Style Catalan castle cool
Setting Costa Brava countryside
Sandwiched splendidly between the Pyrenees peaks and the Costa Brava’s cliffs and coves, mediaeval Castell d’Empordà is a Catalan ruin that has been transformed into a luxury boutique hotel. East of Girona, in the Catalan countryside, this romantic retreat includes rooms in the castle – once home to an explorer who sailed with Christopher Columbus – and is fittingly strewn with exotic treasures from across the globe.
Need to know
- Rooms 38, including nine suites.
Double rooms from AU$256.86 (€195), excluding tax at 10 per cent.
The price shown represents the lowest nightly rate for a double room available at this hotel over the next 21 days. Any price conversions from the hotel's local currency (€195) have been conducted using today's exchange rates from xe.com.
- More details Rates include buffet breakfast.
- Facilities Gardens, library including DVDs, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD player and minibar.
- Poolside There’s a turquoise-tiled, heated outdoor pool in the gardens, overlooking the green-gold scenery.
- Check-out 12pm; earliest check-in, 2pm.
- Children Little Smiths are welcome, with cots provided free, extra beds for €40 a night and babysitting with a nanny (€20–€25 an hour, book three days in advance).
- Also Smoking is allowed in some bedrooms and in the hotel’s communal areas. A three-night minimum stay is required between 16 July and 11 September.
Food and drink at Castell d'Empordà
- Hotel restaurant A dramatic bull’s-head sculpture on the wall keeps watch over proceedings in the sensual gothic restaurant. Black silk drapes lie sleekly against the rough, nougat-coloured stone walls, glossy jet chandeliers drip from the ceilings and tabletop candles flicker amid the dark expanse. In summer, floor-to-ceiling glass doors open up onto the terrace and in winter, the fire crackles and muted jazz provides a relaxed background. Offerings are Spanish with global influences – be sure to try the signature tuna sashimi dish.
- Dress code Channel flamenco-glam for evening, light and layered during daylight hours.
- Top table Sit out on the terrace – enjoy a lazy lunch in the shade by day and admire the twinkling lights from distant towns by night.
- Last orders 11pm for dinner; the bar is open noon until midnight. Grab breakfast between 8am to 10.30am; lunch from 1pm to 3.30pm; and dinner from 8pm.
- Room service There’s no room service but the restaurant is sure to cater to your culinary needs.
- Hotel bar The Cava Del Drac, housed in the old wine cellar, is a suitably historic and dramatic drinking den. Sit among the vaulted stone ceilings on low, slouchy sofas in neutral shades and admire the decor, inspired by a ’50s Parisian jazz bar. Small, curved tables sparkle with tea lights and a relaxed soundtrack of laid-back lounge music will fill any gaps in conversation. Leave no alcove unturned; there is a bounty of books on art, wine, history and so forth to enjoy with a glass of tempranillo.
Also worth knowing
- Weddings This property is suitable for weddings. More...
Castell d'Empordà c/ Castell d'Empordà s/n, Empordà, Girona, 17115
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Smith extra at Castell d'Empordà
A mystery olive oil gift and a bottle of cava.
Current offers at Castell d'Empordà
In the know
Our favourite rooms
If, like Forster, you’re after a room with a view, book a bijou boudoir in the Tower (no bath, though). The Castle rooms are the exposed-stonework real deal, with hand-made floor tiles from Marrakech, patchwork-hide rugs and dramatic views, to be enjoyed from cushioned window seats in some rooms. Stained glass windows draped in Indian silk, a Victorian bathtub and antique Tibetan rugs lend opulence to the palatial Suite Pere Margarit by Dutch designer Menno Kroon. Look out for the fabulous whale-tail shelf.
Bring dancing shoes and something red and frilly – the bar hosts live music performances. Relic hunters should pack their most elastic plastic to flex, in anticipation of the area’s pottery and collectibles. Remember a jumper for cooler nights.
On selected Friday nights, a local dancer performs a fabulous fusion of ballet and flamenco in the bar.