!) - so much to explore - and cycling, walking and riding too, with our lovely, funny and down to earth hosts Fiona and Gareth to look after us, just perfect.

Reviewed on 01 Nov 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Perfect relaxing, rural location convenient to sight-seeing spots such as Girona and Besalu.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


We are cyclists, but traveling with both a grandparent and small children, we didn't book here for the cycling but rather for the location. We rented a car and found this to be a perfect base from which to enjoy touring Besalu, Girona and many other local points of interest.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes!

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?



Reviewed on 22 Apr 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


It was lovely to be able to ride along quiet roads taking in the beautiful views with the snowcapped Pyrenees in the distance. Our 12 year old athletic son was thrilled to be able to ride a good quality road bike, and the few drivers we
encountered were so thoughtful and gave us plenty of space. This is a great place for dedicated cyclists but also offer interesting cultural sites. We visited the local palaeolithic caves, saw the Dalν Theatre Museum in Figueres and did a day
trip to L'Escala and the interesting Greek/Roman remains of Emporium where we also took a swim in the sea (refreshing!). Our hosts, Fiona and Gareth and their children, were very friendly and helpful. They provide a great place
for visitors interested in an active vacation.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


To get the most of this vacation, be prepared to be active, Fiona and Gareth are very helpful setting up your bikes and giving advice on suitable routes and other things to do.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, we were introduces to local restaurants and people and you could tell the house was refurbished with the environment in mind.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


It was a great vacation, a bit like when we go skiing... you come home feeling fit and energised.

It would be useful to have a map indicating places to eat/snack on the road (with reviews). The Catalan food is quite meaty and it can be a bit difficult to get a tasty, healthy meal.

Reviewed on 16 May 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Cycling in the beautiful countryside. The freshly baked bread with the evening meal at the hotel.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


I would recommend hiring a car.
Bring a Spanish phrase book as English did not seem to be widely understood ( not a problem at the hotel)
Not that easy to find veggie options when eating in local restaurants.However the hotel restaurant provided excellent veggie food and the owners can advise on where to eat.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes the hotel was very environmentally aware.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Hotel highly recommended. Very Clean. Staff helpful and knowledgeable. Beautiful location.

Reviewed on 03 Sep 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Beautiful accommodation, loads to do and a wonderful Salvador Dali Museum to add to the healthy, outdoor break.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Plan your fitness regime - loads to do, too little time!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. Based in a small village where we were encouraged to spend time. Very environment conscious family.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Great. I'd go again.

Reviewed on 07 Apr 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


I thought my hosts were amazingly helpful. The house was lovely . There was lots to do in the local area and I loved the walking.
Fiona and Gareth were on hand for advice and the emphasis on Sports was very interesting.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


I had my bag stolen in Girona. I think it was unusual in the city but I would take care not to carry everything around with you .take copies of passports and have emergency numbers at home. I found the local people including the police really helpful.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Despite the setbacks I really enjoyed my vacation. In fact I was very impressed with the support I was given by my hosts who were determined that I should enjoy myself which I did. I thought the area was great for walking with good transport links to local towns. I did not have to hire a car and using public transport meant I mingled with the locals. Lots of walking trails and maps in the house. A good break with something different.

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