You’ve probably got the gist that I’m partial to unique hideaways when I go on holiday – charm, originality, interiors to drool over and the opposite end of the chain-hotel spectrum..
So I was smugly pleased with myself when I stumbled upon Les Hamaques in the Catalunia region of Spain. A sea of greys and ultra-cool decor – I was sold even before I discovered it’s the home of former interior designer Dominic and his wife, Ino, a journalist and stylist – clearly a couple with impeccable taste and a natural eye for the creative.
The house springs straight out of a design portfolio with its whitewashed walls and iconic furniture (Mr B has rattled on about Barcelona chairs for so long that I can now spot them a mile off), it has just five bedrooms, each individual and exuding a natural air of calm. The rooms are full of earthy tones with concrete floors, rain showers, big windows and each with some form of private terrace.
The hotel’s name is taken from the hammocks that hang in the garden amongst the lavender trees – a haven of tranquillity where I was mostly to be found horizontal on a sun lounger reading Julia Childs’ autobiography. There’s also a petite swimming pool, sized perfectly for a cool-off and a couple of restorative laps.
Dominic and Ino are the ideal hosts – they popped up to lay out our yummy fresh continental breakfast (no other meals are served, other than dinner which can be made on request) but left us in peace for the duration of our stay. Mr B and I are unsocial sods when we’re abroad, none of this casual chitchat nonsense, we’re there to unwind and zone out, heck, we’re lucky if we even bother talking to each other!... They are both, however, always to be found around the house when need be and were muchly helpful in recommending places to eat out nearby such as a-gorgeous-hotel-beside-the-sea that we can't remember the name of, sorry (no amount of Googling has solved this mystery and I has considered the possibility we imagined it except for a very blurry photo of the bar we possess) and happy to reserve for us too – given that our Spanish doesn’t stretch beyond “Cava por favor”.
The beach is a 5km drive away – you’ll need a car because the village of Vildamat where Les Hamaques is situated is, quiet and uneventful, to put it mildly. If you like nothing better than to sun-soak and inhale a mountain of books on your travels, then you may be happy just taxi-ing to and from the nearest airport (Girona) but I’d suggest car hire would be a better plan to get out and about.
A drive to Girona should be set aside for a day's culture outing – it's a delightful historic city with plenty to see and do. Fans of film must must pay a visit to the Cinema Museum – a three-storey building dedicated to the history of cinema through the ages. I've been there three times over the years but still haven't made a trip inside St Pauls, a 10 minute walk from my office - a fact that both baffles and annoys me on a daily basis but am too rubbish to remedy.
When we stayed, Mini B was a four-month-old bump in my tum and the days of not being able to travel without a checklist of 4000 items were still a misty-eyed daydream into our future. Les Hamaques is not a hideaway for children – that’s the point. It’s a romantic, peaceful retreat, where frankly, the sight or sound of a mardy toddler running riot would skew its whole ethos.
I’m cool with that, it's exactly the holiday we craved and lust over now for a cheeky anniversary sojourn. It doesn’t pretend to be family-friendly and if you rocked up thinking otherwise you’d be as daft as heading to Butlins with a suitcase full of party wear and high heels.
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