A distinctive hotel

If you imagine a stately home of the turn of the 20th century converted into a hotel you probably think of rooms with high ceilings, beds with canopies, walls covered with heavy velvet curtains and immense chandeliers

But the Torre del Remei is not like this at all. Although the model of the classic chateau converted into a hotel has a long tradition in Europe (especially in France with Relais & Châteaux) the Hotel Torre del Remei is an exception. Particularly so when it comes to the comfort and quality of service that it offers. The original structure and style of the house have been respected but the interior has been transformed and now incorporates all of the trappings that a luxury hotel should offer. Design and technology have been combined to make your stay as memorable and comfortable as possible.

The history of the Torre del Remei

A modernist chateau from the turn of the 20th century.
The private history of the Torre del Remei is a microcosm of the wider history of the Catalan bougeoisie in the last century - the growth of its power, its weakening and its changing hands as a result of the great events of the last hunderd years.

At the end of the 19th century, Agustí Manaut i Taberner, a banker by profession, had the Torre del Remei built as a gift for his daughter, Blanca Manaut i Uyà. The project and construction was placed in the hands of the architect Freixa, a disciple of Gaudi, and a man of great prestige in his time who built several well know buildings including the Casino Ceretà in Puigcerdà anf the castle of Torre de Riu.

The Torre del Remei was opened in 1910 and originally it was inhabited by 10 women, including the servants, with no male presence at all.

In its first years it enjoyed great renown and was a must-do staging post for the Bishop of Bell-lloc, from la Seu d'Urgell, on his journeys to the then far-off city of Puigcerdà.

In the 1930s history looks kindly upon the Manaut family. When the Civil War broke out, its occupants were transferred to Barcelona and the house commandeered by the Republican government which turned it first into a school and then a hospital. However, the building was not subjected to any restructuring nor was it ransacked, as unfortunately often happened.

After the war, the house and its grounds were returned to their original owners but it could not relive its past glories since it remained closed up most of the time and only opened its doors occasionally. Two generations after its construction, the Torre del Remei seemed destined to disappear silently as it had remained in these last years, covered by the leaves which each winter fell from the trees, silent winesses of its decay.

But, the fates stepped in and rescued the Torre del Remei. Josep-Maria and Loles Boix were guests of the owners of the neighbouring house from which they could see the pointed roofs of the building. Captivated by this image, they entered (one might even say trespassed!) the grounds and were seduced by the magic of the place. A dream suddenly crystallised between the two of them - to create a hotel with very few rooms and with all of the elements of comfort that you could possibly imagine.

In February 1989, the purchase of the Torre del Remei was concluded and its new owners engaged the Espinet-Ubach architectural practice to renovate the old stately home and convert it into the luxury hotel that it is today. It opened in the spring of 1991.

A family tradition

Heralding from a family dedicated to the hotel business over five generations, Josep- Maria Boix jointly with his wife Loles, is the owner, the soul and the creator of the Hotel Torre del Remei.

In 1987 the hotel created the banquet in honour of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh. In 1998, it provided the food for the banquet offered by the Catalan government to princess Anne from the UK in the royal palace of Pedralbes when she was staying in Barcelona as a member of the International Olympic Committee. It also served the King and Queen of Spain in Sant Sadurní d´Anoia at a dinner in celebration of the anniversary of the eradication of filoxera which nearly destroyed the whole of the Spanish wine industry.

Josep-Maria's cuisine won the National gastronomic prize in 1983 for the best hotel restaurant in Spain and was awarded the National gastronomic prize for the best chef in 1987. In 2000, the Torre del Remei was awarded the prize for the best dessert menu in Spain.

The facilities at the Hotel Torre del Remei

At the beginning of the remodelling of the Torre del Remei, both its new owners and the architects Espinet-Ubach were very clear that they did not want to create just another hotel. It must be distinctive, not only because of its location and architecture, but because the vision they all had.

They must keep at the forefront of their minds a respect for the proportions of the buildings and its original architecture. The use of the space had to create equilibrium. The rooms, which were large and cold, had to be transformed into comfortable and spacious bedrooms. They wanted the touches of luxury to be discreet, without ostentation, part of the fabric of the hotel. And they must make the most of such a special situation, with gardens containing trees of over a hundred years old, of incalculable value and a countryside beyond compare.

On entering the main building, the first thing you come across is the hall with its open circular ceiling which opens into the dining room, a space lit by high windows with expansive views. On the right, a small reading room and sweeping staircase taking you to the upper floors. On the left, the private dining room. Down below, under the cool earth, the wine cellar where some of the finest Catalan, Spanish and French wines rest and mature peacefully at a constant temperature.

The main hotel's eleven bedrooms are spread over three levels. Each room is unique but spacious, having been adapted from the original structure of the building. Exclusively designed furniture made to welcome you with comfort. A bathroom with a hydro massage bath, embroidered cotton sheets, a flat screen television with DVD, under floor heating and night lighting so that you can move around without disturbing your companion. And each room goes by its own particular name, originating from the view from its windows or balcony - Tossa d'Alp, Pla de la Boira, Prat d'Aransó, Riu dels Estanys, Coma de Das, Puig de Saneja, Puig de Coma Dolça, Prats de Moixeró, Pas dels Gasolans, Pla dels Pastors y Roc d'en Vert etc.

Relais & Chateaux