Your Bristol & Somerset Wedding - February/March 2024 (Issue 99)

My name is Kelly, I’m 42 years old, British and I’ve never been to Spain. Never. How did I manage to miss out on the quintessential Brits abroad destination? Probably because that exact connotation was all I’d ever seen of Spain: Ibiza, 18-30 holidays, and all that jazz. It didn’t appeal. How wrong was I? Let me tell you, the breathtakingly beautiful Costa Brava could not be further from all of that. Having been on my first adventure to sunny Spain recently, I’m happy to report it’s now my most beloved part of the world, which I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to honeymooners, and here’s why... THE GOLDEN AGE OF LUXURY Nestled between two secluded bays on the Costa Brava, Spain’s less trodden coastline, S’Agaro’s Hostal de La Gavina sings with elegance, luxury and old-world glamour from every corner. Since opening in 1932, the hotel has been patronised by stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age including Elizabeth Taylor, John Wayne and Peter Sellers; and, for me at least, evokes memories of classics such as To Catch A Thief with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. Indeed, Pandora starring Ava Gardner, Suddenly Last Summer starring Elizabeth Taylor and Mr Arkadin by Orson Welles were all shot here. With 74 suites and rooms with sweeping views over the Mediterranean, its effortless style and second-to-none hospitality will give you a honeymoon to remember. Comfortably ensconced in one of the hotel’s 11 superior rooms, I was very much taken with its Mediterranean romance. The balcony terrace and its breathtaking view is something I’ll never forget. From the moment I arrived and swung open the doors, I sat there looking out to sea and would quite happily still be there now. It was definitely the most difficult farewell when the time came to leave. For two honeymooners enjoying breakfast here, surely there could be nothing better. The glorious shining jewel in the hotel’s crown though is the Royal Suite, which has played host to Spanish royalty, celebs and honeymooners alike. Stepping through its doors is akin to entering a stately home. Designed in spectacular Louis XV style, the walls are adorned with wood and silks, while Sevres vases, only otherwise found in the Louvre, decorate the alcoves. The opulent, genuine Bohemian candle-glass chandelier is the sitting room’s centrepiece and looms large above the decorative marble floor. Of course, the large terrace spanning the width of the suite is a highlight, complete with loungers and patio set ready and waiting for lazy days sipping champagne and enjoying a bite to eat. The first free moment I got during the trip, not caring a jot for the rain (which we brought with us from Blighty) I made a beeline for the outdoor, seawater pool. I’d been excited to take a dip from the moment I arrived. Bobbing along alone in the bracingly icy, buoyant waters, looking out over the bay at sunset was an experience of sheer bliss. Of course, during the warmer months with the sun beating down on it, the pool will offer you yet another vibe, but this was heavenly for me! Alongside the pool, facing the Med, is the Gavina Spa. Its privileged indoor swimming area boasts magnificent views over the bay of S’Agaro along with a Jacuzzi, two spaces for massages and treatments, plus saunas and a small gym room. A FOODIE’S PARADISE In nearby Girona, there are no fewer than 18 Michelin stars held between 12 restaurants, including one with three, and Hostal de La Gavina is very much part of that local foodie culture. Indeed, the hotel’s signature restaurant, Candlelight, is overseen by Michelin-starred chef Romain Fornell. Renowned for its exquisite haute cuisine menu, the restaurant combines tradition and modernity in its beautifully tranquil setting where candles flicker and piano music fills the air. I had the privileged opportunity to try the eight-course Spring Collection tasting menu, which was utterly unforgettable. Dishes included white asparagus, beurre blanc Viva España! Kelly Andrews experiences the finer side of life at Hostal de La Gavina in Spain’s Costa Brava Scan to view video 82