Les Hamaques

near Sant Marti d'Empuries, Catalonia, Spain Book from Book from £128 per night

Life is beautiful at this tranquil and romantic 7-room guesthouse in rural Catalonia
Walking into this bijou guesthouse, with its whitewashed walls and boho stylings, is a little like walking into the pages of an upmarket interior design magazine. The house, a former barn, opens onto a garden filled with lavender, hydrangeas, magnolia trees and a pretty hidden lap pool. Hammocks are draped under trees, and a conservatory with exotic plants is the perfect spot for breakfast and romantic dinners by arrangement. Inside, a high-ceilinged lounge has piles of design books around a modern fireplace, and jars of various sands collected by the owners on their travels.

Former interior designer Dominic and his wife Ino, a journalist and stylist, have created one of the most peaceful spaces we’ve seen in Catalonia. Tucked in the Spanish countryside, Les Hamaques is set in a tiny, quiet village, and is just a 50-minute drive from Girona airport. The bedrooms are light and airy with shabby-chic furniture, and the shared garden is sun-dappled and beautiful. Five km down the road you’ll find a beach, while dotted around the area are Crusader-era castles, boutique vineyards and medieval villages. In the winter, take strolls around the area and warm up by the super-stylish fire; in summer, wear a large-brimmed hat and flop in the garden's shade, or hang in the hammock and enjoy the breeze.

Highs

  • Close to the sea but in a peaceful rural setting; the best of both worlds in a hidden, authentic part of Spain
  • Beautiful décor and romantic gardens; ideal for a restorative break with your partner
  • Most rooms have private terraces or a slice of garden
  • Good value for money and a great option for a whole house rental
  • Lots of excellent restaurants in the region; the owners will advise and reserve tables for you

Lows

  • Only 7 rooms so very intimate and you'll need to book early
  • No restaurant (though dinners are available on request), and you'll need to drive to reach local eateries
  • Vildamat is a very quiet village; not for the easily bored
  • No twin rooms, though extra beds can be provided
  • Children under 12 not allowed; it's really a peaceful, adult retreat

Best time to go

It can be unbearably hot here in August and the beaches are busy. We'd suggest coming in either spring or autumn, when the weather can be fantastic yet the beaches are quiet and the roads are navigable. Both are a good time for walking and cycling.

Our top tips

Ask Ino for a list of local markets so you can drop by and pick up foodie gifts for friends back home. It’s also a good option if you want to make up a healthy picnic - the beach bars serve a lot of chips and fried food…

Great for...

Beach
Honeymoon
Wedding
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 7
  • Breakfast (+ dinners on request)
  • Over 12 years old only
  • Open all year
  • 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
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

The guesthouse's rooms are all spacious, comfortable and decorated in a pale earth and neutral colour scheme, making them incredibly restful. Tinkly beaded chandeliers decorate the wood-beamed ceilings, while bleached wooden furniture and white-tiled shower bathrooms complete the scene. They have super-comfortable beds, WiFi, plasma screens, air-con and fans.

Of the 7 rooms, Bamboo is the largest, with a private garden, a bedroom and a living room set away from the main house in the garden. Buganvilla is a close second and was our favourite, a 6-windowed room with a tiled floor, a terrace and a bathtub.

The other rooms have plenty of charm, too. Magnolia is clean, pale and opens to the garden. Glicina is small but romantic, with a small desk, wisteria and a private terrace, and Acacia has a private terrace, a beamed ceiling and a pretty beaded headboard.

Since our visit, Agua and Tierra have also been added. Their style and colour palette look equally enchanting, and we love the idea of relaxing on their private terraces while gazing across the garden.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Egyptian linens
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Honesty bar
  • Internet access
  • Ipod dock
  • Satellite tv
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfasts of local pastries and breads, homemade jams, freshly squeezed orange juice, cold cuts and ripe tomatoes are served in the garden when it's warm enough. No lunches are on offer but Ino can cook dinner if you plan to stay in - let her know by 2pm and expect such delights as scallops wrapped in bacon, fillet of beef with foie gras, wild salmon with rosemary and chocolate fondants for desert.

There are plenty of eateries a short drive away, which should cater for most tastes. Ino can suggest some of the best places to eat and call ahead and reserve for you.

The guesthouse has an honesty bar, there's a small bar in the village and you can find a number of beach bars at the local beach in Sant Martí d’Empuries. Part of the fun of exploring this part of Catalonia is experiencing the delights of the local foodie scene, whether that’s in market produce, tiny bakeries or upmarket restaurants.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Organic produce
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Relax in the sun-dappled garden, read design books in the airy lounge, or take a dip in the pool to cool off. Les Hamaques is an oasis for people wanting to relax

  • Head to the beach: the nearest is 3km away at Sant Martí d'Empuries and has several bars, lovely sand and clear water, though it can be windy

  • Go walking. There are several scenic nature reserves, including the Cap de Creus, as well as the Pyrenees within striking distance

  • Take to the water. Snorkelling and diving are particularly popular off the coast in the clean and clear water

  • Play golf: Peralada, Empordà, Torremirona and Pals all have golf courses and Gualta has a pitch and putt course

  • Go cycling, horse riding, parachuting, gliding, hot air ballooning - just ask Ino for details

  • Watersports are easily arranged, whether that's dolphin spotting boat trips, kayaking, wind surfing, kite surfing, waterskiing or sailing

  • Visit the Graeco-Roman ruins of the Empúries Roman route, in villages including Peratallada, Ullastret and Monels

  • Get lost in the Dalí Triangle (like the Bermuda one but more surreal): the wonderful museum in Figueres, the house in Cadaqués and the castle in Púbol. If you can only make one, head to Púbol

  • Spend a day in Girona's Gothic cathedral and Jewish quarter then have lunch along the river

  • Back at the guesthouse, Ino can book relaxation, Oriental and osteopathy massages in your room

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Kayaking
  • Kitesurfing
  • Museums / galleries
  • Parachuting
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Waterskiing
  • Well being
  • Windsurfing

Kids

Families with a child over 12 are welcome. It’s not really an ideal place for children as the atmosphere is geared up for quiet, peaceful and romantic stays; that said, there are plenty of family-friendly activities nearby, including the beach, horse riding and water parks.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Bamboo and Buganvilla each have a single sofabed (small charge for B&B).

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 6 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

Cosy, family-run hotel, great interior, delicious dinner and super-friendly staff! Perfect place for relaxation. Would definitely come back. A hidden gem!

10/10,

The engaging team at Les Hamaques create a restful, enriching environment which enlivens all the senses. The passion the owners have for simplicity and integrity is reflected in the Les Hamaques experience. Wonderfully fresh food, charmingly stylish, comfortable rooms, refreshing pool and relaxing garden. We hired a small car to travel and take in the fabulous surrounding culture and parked easily nearby. We loved our stay there!

10/10,

Fabulous place with wonderful, kind and helpful hosts. A relaxing atmosphere of rural quietude envelopes you as soon as you enter. The inside and outside environments are charming. This is a venue for those who like to feel they have been invited to a house party rather than those who prefer super-smart, manicured surroundings.

10/10,

Very cool and beautiful B&B, with lots of trendy character. The owners Ino and Dominique are both very friendly and run a very relaxed guest house, with honesty bar (fairly cheap for beers/wines, with the exception of G&Ts which are strangely v expensive), free use of the kitchen, a lounge area with lots of art books and dvds to watch, swimming lap pool and beautiful, relaxing gardens....
We had tasty breakfast each morning of charcuterie, bread, croissant, muesli and fruits. We also tried the charcuterie and cheese dinner (€16pp) with some very tasty wine (€15 bottle) in the Winter Garden room, which was very romantic, surrounded by all the plants and candles.
We stayed in the "Magnolia" which is a well designed cozy room. This particular room smelt a little damp at times and the ceiling fan was a bit squeaky, but other than that is lovely, very soft comfy bed, good shower, and w/c. The village the guest house is in is very(!) quiet, with only one restaurant and a bakery.
The surrounding area has many fantastic restaurants though all within a 15 minutes drive, Mas Concas, Pera Batlla, Can Roura to name a few that we tried. In addition the beaches are nearby and sandy, we generally parked at the Empuries Ruin (worth a visit on its own, definitely get the audio guide, €5) and wondered down through the small wooded area to the small beach! Overall a great place and we would definitely go back!

10/10,

Loved the hosts, the design, the atmosphere. It's not luxurious but intimate, stylish and very homely. We loved it.
Candalaria is a fantastic restaurant - recommended by Ino and Dominuqe. Also, you can get food from local butchers, bakers and shop in village if you don't want to go out for lunch.

10/10,

A really great small hotel in a great location for exploring this amazing part of Catalunya. Peaceful and quiet with fantastic hosts.

10/10,

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Rates for Les Hamaques