The villa is located in the rural heartlands of Catalonia, in an extraordinarily relaxing setting, where lakes and hills invite you to enjoy picnics and walks, with views of the early rises of the distant Pyrenees. The accommodation is excellent, very satisfactory. It is within reach of three airports: Barcelona, Girona and Lleida.
The property is private, smart and meticulously kept. Details that make a good property into an very interesting one are to be found everywhere: large windows making the lounge wonderfully luminous, the extra window in the shower to offer you a view while you bathe, a Playstation for the kids, the way the swimming pool cover can be opened and closed to suit the season, the way even radiators and fridge-freezers are decorated to blend into the their surroundings.
The villa has four, spacious bedrooms for eight people. Their en suite facilities include hydromassage and a hairdryer each. Tall windows allow for plenty of natural light as well as views over the green countryside –and the beds are very comfortable.
One of the bedrooms is ground floor and is suitable for guests who have reduced mobility, the others are on the first floor.
A generous use of wood in fixtures and fittings is complemented by a natural colour scheme of earth and tan in decoration and quality fabrics, giving an overall impression of great taste and rustic modernity. The grand downstairs main room is furnished impressively, comfortably, and with a very complete array of equipment between living and dining facilities, including a PC connected to internet and an iPod dock. There's also WiFi.
French windows open to the gardens and the emphasis is on natural light through tall windows, although evening illumination is well chosen also.
Meals can be taken at the long dining table or, more informally, outside at the pub-style wooden table under the broad porch.
The lawned garden is very well maintained, as is the irresistible heated swimming pool. The glassed roof is designed so that it can either be completely enclosed, part open, or opened to the wide, blue sky. You can also leave the lowest glass panels in place to act as a child-proof barrier.
Solar panels warm the water. If the sun is hidden by clouds, then there’s both an oil-fired heating system and a thermal blanket, so that the pool remains open all year round. The sunloungers arranged by the poolside can also be taken to the lawn.
If you book the villa for winter swims, you have full central heating throughout the house, with radiators that can be adjusted to a temperature to suit in individual bedrooms, as well as a cast iron stove for log fires downstairs.
The house is built on a hill from where the panorama takes in hills, pine forest, the mountain range of the Sierra del Cadí and, far in the distance, the famed Pyrenean peak of Pedraforça. Although the gardens are fenced round for child-safety (and added security, not that it’s an issue at this peaceful location), the property extends out over a full 50 acres, including local woodland.
The local town of Cardona (population 5,500) can be reached by a 20-minute walk along a pleasant path, or a 3-minute drive. It has good restaurants that we will be pleased to recommend to you and a Sunday street market. There's a medieval centre and a hangman's tower. In addition to supplying all normal requirements relating to shopping, banking and eating out, it has two major landmarks that people come from afar to visit.
The 9th century Romanesque castle that presides over Cardona was the last bastion of the Catalonian people to hold out against King Phillip V in 1714, when he won the War of the Spanish Succession. Its citadel later improved impregnable to Napoleon. Today, you can visit it and even stay in its hotel, although the reputedly haunted Room 712 is never normally given to guests!
Equally intriguing is the natural phenomenon which the castle once defended: the Salt Mountain. Until recently a major European salt mine, it is open to tourist visits.
Visitors are driven in special vehicles down to the salt valley, where they can view the incredible geological formation of the Salt Mountain. Following this, they are given mining helmets to walk through the 500 metres of galleries and see the amazing stalactites and stalagmites, as well as different salt seams: sodium, potassium and magnesium.
If we describe this region as a lakeland, it is first for the picnics and natural swims to be had at beautiful lake of Sant Pons, surrounded by forest, just 20 minutes from the villa; and secondly for La Llosa del Cavall, a stunning lake 45 minutes distant (see photos), where canoeing is possible.
For more dramatic, and this time mountainous, landscapes, don't miss Berga, 40 minutes away.
If small, historic destinations attract you, then we recommend historic Solsona nearby, a lovely place to simply stroll around; but if the big city is your thing, then the drive to the centre of superlatively cosmopolitan Barcelona takes little more than an hour.
Entrance to the villa is along a drive lined with olive trees, to private parking. The only neighbouring property is villa CA25, a similar holiday home to the rear which faces away, so that your privacy is in no way impinged upon.