Somewhere between art and life in Costa Brava
The Alabriga Hotel is somewhere between a museum, an altar to decadence and a hotel. Yes, in that order. The suites are the kind of luxurious worthy of writing sonnets for, with plush beds, sprawling gold leaf bathrooms and wrap around balconies that overlook the azure sea. There isn’t a single moment that you consider the space cramped and yet it’s packed with everything you could ever need for a more than comfortable stay. The full kitchens in every suite give guests the option to cook should you ever wish to step away from the Michelin starred restaurant Terra, but it’s hard to imagine ever feeling that way. As much as I could write endlessly about the beauty of the rooms and the fact that the building’s facade is made to look like a super yacht, there’s so much more to the Alabriga than that.
The art part
Owned and operated by the former editor in chief of Vogue Russia, there is art in every corner, on every wall, and moments for introspection every step of the way. In the lobby you’ll find an homage to Dom Perignon, with bubbles the gently glistening as you check in. The seemingly random pattern is hypnotic to watch and it became a comparatively simple joy of every day of our stay. In Terra you’ll find more installations adorning the walls and heavy crystal shades overhead. Comprised of over 3000 pieces of Italian crystal, simply keeping the chandeliers above the delicately set tables is a feat of engineering we won’t soon forget. They combine old world luxury with modern tastes and that is possibly the best way to summarise every moment you spend in the Alabriga.
Moving on from Terra (although we’ll be coming back to that soon, promise) you’ll find more gallery worthy marvels across the way in the Galatea Tea Room. It’s not every day you find a leopard clad mannequin posing atop a grand piano and it’s an image that has stayed clear in the mind long after our visit. The quiet hush of a museum is combined with the joie de vivre of a high end boutique. When combined with a cool glass of champagne (or a hot cup of tea, whichever floats your boat) it’s everything you could want an afternoon to be.
The biggest lure when hearing about the Alabriga is Terra (at least for me). Awarded a Michelin star in 2018, this is the best of high end food, intense flavours in an atmosphere which remains quietly confident of its own skills. It’s this confidence that keeps the atmosphere pretence free, so that first time fine diners can enjoy the experience just as much as veteran tasters.
Under the careful watch of Head Chef Abraham Artigas we worked our way through the most local of seafood, the most tender fresh vegetables (oh, the poetry of baby aubergines) and over 100 paired wines all available by the glass. Working from the lightest of textures through to the richest of flavours, hours flew by in excellent company and where every small detail was taken care of. Though the floor was devoid of even a speck of dust at all times every handbag was placed on its own tiny pedestal above the ground. It’s touches like these that elevate the dining experience — pun not intended, but still, not regretted.
S’Agaro and beyond
Should you ever desire to step beyond the air-conditioned threshold of the hotel, there is of course plenty to do. The picturesque town of S’Agaro lies just below the hotel and features quintessential coffee shops, cafés and restaurants that make the most of the fresh produce which abounds through the region. If seeing more of the area on a lazy walk isn’t for you then hiring the Alabriga’s catamaran is always an option. Bob along on the water, take in the scenery, nibble on olives and chorizo — it’s as serene an experience as the Galatea Tea Room, just on the water, and who doesn’t want to experience that?
Venture further and you’re engulfed in Spanish culture, wineries, the Dali museum and fish markets that boggle the mind and make the stomach rumble.
Rolling hills and vineyards make quite the change from the slick lines of the Alabriga and it’s hard to believe it’s only an hour away. But, as usual, our jaws were dropped and only supping the wines made by the vineyard make the experience more real. A lackadaisical tour of the grounds and the facilities made the wines all the sweeter.
This visit allowed us to stretch our legs, palates, and returning to the comfy sofas of the hotel felt like homecoming. The cost of a suite can make you question the worth of stepping away from Alabriga for even a moment, but know that it’s worth it, no matter how hard it may feel. The incredible luxury of the hotel will always be there to return to — for the duration of your stay of course.
Just a little more
If you haven’t already found enough ways to indulge, then just ask the ever helpful Alabriga staff. They’ll book you a massage that works any and every knot from your muscles, and again, all of the little touches are taken care of — even the massage table is gently heated. If you feel like absorbing the luxury of fashion a little more, then the hotel’s personal shopper will guide you to the most choice morsels. But if you’re into a bit of thrill seeking to go with your decadence, then talk to the concierge about skydiving or a formula one driving experience. Whatever you choose, trust that you’re in safe hands, because you always are.
Finally, when it’s time to leave the Alabriga, try not to think about things you still want to try — just marvel in the memories that you’ve gained. Drink one more glass of Dom, and smile knowing that S’Agaro is just a couple of hours away by plane. Will we see you there?
One night in a Premium suite costs from £458 per person including airport transfers, a welcome drink, breakfast and the services of a butler.