- Comfort and Convenience in the Heart of Costa Brava
If you're planning a trip to Costa Brava with the family or, like me, a golfing group, I have a suggestion for lodging that strikes the right balance between hotel amenities with apartment convenience. You should try the Aparthotel Ciutat de Palol in Platja d'Aro, Costa Brava.
After a day of golf, my golfing buddies and I pulled into the parking lot of what looked like a private apartment complex. After getting our room keys, we parked our car in a secure underground parking space. Using the elevator, it was easy to get the gear up to our rooms.
The rooms at Aparthotel Ciutat de Palol are divided into two types, 2 to 4 guests and 4 to 6 guests. We were staying in the smaller suites, which were a modern and clean double rooms and came with:
• A living room with two sofa beds.
• Fully equipped kitchen
• Bathroom with shower, towels and hairdryer.
• Television LCD 32" with TV Satellite Channels
• Air conditioning and heating.
• Telephone with Internet access.
Perfect for this bunch of golfers. The included washer and dryer were especially welcome.
If you're traveling with children, I recommend the larger room. It will be welcome relief for Mom & Dad, after a day of sightseeing or enjoying the beach, to know that the kids are in one bedroom while the two of you can have some privacy in the other sleeping on a kingsize bed.
While the apartments are convenient, did we mention that the hotel-type amenities are four star quality. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served buffet style and you csn choose from either indoor or outdoor seating. If you have children, buffets are perfect as they can choose what they like, rather than trying to pick out their meals from an adult menu.
There is so much to do on the grounds, that you may skip the itinerary and stay right at the Aparthotel Ciutat de Palol. You can get a relaxing massage or loosen up in the sauna and steam bath. You can work off that great buffet in the gym or in the sparkling swimming pools, while the kids have a large and fully equipped play ground to call their own. When I walked to have breakfast, I saw a Tai Chi class serenely enjoying the peace and quiet in the morning sun.
I mentioned I was on a golf adventure with some friends. We chose Plato d'Aro to stay because there are nine great Costa Brava golf courses in the area, none further than one hour away. The classic Club de Golf d'Aro is only 2km away. Located on the top of a 300 meter rise, it is a challenging, excellently maintained golf course offering views of the sea and the Pyrenees Mountains.
Platja d'Aro is situated in the center of the Costa Brava. Plato d'Aro offers you shops and restaurants for your pleasure. Remember that Catalonian cuisine is considered some of the best in the world. It will be hard for you to find a bad restaurant any where in Costa Brava. The Aparthotel Ciutat de Palol is only 110 km from Barcelona and 35 km to the colorful and historic city of Girona. Other points of interest are Pals, Peratallada, Ampuries and the Dali Museum in Figueres, all within easy reach.
We haven't forgotten about the wonderful beaches in Costa Brava. Staying at the Aparthotel Ciutat de Palol puts the swimming and sun bathing at the beach only 200 meters away from your front door. You should make plans to drive along the coast of Costa Brava. There are so many beaches with large sandy streches or hidden coves. Whatever kind of beach is your pleasure, you'll find it in Costa Brava.
Whether it's the beaches, golf, sightseeing or enjoying the fine wines and cuisine of Catalonia, the Aparthotel Ciutat de Palol is in the heart of it all. You'll be glad you chose the Aparthotel Ciutat de Palol.
For bookings or further information:
Tel +34 972 82 81 80
- mas Mauri Means Much More
It’s a real pleasure to be driven around the countryside by a local resident who knows how to get to where you want to go. While he drives, you can sit back and enjoy the view and have a conversation with your fellow traveler. It really is a fine way to take a trip.
However, with all the traffic circles and the two lane roads that are treated like highways that are in Catalonia, this traveler had a little difficulty orienting himself as to direction wondering where I was and where I was going.
You can imagine my misgivings when we turned off the highway onto an unpaved road and then, with another turn, were driving up a narrower lane coming to a stop in front of a large metal gate. Little did I know that was about to enter a combination of local history mixed with modern conveniences and some warm Catalonian hospitality.
Mas Mauri is the vision of Ramon Raventos, a lifelong resident of the area. When Ramon retired from his business, mas Mauri became his family home. When the children grew and went their ways, Ramon, who is a true raconteur and avid golfer, came up with the idea of combining those two characteristics, and offer golf groups all the comforts of home. In this case, a 1600s Catalonian country house.
Masia mas Mauri was built in the seventeenth century, the first house built outside the walls of the neighboring town. During this period there were many raids on the coastline and inland by Barbary corsairs, looting the area and capturing citizens to be sold as slaves to the pashas of the Middle East. The make up of the construction bears witness to those times. The house is constructed with traditional rock-stones. The thick walls keep the house cool during the warm Catalan summer and warm during winter. It faces south with plenty of sun all day long.
With stunning views over the Empordà Valley, the Gavarres Hills and the Pyrenean Mountains, staying at mas Mauri will make your holiday a memorable one. The house has central heating and several fireplaces. It sits on six acres of property, surrounded by the local countryside. Situated 1 km outside the charming little village of Regencós and it is 2 km from traditional Begur. Due to its wonderful coves and beaches, Begur, a town of 4,000 people can swell to 40,000 during the summer.
Mas Mauri has a large garden overlooking the valley towards the hills and a covered outdoor dining area with built-in BBQ where, on this night, Ramon whipped up his famous paella for us. There is a large, clean and sparkling pool (12 m x 6 m) with a teak solarium and, perfect for Nordic guests, a sauna that can be used upon request. There is also covered parking for up to seven cars.
The food of Catalan merits some words, as some consider it the best cooking in the world. I never argue on that point, so, thankfully, every day at breakfast time, you can choose from several restaurant menus in the area and Ramon, or his daughter, Naria will give you tips to eat at the right place for dinner.
Nobody in Costa Brava would expect a good dinner without a good wine. Mas Mauri will provide a small bus with a driver to take you to dinner and drop you safely back home. This bonus is offered to our party guests as a courtesy. As we said, Ramon knows golfers.
Settling in, I explored the home’s interior. Mas Mauri’s interior is built entirely of rock stones and is well insulated. The spacious interior allows you to enjoy several fireplaces and the under floor central heating is a welcome luxury, keeping your feet warm during any midnight prowls There are two large living-rooms with TV. One has a 52” screen and 800 satellite channels, and the other is equipped with Spanish channels and DVD. There is a display of the rods and reels that Ramon used during the ten years he spent as a charter boat captain, specializing in giant tuna. If you are so inclined, you also can use the fully equipped kitchen.
The home has seven appealing and spacious double bedrooms for up to 16 people. All have a private on-suite bathroom and ceiling fan and two bedrooms are arranged for families to stay. There’s also a billiards table and a futbolí (fussbol) to keep that competitive edge sharp. You can’t help thinking how I appreciated the classic architecture of this old Catalan farm house.
Mas Mauri Golf is perfect for golfers. Four of the best courses are within a 10 minute drive and six more, including the world renowned Catalunya PGA Resort, are within 40 minutes by car. Ramón Raventos, your host, is a founding member of Empordà Golf Club and Platja de Pals Golf Club. That means he has the best connections to all golf courses in the area and can negotiate the very best green fee prices.
If you are very lucky, as we were this night, you’ll be able to sit around the dinner table, enjoying your favorite nightcap, and listen to Ramon regale you with his stories of the house, his family, fishing, golfing, well...you get the point. Ramon is a storyteller of the first degree and that the tales are of his life makes them all the better. As we sat there, mesmerized, I looked over to his grown daughter, Naria. She has heard all these stories many, many times, yet the slight smile and the twinkle in her eye told of her love and admiration for her “Papi.” It was proven to me on this special night why staying in mas Mauri is so marvelous. There is no better place to take strangers and make them feel like family. In this case, a member of the extended Raventos family.
To paraphrase their slogan, you will be living in a paradise while playing the best golf courses in Catalonia.
For more information on rates and availability, visit their website at: www.masmauri.com.
You can also call at +34 609 90 43 52. Tell them Gene from Stockholm sent you.
- Hasta luego, Catalonia. Eres Sorprendente!
Proving the adage of “saving the best for last,” the traveling band of rouges known as the Caldonia International Golf Festival rolled into the Golf d’Aro-Mas Nou. Rather, the band climbed up 300 meters to this most fantastic golf course overlooking the town of Platja d’Aro with spectacular views of the Costa Brava, Les Gavarres, Montseny and the Valie de La Selva from almost every hole.
Accuracy, imagination and a brave heart are all necessary to play Golf d’Aro-Mas Nou. To play the course well, you need to think every shot for course management. You must hit the ball to position for the next shot, and that shot for the next. Position and distance are paramount.
Designed by Ramon Espinosa (and if you know of any other courses he has done, let me know) the course takes a circular route on top of the hill. It’s undulating, with a only a few steep uphill holes. Golf d’Aro will give you a good streach of the legs. Motorized carts are available for the less adventurous. My favorite hole was #13 where you hit off a elevated tee. As you walk down the fairways, the hole opens up in front of you with the bunkering and green laid out in a panoramic vista. A gourgeous golf hole with a high playability factor.
Speaking of greens, the greens here were excellent. Lush, a bit damp and they rolled with nary a hop. They looked flat, as there were no dead elephants buried under the grass, however, there are enough subtle twists and turns to cause sphincter tightening on one meter putts.
Those of you who have been following this SGO adventure, we played Empordà on 11/20, we were at Golf Paltja de Pals 11/21, and on 11/22 we played at the Golf Platja de Pals. The unofficial straw poll taken by SGO in various locations with golfers in various states of consciousness was:
1. Golf d'Aro - Mas Nou - Everyone liked this hidden gem. From scenery, to playability, to hospitality, this course has it all.
2. Platja de Pals - A lot of trees that look like broccoli to me. Tight, menacing and when wet (like it was for us) plays verrry long. Great patio for apres golf drinks.
3. Emporda Golf - The layout is fine, the course is a good challenge and the bar is spacious with good service. Robert von Hagge moved a lot of dirt to give the fairways their hillocks and undulations, but in the end, it’s a little too new and and needs the grown in look to make it interesting. Longest of the three , it’s a good test of golf.
We finished our week with a banquet and awards ceremony. Everyone was there to find out who won and cheer their new found friends. . Third place went to a Frenchman and second place to Englishman. Our female champ, who hails from Italy, came back and defended her win last year. To make it a sweep, her husband won the Men’s side, as well. The all received a crystal trophy to remember their week of golf in Catalonia.
Right before going to dinner, I sent a text to Eva. She had asked if I might win something? I told her that the only way I would win anything is if they had a raffle. Sure enough, the second number drawn was “24.” I got myself a hat.
I am told that the best time to play golf in Catalonia is in September and early October. It must be spectacular then, because playing at the end of November was just amazing. Remember, this is right near PGA National Catalonia, so if you are looking to play some “green” golf in Spain, check out the deals in the Barcelona and Catalonia area of Spain.
Many thanks go to the Catalonia International Golf Event, Catalonia Tourist Bureau, Barcelona Golf and the Silken Park Hotel St. Jorge, which is one the golf friendliest hotels you’ll ever find.
I had a great time and I promise you will, as well.