Despite being teased by mild weather this week, summer is nearly over – but there’s still time to soak up the last of that summer sun.
Hotel Camiral is a five-star luxury escape for anyone looking for a chic Catalonian adventure, regardless of whether you’re interested in perfecting your swing.
Where is it?
The hotel sits on the doorstep of the medieval town of Girona and just an hour’s drive from Barcelona if you fancy combining your trip with a seaside city break – there’s a high-speed train that connects the two cities in just 39 minutes. The sandy beaches of the Costa Brava are also just 20 minutes away, though the biggest draw of Camiral is you don’t need to leave. The resort itself is set amid the sleepy Spanish countryside in the perfectly picturesque, manicured grounds of the world-leading PGA Catalunya Resort, with views over its two award-winning championship golf courses, built for the Ryder Cup in 1997. Treat yourself to a four-hour tapas and wine crawl around Girona with Girona Food Tours one evening: the rest of the time, everything you need – cocktails, tapas, Insta-worthy pool shots – is a two-minute stroll from your room.
Camiral re-opened in 2016 after an extensive facelift, and it shows. The hotel was completely rebuilt by famed Catalan architect and Barcelona-based interior designer Lázaro Rosa-Violan, known for his light, airy style. The result is sky-high ceilings, calming neutral palettes and sweeping sun-dappled terraces. It feels chic, but not stuffy, and there’s a Spanish twist: furnishings are sourced from local Catalan designers and bathrooms feature gilded mirrors and hand-painted Spanish murals above the bathtub. The whole place feels sophisticated yet homely, with tan leather sofas in the laid-back lounge bar and a chic modern library with floor to ceiling windows and two-storey bookcases around a fireplace.
All of Camiral’s 149 rooms look out over the pool, gardens or golf course, so we didn’t need to worry about view envy, and floor-to-ceiling windows meant we could gaze out over the landscaped grounds from bed. Inside, rooms are decked out with wooden floorboards, beige and white furnishings and elegant artworks. There’s an Illy coffee machine for lazy mornings on the balcony and bathrooms feature toiletries from The White Company alongside a bathtub and a rain shower. Upgrade to the Presidential Suite for true luxury: it features a vast entrance hall, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, sitting room, dining area and a large private terrace with panoramic views of the Tour Course.
At Camiral’s heart is the 25-metre aquamarine tiled infinity pool, symmetrically fringed with the hotel’s signature sunloungers striped in green and white. Take a dip (there’s a small paddling pool for children) or paddle at ankle height in the hidden shallows at the edge – perfect if you can’t put your book down. Don’t pack too much of a page-turner, though, for the hotel’s biggest draw is the activities: the resort’s two award-winning 18-hole golf courses, The Stadium Course and The Tour Course, are naturally the star attraction, but there’s plenty to keep you occupied without getting in a golf buggy. On-site, there’s a gym with Technogym equipment, tennis courts and group nature walks led by the hotel’s resident expert biologist, while cycling, fishing, hiking and horse-riding are popular among guests – Tom Daley and his husband Dustin Lance Black shared a picture of their cycling endeavours during a recent visit to the hotel. We spent a morning exploring the local villages by bike with a guide – ask for Gethin from Girona-based company Eat Sleep Cycle, then treat yourself to an afternoon in the spa. It’s cosy, with all the necessary luxuries from treatments to a sauna, and is set to be extended later this year as part of the resort’s three-year plan to build a one-stop luxury retreat – a new vineyard, equestrian centre, deli and man-made lake for beach and water sports are all on their way.
Food & drink
Days begin with a buffet breakfast on the pool terrace. We soaked up the previous night’s cava hangover with Bircher muesli, fresh fruit and artisan yoghurt, and there’s an impressive spread, from clean green juices to smoked salmon and eggs to order. After that, you can choose to eat your meals almost anywhere, from the laid-back Lounge Bar to The Club Cafe Restaurant (just a minute’s golf buggy ride away) nestled behind the first tee. Over the course of the weekend we dined like kings: fresh Caesar salads and cold beer on the clubhouse terrace, reviving post-swim tapas in the shade by the pool, scallops and succulent prime aged beef washed down with lashings of red wine in the candlelit 1477 restaurant. The wine list largely focuses on Spanish bottles and there are 15 varieties of gin behind the bar for a pre-dinner tipple. Weeks later and I’m still dreaming of the refreshing G&T made for us by Mike the Glaswegian bartender, a tantalizingly sweet blend of Brockman’s gin and summer berries.
What to Instagram
The infinity pool, from almost every angle: looking down from your room, at breakfast on the pool terrace, from the signature striped sun loungers arranged neatly around the water’s edge. They’re Instagram heaven, even if the sun isn’t shining.
Golfers and (even mild) sports enthusiasts looking for five-star luxury just two hours from London.
How to get there
Fly to Girona-Costa Brava Airport, an easy two-hour flight from London Stansted and just a ten-minute taxi from the hotel at the other end, or make a trip of it and combine with a city break in Barcelona. We travelled with Vueling, which has regular flights to Barcelona from London from just £20.
When should I go?
Summer is prime time but autumn is arguably better for catching the last of the hot weather without being on top of other guests. We visited in September and temperatures were still in the high twenties and low thirties – perfect for lounging by the pool, which we had (almost) to ourselves. Just what you want when you’ve chosen a luxe Spanish escape. We left feeling the calmest we’d felt in months.
Room rates start from £180 for a Standard Deluxe room, based on two sharing, on a bed and breakfast basis.
PGA Catalunya Resort, Carretera N-II, Km. 701, 17455 Caldes de Malavella, Girona, Spain (+34 972 472 249/hotelcamiral.com/en)
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