It doesn’t get much more off-grid than the Torre del Marqués hotel, a restored 18th-century farmhouse in the remote forested peaks and valleys of Spain’s north-eastern Matarraña region, lost somewhere between the Sistema Ibérico’s rugged ranges to the west and the sun-soaked Costas in the east. It’s a modern building, but beamed ceilings and exposed stonework hint at the region’s past (think Don Quixote meets Hans Christian Andersen). And if it’s switched-off solitude you crave, you’ll find it here – a place to wile away hours by the lawn-lined pool, and where views across vineyards and olive groves inspire wine- and oil-tasting trips with local artisans. Or, perhaps less strenuously, a vigorous pummelling in the spa.
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A welcome drink on arrival; GoldSmiths get free entry to the spa (usually €50 a person)
There are 18 rooms spread across three floors, including two suites.
12noon. Earliest check-in, 3pm, but this is flexible at an extra cost.
Double rooms from £176.20 (€207), including tax at 10 per cent.
Rates usually include a continental a la carte breakfast.
Budding Patrick Moore types, rejoice. The skies get so dark out here that you’ll have no problem picking out Orion and the Milky Way. Night owls can count shooting stars from the terrace.
At the hotel
Spa with Turkish bath, sauna, indoor pool and massage-treatment area. Outdoor pool (April-October). Restaurant and bar. Free WiFi. In rooms: Nespresso coffee machines.
Our favourite rooms
Pale woods, exposed stonework and muted tones lend a naturally rustic feel to the hotel’s 18 rooms. All include luxury touches like Nespresso coffee machines, as well as, of course, those fantastic views. Deluxe suites up the ante with outdoor terraces, where the sun sets over the mountains and the only sound to interrupt your reverie is the ice clinking in your Negroni.
Gaze across olive groves from the terraces of what purports to be the Matarraña region’s largest outdoor heated pool; it’s open April-October. The indoor spa pool operates year-round.
The hotel’s muted, natural tones extend to the spa, where you can treat yourself to a 40-minute back and neck rub, or go the full monty with a comprehensive 90-minute all-over body massage, after which the sauna – with its lush landscape views – may be all you’re fit for.
There’s an old-time feel about this hotel that lends itself well to slower and more analogue pursuits. Leave the Kindle at home and pack a couple of paperbacks instead. There’s surely never been a better opportunity to get around to finishing Don Quixote. You’ll also want a good pair of walking boots for exploring and a packet of Alka-Seltzer just in case the wine-tasting gets out of hand.
Interconnecting rooms are available for families, but the hotel’s rural location means nearby activities to entertain the kids are limited.
Artisanal building techniques using local materials – gypsum from nearby Albarracín; white Macael marble; wood from Iberian forests – has kept the environmental impact of the hotel’s luxury upgrade to a minimum. Eco-friendly touches like solar panels continue the good work. The restaurant is committed to ‘zero-kilometre’ cuisine, meaning foraged forest truffles, velvety olive oil from the surrounding groves and just-picked seasonal vegetables from the kitchen garden are the order of the day.
You might imagine yourself on another planet altogether as the sun sets over a near-alien landscape of olive groves, pine forest and the magnificent massifs beyond. Window tables naturally guarantee the finest views in the house.
Add a little Spanish glamour to the muted surroundings.
It should come as little surprise, given Torre del Marqués sits among 130 hectares of olive groves, almond-tree orchards and vineyards, that much of the menu pays tribute to the flavours found within. Head chef Emanuel takes a ‘zero-kilometre’ approach to his creations, bringing garden-fresh creations to the table every day. Chief among these is his take on the local ternasco de Aragón – meltingly tender Ternasco lamb, slow-cooked for 16 hours and served with earthy purple potatoes, sugar-sweet shallots and zingy green mustard foam. Just try not to fill up on too much fresh bread and silky olive oils beforehand. Wash down your feast with wines from neighbourhood vintners so local you’ve probably nodded hello to them on your morning constitutional. Inside the restaurant, expect muted stonework and rustic pale woods. Though it seems likely you’ll spend more time gazing outside than in: the awe-inspiring limestone outcrops of the Ports de Beseit massif can be seen through the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows.
The cooling stone walls of the lobby bar make it a great place to take refuge from the midday sun. While you're here, it'd be rude not to peruse the wine list featuring fiery local Garnachas and Tempranillos.
Breakfast is served 8am-10.30am; lunch from 1pm until 3pm; dinner starts at 8pm and finishes up at 10.30pm. The all-day lobby bar is open 11am-11pm.
Torre del Marqués lies far from any metropolis: Zaragoza is two hours away, and both Valencia and Barcelona around three.
Zaragoza and Reus international airports are both a two hours’ drive from the hotel.
The hotel’s remote rural location means you’re likely going to need wheels. Take the opportunity to pair your countryside escape with a stay in one of Spain’s celebrated coastal cities. It’s about three hours’ drive from both Barcelona (to the north) and Valencia (to the south), cruising along Balearic bluffs and into mountainous Matarraña. There’s free parking and an electric-car charger at the hotel, to boot.
Worth getting out of bed for
Drag your newly becalmed self away from poolside loungers and steamy saunas for five minutes, and you’ll find plenty more gentle pursuits to be enjoyed in this most laidback of locations. Les Vinyes del Convent offers a 90-minute wine-tasting experience sipping its finest reds and whites against a dizzying mountain backdrop; prices start from €10. After all, if you’re not sampling Spanish wines when surrounded by far-as-the-eye-can-see vineyards, then when? If the vino doesn’t get you well-oiled, the award-winning extra-virgin at Mas de Flandi surely will.
Crowding along the banks of the Matarraña River, the medieval town of Valderrobres is chock-full of Gothic and Renaissance edifices, jostling for space through narrow winding streets that lead to the unmissable crenellated castle complex.
Zip-lining, canyoning and truffle-hunting can also be organised by the hotel’s concierge, and undoubtedly make for more riveting postcard material than the usual ‘weather good, wish you were here’.
Scenic mountain isolation is pretty much the mantra at Torre del Marqués, and the restaurant here certainly bears multiple repeat visits. The area does, however, have a smattering of worthwhile alternatives if you’re up for the drive. The region’s nearby capital of Teruel is home to a Unesco-listed cathedral, a diminutive statue of a bull, and Restaurante La Alquería, a much-loved purveyor of regional culinary specialities with a focus on slow cooking and local ingredients. Try the octopus and porcini mushroom rolls with truffle sauce or the confit suckling pig.
Font del Pas, a villa-style hotel around 30 minutes away in the tiny hamlet of Beseit, pairs contemporary Spanish dining with a movie-worthy setting in the foothills of the Ports de Beseit massif.
Medieval Valderrobres is the place for variety, with a somewhat more extensive choice for picky eaters (but remember: it’s all relative). Fine dining, pizzerias and informal tapas joints like Bar Maestrazgo are the order of the day. Grab a table at the bar or on the terrace for Spanish staples like patatas bravas and calamari, paired with local wines.
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 honey-coloured hideaway in Spain’s bucolic Matarraña region, switched their phones back on and reacclimatised to the real world, a full account of their zen-like break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside the Torre del Marqués hotel…
Torre del Marqués lies in the undulating, forested hills of Matarraña, close to the site where legendary Spanish warrior El Cid captured Berenguer Ramon II, ruler of Barcelona, way back in the 11th century. A thousand years later, little has changed in this wild place, though the closest thing you’ll hear to a battle cry nowadays is the call of an ibex at dusk.
The hotel melts into the landscape – all honeyed stonework, succulent-stuffed terracotta pots, and an oh-so-inviting outdoor pool bordered by lawned terraces. It’s an effect that remains consistent throughout, thanks to the sensitive restoration of this 18th-century Spanish tower. Rooms, restaurant and relaxation areas alike all lend an old-world feel that – in tandem with the ancient landscape – belies the modernity of this very 21st-century bolthole.