High on a hilltop, within sight of the sea, there is an imposing mediaeval castle called Castell d'Emporda. 700 years ago the castle belonged to Pere Margarit, a sea-captain who sailed with Christopher Columbus. Today it is a unique hotel, stylish but casual, owned by Albert Diks.
Thick stone walls and ancient timbers are everywhere at Castell d'Emporda, and nowhere more so than in the bar, that is formed in the ancient cellars of the castle. This is a relaxing and unique spot for enjoying fine wines, elegant cocktails and cigars.
All 35 rooms are individually decorated, featuring silks from India and furniture imported from Italy, Morocco, Africa and China. Every one has a lovely view. The Castle Rooms are located in the original part of the castle. They are tastefully decorated with Indian silk curtains and pillows in red, blue and mother-of-pearl colours, Chinese wood panels and hand-made bathroom tiles from Marrakech, all of which combine harmoniously with the rustic mediaeval stone walls. The views over the rolling pine-covered hills are breathtaking. The Garden Rooms are in a superb new building constructed in sympathetic style alongside the castle. It is situated next to the pool and has its own roof garden. All these rooms have antique oak floorboards, silk curtains, Italian and Chinese furniture, and private balconies from which one can enjoy stunning sunsets.The Tower Rooms are located, unsurprisingly, in the tower. These are intimate rooms, just right for romantic lovers. The Pere Margarit Suite is found right in the heart of the castle. This was the original master bedroom that has been beautifully restored with stained glass windows, Victorian bathtub and yet more Indian silks. New for 2007 are the large Garden Suites, specially decorated by the renowned interior designer Cristina Gabas in a style that is contemporary, yet with classical touches.
Castell d'Empordà is the ideal place to discover Catalonia. The rolling hills and picturesque villages are a pleasure to explore. There are outstanding walks, hikes and bike routes, as well as a wide range of possibilities for sports and culture. The Pyrenees are just around the corner and the area is a golfers' paradise with 9 golf courses on hand. And don't forget the beaches! All the swimming, sunbathing, relaxation and watersports of the Costa Brava are just 20 minutes away.
How can a castle be both imposing and intimate at the same time? I don't really know, but Castell d'Emporda manages to achieve it. Perhaps it's really down to the warm personality of its present on-site owner and his friendly staff.
A Word from the Owner
Have you ever fallen in love with a place? This is what happened to me when I came face-to-face with the ruins of the 800 year-old Castell d'Emporda. After a 3 year restoration it is now a unique spot where you can enjoy the beautiful things of life.
Located in the tower of the castle, these rooms have spectacular views. They are intimately decorated and are the ideal choice for romantic couples. The bathrooms are equipped with a shower.
This is a spectacular new building that was constructed on the eastern side of the castle. It is situated next to the pool and it has a roof garden. All these rooms, decorated with antique oak floorboards, silk curtains, Italian and Chinese furniture, also have private balconies from which one can enjoy stunning sunsets. Room 16 has balcony doors overlooking the medieval village.
These rooms are located in the original part of the castle. They are tastefully decorated with Indian silk curtains and pillows in red, blue and mother-of-pearl colours, Chinese wood panels and hand made bathroom tiles from Marrakech, all of which harmoniously combine with the rustic medieval stonewalls. The views over the Emporda's rolling pine hills are breathtaking.
Decorated in a contemporary style with classical aesthetic references. Light colours with a mediaeval touch and natural materials such as antique oak, teak and natural stone keep in touch with nature. There is a separate living area and bedroom. The bathroom is inspired by a Turkish hamman. Both bathoom and the bedroom have balconies overlooking the amazing landscapes of the Ampurdan.
Located in the heart of the castle, this was the original master bedroom that has been beautifully restored with stained glass windows, Victorian bathtub and Indian silks.
The restaurant at Castell d'Emporda is a focal point for hotel guests and connoisseurs of good food from around the area. Chef Abel Cardozo and his team like to surprise their diners with special dishes always made from the freshest ingredients. Each dish possesses the ultimate castle feeling: the rich cuisine of the Mediterranean, either grown in the hotel's own garden or brought in daily from the neighbouring farms and fishing villages.
Every day guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks and a romantic dinner at Castell d`Empordà, either in the restaurant or outside on the spacious terraces.
Beaches, walking, cycling, golf.
Llafranc, Calella, Aiguablava and Begur are only 20 minutes away, which are known as some of the best beaches of the Costa Brava.
There are outstanding walks and cycle routes all around the Emporda area, usually not too demanding as the terrain is rolling rather than rugged.
For golfers, there are many excellent courses to choose from. Castell d'Emporda has special arrangements for its guests with:
Serres de Pals
Platja de Pals
Mas Nou d'Aro
Places to visit:
The mediaeval villages of Emporda
Girona (or Gerona): mediaeval city with its old bridges, the beautifully restored Jewish quarter and the widest Cathedral in Spain.
Figueres: full of historical and cultural interest, with monuments and museums, such as the famous and bizarre Dalí Theatre Museum.
Barcelona: 1¼ hours by car.
Reviews from Little Hotels Travellers:
"This is a magical hotel that lives up to the glowing description in Little Hotels of Spain. The new Garden Rooms are first class with a flat-screen TV; relaxing sofa area; stunning bathroom; plus the bonus of beautiful views across the countryside (the higher the better, so seek the 4th floor if available). Be there for sunset! A walk through the hotel's tranquil gardens is rewarding. There are some quirks such as the need to carry your luggage up a high staircase and some minor maintenance issues, but these are tolerable. Unless you are intent on chilling out by the scenic pool, a car is essential to access the local beaches and beautiful Catalonian villages such as Ullastret or Peratallada - though these two can be reached by cycle. The adjacent town of La Bisbal d'Emporda has many ceramic shops but gardeners and landscapers might prefer to visit the "Antic" stoneware and statuary outlets surrounding La Bisbal.
Most guests choose to eat at the hotel's outdoor restaurant where the wine-list benefits from local brands from Emporda. (There is one of Europe's largest and most modern air-conditioned wine stores called "Grau", 15 minutes away on the outskirts of Palafrugell - though even Grau did not have all the Castell's wine list). Note that smoking is permitted at the outdoor restaurant and beware of large parties containing noisy children when selecting your table. The menu is Catalan so, on occasion, we Northerners may require extra vegetables/potatoes. For a change, dine one night in Peratallada - perhaps in the very pretty Restaurant Candelaria.
The only resort to trump the Castell d'Emporda is the nearby Hotel Mas de Torrent - but you will need to double your budget!
My wife and I are very grateful to Little Hotels for circumventing the 3-day minimum to allow us to book 2 nights. We hope to see you next year."
"We enjoyed our stay immensely, and will probably return. "
Here's What Some People Have Written On Other Review Sites or in the Guestbook:
"A fantastic castle with great views and superb cuisine."
"Beautiful hotel with breathtaking view, gourmet dinners were the finest we experienced in Spain."
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