A splendid quality option for Catalonia holidays, this marvellous self catering masía (country house) offers equally fine facilities to the nearby Villa CA24.
If CA24 is of similar solidity yet modern rustic, this impeccably restored property has the character and stature of a greater age and maturity. The original 17th century building has been very tastefully brought up to date and fitted out.
It has more than enough room to sleep a full complement of 15 guests (plus two children) in seven very satisfying, spacious bedrooms.
The property is set amidst an expanse of pretty countryside in the Catalonia heartlands an hour from Barcelona, with mountains ranging around and two quite different and magnificent lakes within 40 minutes' drive.
The main entrance is under a huge covered porch/terrace, furnished and indeed intended for enjoying outdoor meals, surrounded by immaculately lawned gardens that slope down to a unique pool that's covered and heated during the colder months.
The quality of tradition is evident from the moment you step over the threshold. A large, stone-walled reception room, flagged with terracotta tiles, its ceiling wood-beamed and high, sets the tone.
It leads to a rustic kitchen (completely fitted out) with a breakfast table and a long, beautifully created dining room. Even the lighting suits an atmosphere of dignified comfort, the stone walls again suggestive of a more noble age. Together with the porch facility, it's the ideal place for everyone to gather together at mealtimes. The wooden dining table is 5-metres long, affording proper elbow room for all.
The dining room has doors that lead directly out to the porch area and gardens. The lawns are green, lovingly tended and large. This is a fantastic place for children. All the lawns are hedged round and the major garden area, where the pool is situated, is fenced off and gated for safety.
The swimming pool is open air during the warm, sunny months. It has a telescopic glass roof that slides over in sections to enclose the entire pool area when the weather becomes less than clement, becoming a heated, indoor pool. In winter, it has the added attraction of a hot tub at one end: one could almost wish for it to cloud over and rain just to enjoy the steaming soak that much more.
In summery months, you can be moving back and forth from swims to the springy grass of the lawn in complete privacy, and relax on sunloungers served by the parasols, walnut and mulberry trees that provide garden shade. The property is on raised ground, allowing views from the gardens across the hilly countryside.
Back at the masía, a ground floor bedroom with garden access (very pleasant) is also adapted for people with reduced mobility.
The lounge is to be found on the first floor. A grand hearth is the lounge’s focal point and a winter log fire is a joy here, especially when you have full central heating throughout the house. Sofas and armchairs are extremely comfortable. You can curl up and watch a DVD while children enjoy their own play corner, complete with Playstation, board games and their own infant-size table and chairs.
From the first floor windows you can appreciate even better the natural Catalonia scene in which you are ensconced. In the distance rise the pre-Pyrenees.
The bedrooms in the second floor (all extremely comfortable) have even better views, including the local town of Cardona, which is an easy 20-minute walk away along a pleasant path.
Cardona has good restaurants that we can 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 (population 5,500) was the last bastion of the Catalonian people to hold out against King Philip 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 generally not 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.
Picnics and natural swims are to be had at beautiful lake Sant Pons, surrounded by forest, just 20 minutes from the villa. The stunning lake Llosa del Cavall (see photos) is 45 minutes away.
For more dramatic, mountainous landscapes, don't miss Berga, 40 minutes away, where there are also small winter ski stations.
If old villages and small town life attract you, then historic Solsona is nearby, but if the big city is your thing, then the drive to the centre of superlatively cosmopolitan Barcelona takes little more than an hour.
The only neighbouring property is CA24, set behind and facing away, so that your privacy is in no way impinged upon.