Casa Migdia

near Girona, Catalonia, Spain Book from Eur85

Reviewed by Laura Dixon
Cuba meets Marrakech meets Paris in this hippy deluxe hideaway, set in a quiet medieval village near Girona
The riot of colour in this 5-roomed guesthouse in rural Catalonia is enough to leave you speechless. Bright yellow throws cover beds; doors are painted in turquoise, pillar-box red and apple green; pillows are cherry red, mustard yellow and deep purple. It’s shorthand for the exuberant, carefree air that French owners Sébastien and Mary have cultivated here, and reveals their love of travel, referencing Cuba, India, Paris and Marrakech in particular.

Set in the quiet village of Sant Jordi Desvalls, the building is a former presbytery and has been modernised with style and verve. Outside there's a delightful garden with a hot tub, caged canaries and tumbling flowers; indoors, a relaxed bistro-restaurant for guests only, and a soothing upstairs lounge stacked with French coffee-table books about interior design and food, plus daybeds and a turntable with vintage Beatles records. Come and spend a week cycling around medieval villages, stopping for picnics in flower-filled fields, having 2-hour siestas in the afternoon, spending the odd day at the seaside, reading books, playing cards and relaxing. It’s also perfect for families (the owners have 4 young children), and great value for money.

Highs

  • From the red Austin out front to the furnishings and hippy-chic items inside, it’s all about fun
  • The bedrooms are huge, and excellent value for money
  • Sébastien used to run a Thai-French restaurant in Paris, so when dinner is available it's an impressive feast
  • There's a lovely atmosphere; relaxing and upbeat at the same time, and you feel instantly at home
  • Only 30 minutes' drive from Girona, with its lovely buildings and riverside setting, and close to the stunning beaches of the Costa Brava

Lows

  • No mod cons in your room apart from a small plasma TV and DVD player; no minibar, no phone
  • Dinner is only served 4 times a week in July/August, and on request for the rest of the year. It's a 20-40 minute drive for restaurants
  • The village’s church bell rings right through your window into the night, and mosquitoes may be a problem in the summer
  • Breakfast isn't included in the rates
  • Weekly whole house rentals only in July and August

Best time to go

The hotel is open all year. We’d recommend visiting in the spring or the early autumn, for wonderful weather, fields of flowers and fewer crowds. It can be very hot and very busy in this part of Spain in August.

Our top tips

Don’t try to do too much. This pad is all about slow-paced living, relaxing, taking siestas and enjoying life as it is. Live like a local and have a restful stay!

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Family
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 5
  • Breakfast (+ dinner on request)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 1 Sep 2016 - 1 Feb 2017
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Snooker Table
  • Bicycles Available
  • Beach toys
  • Table football
Room:

Rooms

There are 5 rooms, all upstairs, and they share the lounge space with its daybeds and turntable, as well as the restaurant and garden.

Room 218 is the smallest by a long way and was designed for couples on a budget who want to travel to wonderful places - like the owners in their younger days. It’s small but colourful and fun, and opens onto the lounge. It’s a bargain for the price; young families could squeeze a cot in but there's no space for an extra bed. The bathroom has a shower but no tub.

Of the others, Carmen is enormous, a grand room with a huge bathroom (with a shower and wonderful claw-foot tub) plus a large roof terrace with a hammock. It sleeps 2 adults, 3 children and a baby so is perfect for families, or lovely and spacious for a couple. Frida is also very nice, and has a double bed, a sweet small daybed made from wrought iron, and space for 3 rollaway beds. The hotel recommends Paco as being best for families; it has a child's bed, space for 2 rollaway beds, and an original painted ceiling from the 18th century in its bathroom (shower and tub).

Kika, where I slept, has a small smoking courtyard, a giant bathroom with a double shower and freestanding bath, plus a quirky toilet tucked away in the corner of the room. The double bed is covered with a cheery yellow and red sprigged Indian throw, there’s a rail for clothes, shelves of French books, and a DVD player/TV.

All rooms have bathrobes, toiletries and hairdryers, an extra special touch considering the budget rates. My only complaints would be that the rooms aren’t terribly well lit for the evening, and the sound from the square outside, where children play, carries.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Radio
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

Casa Migdia has a bar-restaurant where breakfast is served daily. It reminded me very much of the open-house restaurants in Cuba: the chef, owner Sébastien, used to run a Thai-French restaurant in Paris, and serves up a 3-course meal 4 times a week in July/August (and on request for the rest of the year) but there’s no menu or options as such - you just have to go with it.

The hotel has its own organic vegetable patch plus chickens; 85% of the produce used is local and organic. I ate anchovies on toast with tapenade, followed by paella with chicken, prawns and baby octopus, and a tarte au citron to finish, although cheese was also on offer. It was all delicious, and the accompanying wine list has been carefully selected and includes mainly French and Spanish wines.

My only complaint was that our dinner was served at 9pm, very late by UK standards. For families, the hotel can provide an earlier dinner for children; pasta or something at your suggestion. Note, however, that as a small hotel their operation relies on them serving a communal-style dinner, so guests may have to compromise when it comes to meal times and dining options.

Eateries nearby include the local bar across the road (Bocca) and plenty of small tapas bars, patisseries and restaurants in nearby towns such as La Bisbal d’Empordà (20 minutes' drive). We would also recommend Hostal Sa Rascassa near Begur for a dinner by the sea, and the wonderfully bohemian bistro at Hotel Aiguaclara in Begur itself (both approximately 40 minutes away).

Breakfast is a buffet of homemade jam and cakes, fresh fruit juices, charcuterie and cheeses, plus eggs to order.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Children meals
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • The hotel is in the middle of the Dalí Triangle. Don't miss the castle of Dalí’s wife, Gala, in Púbol just 20 minutes’ drive away, and the crazy Dalí Museum in Figueres. At Port Lligat you can visit the house where Dalí lived

  • Borrow a bike and cycle to nearby medieval villages. Ask Sébastien for his top suggestions of ones to visit, and recommendations for lunch spots

  • Drive over to the seaside for the day, and borrow some of the hotel’s beach toys if you need. Begur and Pals are both 30 minutes away by car

  • Spend the day in Girona (19km away), shopping in the Jewish Quarter, walking over the city’s bridges, and wandering round the cathedral. Lots of great restaurants, too

  • Back at Casa Migdia, take a dip in the swimming pool, relax in the lounge, put a record on the turntable, read some interiors books, chill in the hot tub in the garden, wander round the village, have a long siesta, and enjoy a glass of wine in the shade

  • Go canoeing down the nearby river. It’s 5 minutes away and is great when the beach is too crowded. There's great snorkelling and diving in this region too; just ask Sébastien

  • Take a train from the village station to Barcelona for the day - it’s just over an hour away and Sébastien can arrange tickets to the football

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Kayaking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Scuba diving
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming

Kids

This is a nice quiet hotel which can accommodate 1-2 families at a time at most, full of corners of wonder and items to delight children, in a small village where other children play football in the street. Mary and Sébastien have 4 young children of their own, all under 10 when we visited in 2011, and can make suggestions for things to do in the area. There are some small sweet vintage tables and chairs around the place for children.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

We preferred Carmen for a family as it has a hammock and outdoor terrace, giving you a bit of extra room, plus it can fit up to 2 adults, 2 children on extra beds and 1 baby in a cot. Kika can fit 2 adults, 1 child and 1 baby, Frida and Paco can each fit 1 additional bed or a baby cot, while 218 can only fit a baby cot.

Babysitting:

In the summer months, Mary and Sébastien book a nanny to help with their children and yours can join them in an impromptu French-Spanish children’s club.

Babysitting can also be arranged - ask when booking.

Baby listening:

A baby monitor would work from bedrooms to the bar-restaurant downstairs so you could eat while they sleep upstairs.

Baby equipment:

  • Cots
  • Highchairs
  • Toys

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

Ask about arranging an early dinner for kids as dinner may be late (c.9pm) by Anglo standards. Pasta and simple dishes can be arranged but note that it’s at the discretion of the owners. There is a café in the village as well, but for other food you'll have to go further afield.

Kids Activities on site:

  • The hotel has baskets of beach toys, badminton racquets, footballs and a ukulele
  • The garden has a swimming pool and a cage of canaries
  • There’s a friendly old dog roaming the downstairs of the house
  • The bar-restaurant area has table football and a small snooker table

Kids Activities nearby:

  • You can borrow bikes and helmets plus child bike seats for days out roaming the nearby villages
  • Head to the crazy Dalí museum in Figueres
  • Take a trip to the beach, just half an hour away, and borrow beach toys and towels from the hotel

Families Should Know:

  • There is an on-site shop open Monday-Saturday (8am-9pm) which sells food and other essentials, plus has a chemist and butchers section
  • Parents with young children have permission to store baby food in the owner's fridge, or may be lent a fridge on request

Distances:

  • Airport: 30 minutes (Girona), 1 hour (Barcelona)
  • Doctor: 15 minutes
  • Hospital: 30 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
9/
Food
9/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

{{ review.firstName }}{{ review.countryName ? ', '+ review.countryName : '' }},
Feedback is only from guests who have booked and stayed through i-escape

Rates for Casa Migdia