Terra Dominicata, near Tarragona in north-eastern Spain, is a terracotta-tinted estate flanked by the Serra de Montsant mountains. The Priorat region is famous for its impressive wines but, at this design den within near-endless acres of national parkland, everything else is sure to garner approval as well, whether it’s the glowing-orange cypress-lined exterior, the restaurant’s fine-dining feasts or the freestanding bath tubs in the bedrooms. The working winery hosts tastings, so you can learn all about grape-crushing from the head winemaker – and there are plenty of other estates in the area to call in at on your bacchanalian pilgrimage. ¡Salud!
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from $204.16 (€183), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.50 per person per night on check-out.
Rates don’t usually include breakfast (€25 a person).
The working winery regularly hosts tastings in the terracotta kitchen next-door – the wine may be the star of the show, but the shelves of colourful crockery will encourage some serious ceramics envy.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout, valet parking, winery, bicycles to borrow. In rooms: air-conditioning, minibar, free bottled water, Nespresso coffee machine, tablet, hair straighteners, sun hats and L’Occitane bath products.
Our favourite rooms
We loved room 26; it’s in a small courtyard, and has two cosiness-boosting factors (especially good if you visit in winter) – a roll-top bath tub at the end of the bed, and a fireplace. (It also has one of those for-decoration-only ladders that don’t do much but look rather nice.) Stealthy sorts will love the secret underground corridor that links room 22 with the restaurant – it was once an emergency escape route, but now it’s more likely to be used to usher hungry guests to the restaurant more swiftly.
The mountain-flanked pool at the property’s edge was once a watering hole for wild hogs – hence the gate to keep the thirsty porcine bathers out after dark.
Bring a nose for a fine vintage and a refined palate.
The communal areas are accessible for wheelchair users and there’s a specially adapted room on the ground floor. The pool area can be reached via a lift.
Take your seats along the edge of the terrace outside, or by the table inside for more greenery gazing.
Pack something elegant but expandable.
The chef and his team moved in 10 months before the first guests, and it shows: the menu has been planned to perfection. Even the table settings are immaculate. The Italian cook adds a little home-country flair to his Spanish cuisine, but all ingredients are sourced from local markets or the kitchen garden. This creative crack squad aims to surprise, so the dishes are constantly evolving; one majorly memorable recent feast included apricot and mascarpone gazpacho, oysters with hollandaise, langoustine and monkfish courgette cannelloni and duck risotto. The food is designed to match the outstanding natural wines this area produces, which set standards to really high. Come morning, the impressive young pastry chef will have baked a bounty of hot and cold treats; look out for the miniature chocolate muffins and the baked cheesecake.
The bar is attached to the restaurant and has a sommelier, who is also an expert in cocktail curation. Some of the muddles make use of the local wine, as well as herbs plucked straight from the garden. Even the house white is delicious – with a surprising orangey, pinkish glow (as opposed to the regular white or yellow) verifying its all-natural composition.
The restaurant is open from 7am until 10pm. The bar’s hours are noon to 11pm.
The full menu can be served in your room if you prefer.
Terra Dominicata is close to the coastal Catalan city of Tarragona in north-eastern Spain.
Tarragona’s airport is nearest; the drive should take 45 minutes. Otherwise, fly to Barcelona and continue by train or car; the hotel (our Smith24 team) can arrange transfers on request.
There’s a railway station, Camp de Tarragona, an hour’s drive away, which links up the city with Barcelona – most services take just over an hour. The hotel can fetch you from here.
The drive from Barcelona will take around two hours. There’s free valet parking when you reach the estate. A car will come in handy if you’re planning on touring the nearby towns and wineries.
Worth getting out of bed for
There’s a national park all around you to explore and a line of electric bicycles to help you along. Beat the wild hogs to it and cool off at the pool, hike one of the trails or enlist the expertise of the winemaker to show you how it’s done.There are several wineries to visit in this abundant region, including Clos de l’Obac, owned by an eccentric friend of Bill Gates, and Trossos del Priorat, set within a mountain, with a prolific output – two people produce around 80,000 bottles a year.
The remote, rural setting (not to mention the amazing onsite restaurant) makes Terra Dominicata a destination in itself, but if you have been out and about touring the local towns, try: Brots in Poboleda; La Cooperativa in Porrera; or El Celler de l’Aspic in Falset.
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 vineyard hotel in Spain and unpacked their tempranillo and terracotta, a full account of their rural Catalan break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Terra Dominicata in Tarragona…
The Priorat just got a new hotel to shout from the vineyards about. This bountiful region in Spain’s north-east has long had an oenophile-approved output to celebrate, but now it has a hotel haven for wine pilgrims, too. On 140 acres of protected parkland, the estate has vine-y vistas for as far as the eye can see – and yet more terraces are being planted along the hillside. The hotel is in a Catalan DOQ, or denominació d'origen qualificada, essentially a stamp of quality control (also known as a DOC and DOP, depending on which part of Europe you’re in), so you know you’re in for some pretty incredible produce. The wine is, of course, the highlight here, but you’ll be using it to wash down some delicious dinners, too. But it’s not all substance over style: the slick bedrooms feature geometric rugs, freestanding baths at the bottom of the bed, colour-pop armchairs and an earthy palette. It’s the perfect refined, relaxing, remote retreat, a couple of hours by car from Barcelona. ¡Salud! to that.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Terra Dominicata’s Guestbook below.
The remote setting (in the Priorat vineyards), the modern chic rooms in the renovated building, the friendly and helpful staff, and the local walks and bike trails.
Families, teenagers or a TV in the room.
Stayed on 10 Jul 2019
We loved many things: the location, the food, the wine, the peace but, more than anything, we appreciated the people employed to make the stay a memorable one. They were well chosen - professional, passionate, attentive and friendly, in a way which allowed guests to relax completely. The wine tasting was a special experience and did not end with the tour and 'formal' (fun) tasting but extended to the services of a knowledgable sommelier at dinner who made suggestions which enhanced the dining experience. The room was stylish and comfortable (great pillows) and the communal areas were relaxed and welcoming, with touches that reminded you of the family ownership and the obvious impact this has on the way the hotel was set up and is run.
Noise! This is limited to the relaxed exchanges between people, discrete music and the regular clink of glasses or rattle of a cocktail shaker. There are no televisions in the rooms and no noise from passing vehicles, except for the odd tractor tending the vines.