As I descend from the medieval village of Begur towards Costa Brava seashore, I get a feeling that I am going to arrive somewhere special. And then, few curves and spectacular views later, I see it; a sign announcing of my destination. This is Hotel Aigua Blava: a Mediterranean oasis, holding its fort luxuriously against the ruggedness of the seacliffs.
As you approach Hotel Aigua Blava from its gate, tall trees hide its magnitude. Seen from the seashore, you realise that the hotel is quite a big one, with 85 rooms. Nevertheless, as Aigua Blava is a family run business in fourth generation, it has a charming feel of a cosy and well-taken care of business.
The hotel was established by Clara Capellà, “La Clareta”, in 1934. With the help of his son in law Ventura Sabater, Capellà transformed her Clareta Hostal to the Aigua Blava we now have in front of us, situated in an aptly named location: Finca El Paradís.
Nowadays, the name “Costa Brava” has many associations from glamorous visitors such as Elizabeth Taylor, Orson Welles, Salvador Dalí and Penelope Cruz to the less glamorous, plentiful tourist flocks. For us history geek travellers, it is an interesting piece of information that the term Costa Brava, referring to the Catalan coast from Tordera to France, was invented in Clara Capellà’s establishment. The term Costa Brava was first mentioned in a Catalan newspaper in 1908: “… in one of our excursions, we were in Begur, in the property named Paradis, that our friend Mr. Ventura Sabater had on the cove of Fornells during the conversation the coast was named the Costa Brava”.
So, I am happy to descend from Begur towards Hotel Aigua Blava, where I am welcomed with young and smiling staff at the reception, and then taken to our room. With a perceived pride, young Manuel opens the door to our room, swishes past us towards the balcony, and with a little gesture, opens the curtains and smiles.
The view is stunning, leaving me speechless for a moment. As you step out to the balcony, you first see some picturesque, red tile rooftops, then some boats bobbing on the bright blue sea, a secluded cove for sunbathing and swimming, and then the Mediterranean horizon, almost as bright blue as the sky itself.
The hotel room itself is decorated with white and light blue and grey colours. In the corner, there is a small sitting area with armchairs and coffee table and opposite to the bed, you have a writing desk. The bathroom is separated from the rest of the space with a big window, partly covered with a mirror. For privacy, you can draw the curtain, and enjoy your shower. The towels are as they should, big and fluffy, and the soaps are fresh scented L’Occitane quality.
After admiring the view and taking in the beauty of the location, I venture outdoors, to scorching 30 degrees celsius heat. Together the sea and the sun seem to muffle every sound; the clink of the cutlery as tables are being set for dinner, little bursts of laughter, chairs screeching against the floor tiles; all seems to be wrapped in a soft, hazy veil.
Before calling it the night, after wandering in two little coves near Aigua Blava, I have dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. First, we are almost the only customers, but around nine o’clock the terrace starts to fill in. Candles are lit on the tables as the sun sets. The highlight of our meal are the Crêpes Suzette, that were convincingly recommended by a waiter called Antonio – aided with a quick doodle illustrating how the magic of the crêpes of Aigua Blava come into being.
Stomach full, entertained and looked after by the staff, and mind filled with pretty imagery of the surrounding Costa Brava, I climb into the bed and lie my head on the delightfully fluffy pillow. On their web page, Hotel Aigua Blava informs that people return to the hotel year after a year. And I believe them: before falling asleep, I already start dreaming of my return.
P.S. I wish to thank Hotel Aigua Blava for the opportunity to stay in this elegant and historic hotel. Hotel Aigua Blava is part of my series exploring Europe’s historic hotels. The collaboration does not affect the content of my writing, as I choose only culturally and/or historically significant hotels for the series. By this, I wish to ensure inspiring and atmospheric moments for my readers on their travels. Historic hotels are an integral part of the history of European travel, and with the series, I wish to support this part of our travel history.