Les Hamaques

near Sant Marti d'Empuries, Catalonia, Spain Book from

Reviewed by Laura Dixon
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.


  • 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


  • 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...

  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • 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


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
  • Terrace
  • Terrace
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


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


  • 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


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:

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