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“What’s on top of the hill out there?” I asked the general manager of Mas de Torrent Hotel & Spa, even though I knew what she was going to say.
“It’s a castle,” she answered. “You can borrow a bicycle and ride over there if you want. Or you can ride to the Mediterranean; it’s about an hour by bike, and it’s a really nice ride.”
Welcome to Spain’s Emporda region, along the Costa Brava in Catalonia. It is about 90 minutes by car from Barcelona, where the choices include exploring a medieval castle or taking a dip in the Mediterranean — not to mention sampling the hotel’s world-class spa, enjoying a meal in its amazing restaurant or sipping a glass of local wine on the terrace.
Not a lot of bad options in these parts.
Mas de Torrent is a luxurious, Relais & Chateau property in a restored 18th-century farmhouse. The hotel has a total of 39 suites, divided between the main farmhouse and the garden buildings. The 10 suites in the farmhouse, each named after a flower, have retained their original layout and have been decorated with antiques. In a sitting area on the top floor of the farmhouse near these rooms, the staff puts out a carafe of local wine each afternoon for guests who want to relax, sip wine and take in the amazing views of the surrounding countryside.
In the main farmhouse there is also a terrace, a comfortable sitting room with a fireplace (and great Wi-Fi access), a billiards room and a small sports pub.
In the gardens, there are another 22 modern suites, each with a large private terrace. These rooms are spacious and comfortable, with all the necessary modern amenities. Seven of these garden suites come with their own private pool as well.
In addition, the hotel features an amazing state-of the-art spa and fitness area. Set in a modern building on a hill behind the main house, the spa features four treatment rooms, a sun terrace, a hammam bath, a sauna, a hydrotherapy treatment area, a relaxation room and a large heated pool.
There is a large outdoor pool on the property as well, with comfortable lounge chairs and a sunning area.
The hotel’s restaurant is overseen by renowned chef Jordi Garrido. Chef Garrido’s menu is inventive and sophisticated, relying heavily on the amazing local ingredients available in this part of Spain. Travel agents should know that chef Garrido enjoys welcoming groups into his kitchen for appetizers and aperitifs before serving dinner, so it’s worth enquiring about this option when making reservations.
What really makes Mas de Torrent special, however, is its idyllic location between Barcelona and the French border, in Spain’s Emporda region. This area is marked by the Mediterranean woodlands, the beautiful secluded beaches of the Costa Brava and rolling farmlands and meadows filled with sunflowers, olive trees, oaks and lavender. The region has the kind of magical ambience that one can feel in places such as Tuscany, Provence and Napa Valley.
And, as one of the best properties in the region, Mas de Torrent offers visitors the opportunity to experience the beauty of the Emporda region while enjoying the sophistication and amenities of a five-star resort.