Storied Andorran farmstead turned boutique mountain lodge Les Pardines 1819 is the pride and joy of brothers Josep Maria and Jordi, whose great-grandfather settled the farm in (you guessed it) 1819. It’s a heritage that the brothers celebrate in their respectful overhaul of the original buildings, although the result is more romp than celebration. First impressions – the Grandvalira ski area with Pyrenean peaks all around – are handsome. Good looks alone, however, won’t get you far, but dinner with Catalan wine and finessed regional cooking (Oriol Rovira of Els Casals is executive chef) just might. Then it’s up to the bedroom, where moodily lit, barely dressed interiors focus on aged timbers, original stone and polished concrete all begging to be fondled. Less rustic romance; more fifty shades of hay.
Get this when you book through us:
Bottle of local wine; in winter, a shuttle service to the main gondola lift
11am; earliest check-in, 3pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £169.93 (€198), including tax at 4.5 per cent.
Rates include buffet breakfast. Over winter and during August, a two-night minimum stay applies.
If you’re coy about your ablutions, book with care: some rooms have doorless ensuites (toilet included) and come with showers (show-ers?) that feature a glass wall facing the bedroom.
The hotel opens seasonally in winter and summer.
At the hotel
Restaurant, bar, spa, honesty bar, games room, guest shuttle (winter/August). In rooms: free WiFi, free bottled water, free tea & coffee (suites only), jar of local honey.
Our favourite rooms
Room two is a superior room in the same building as the three suites and is the only one to have a name (Origen) as the original residence of Jordi and Josep Maria’s great grandfather, Jacint. Its bed sits on a mezzanine that conceals rocks in the foundations that could not be moved. Spacious suites each come with a private terrace. Of the rooms, 15 and 16 are high-ceilinged and generously proportioned, with a mezzanine for up to two children in room 15.
A small hydrotherapy pool in the spa is the place to unknot tired muscles, but not large enough for lengths.
A dimly lit, dark-walled spa off the lobby features two treatment rooms, a sauna, steam room and hydrotherapy pool with jets. Its diminutive size means it’s best to reserve the space with reception so you can have it to yourselves. It comes with a changing area, toilet and shower.
Lumberjack luxe: denim, flannel, checks and chunky boots or channel après-ski glamour with layered knits and faux-fur. Befitting the hotel’s Catalan country roots, there’s a laid-back vibe and no need to dress up.
For guests with limited mobility, there’s a lobby lift to all rooms and the restaurant is at ground level. Very tall guests should avoid second-floor rooms in the eaves.
Welcome, although with little infrastructure for kids, this is a hotel for older children. There’s a family room with a low-ceilinged mezzanine that’ll sleep under-10s and interconnecting rooms on the second floor.
A raft of measures aims to counter the hotel’s impact on the environment: LED lightbulbs, motion sensors and time-controlled lighting; spa use by appointment; stringent recycling, glass water bottles and refillable bath products. Veg for the restaurant is grown on site and the hotel works with local suppliers for dairy, meat and other food and drink supplies.
Tables beside the floor-to-ceiling windows serve up the best views.
Zero formality required; moody hues and tactile layers will complement your surroundings beautifully.
The restaurant at Les Pardines 1819 is the star of the show. For starters, there’s its mountain setting, looking out over the pond to the pasture beyond through picture windows and from terrace tables in summer. Chef Oriol Rovira (of fêted Els Casals over the Spanish border) is the creative lead here, working with the hotel owners to put together a proudly Andorran menu that celebrates the land and reflects their shared rustic roots. There’s nothing rustic, however, about the delicate presentation of seasonal dishes such as roasted hare with textures of beetroot, chicken a la catalana and a mountain take on paella. The play of flavour and texture in desserts such as cooked pineapple with rum ice-cream and rice soup with blood-orange cream is the kind of culinary skill that prompts wonder. And don’t let the food eclipse the Catalan wine menu, where even the house bottles, such as Sisquella, a moreish Garnatxa Blanca (white Grenache) blend, set a high bar.
Mustard-velvet sofas and armchairs and broadly wicker-shaded ceilings lamps brighten the hotel’s moody basement bar beneath the restaurant, where you can linger over balloon-glass G&Ts, a glass of Catalan wine, bottled local beers or Estrella on draft.
The restaurant is open 1pm–3pm and 8pm–10pm, Wednesday to Saturday (lunch only on Sunday). Breakfast is served 8am–10am daily.
There’s no room service, but an honesty bar in the lobby means you can help yourself to tea and coffee, wine, beer and soft drinks and a selection of snacks.
Les Pardines 1819 lies just outside Encamp in Andorra, 10 minutes from Andorra La Vella and with access to the Grandvalira ski area.
The hotel is around a three-hour drive from whichever airport suits your itinerary: Barcelona or Girona from Spain, and Toulouse or Perpignan on the French side.
There’s free parking on site at the hotel and wheels are a practical option if town-hopping around Andorra is on your agenda.
In winter and August, the hotel runs a shuttle service for guests, with scheduled runs to/from the cable-car middle station (for mountain access) and lifts into Encamp on request.
Worth getting out of bed for
Andorra is a forested province set entirely in the Pyrenees and a stay at Encamp puts you at the heart of this beautiful mountain range. Walking trails from your doorstep can take you to high-altitude huts, onto the range-spanning GR11 or into Unesco-listed national park, the Madriu Perafita Claror Valley. Local road cycling comes courtesy of the Carretera dels Cortals d'Encamp – a heart-pumping climb which has starred in various Vuelta Ciclista mountain stages. And there’s mountain biking at Soldeu Bikepark, too. Accessible from Encamp via a speedy gondola, the Grandvalira ski area brings together 210km of piste for snowboarding and skiing, encompassing Soldeu-El Tarter and Pas de la Casa-Grau Roig. Encamp itself, with its smattering of shops and cafés, is a short drive down the hill from the hotel, and all the restaurants and retail you could ask for are in neighbouring Andorra La Vella, still only 10 minutes away by road.
Pretty Catalan plates at Cal Bona Vida come with the stellar hallmarks of fine dining – textures, reductions, ingredients arranged with tweezered precision – that turn a night out into an occasion: go for the tapas – truffled eggs with Iberico ham, foie-gras pastries with caramelised apple – and stay for the crema catalana and French toast with cinnamon ice-cream. Excellent, friendly service and modern takes on Catalan and Mediterreanean cuisine underpin the success of MuakaBo in Andorra La Vella. In Encamp, hearty rustic cooking is on the menu at stone-walled trattoria La Borda del Tremat; expect an emphasis on cuts of meat, slow-cooked or grilled, and Catalan desserts.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this mountain hotel in Andorra and unpacked their berets and cheese, a full account of their Pyrenean break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Les Pardines 1819 in Encamp…
Les Pardines 1819 is a boutique retreat that’s full of surprises. In an unspoilt Pyrenean setting with easy access to Andorran hiking trails in summer and the Grandvalira ski area in winter, it could so easily have gone down the classic mountain lodge route of honey-hued woods and tablecloth textiles. Instead, owners and brothers Josep Maria and Jordi celebrate their family’s farming legacy with a bold, pared-back aesthetic. What began with their sheep-herder great-grandfather in 1819 has passed through several rural reinventions on its way to today’s upscale hotel: a warren of dimly lit, scantily clad suites and rooms installed in the original homestead and tobacco-drying barn. The hotel’s crowd-drawing Catalan restaurant is quite the discovery. Esteemed chef Oriol Rovira of Els Casals is the mastermind behind delicately presented plates that celebrate Andorra’s culinary heritage and elevate this rural, family-run stay. Then there’s the unexpected peace afforded by the hotel’s bucolic setting – its wooded slopes, pond-side pastures and blissful quiet effortlessly redressing Andorra’s party-pad reputation.