Add This Gourmet Wine, Wellness and Golf Getaway To Your Bucket List - The Gloss Magazine

Add This Gourmet Wine, Wellness and Golf Getaway To Your Bucket List

Irish presenter Lorraine Keane recommends this in-the-know destination in Peralada, Catalunya, Spain …

I’ve always loved Spain, in fact I fell in love and got married in San Sebastián, and over the years I’ve been guilty of returning to that city and my second favourite, Seville, rather than exploring different areas of Spain. I’m slightly more adventurous when it comes to discovering new wines and my journey to Catalunya began when I was introduced to the wines of Perelada by my friends at Boutique Wines.

The Hotel Peralada Wine Spa & Golf is exactly what it sounds like: a luxurious retreat situated in the stunning Emporda wine region, between Girona and the French border. Getting there is a breeze, even for a weekend getaway. It’s 45-minute drive from both Girona and Perpignan airports.

This hotel is perched on the edge of the medieval village of Peralada and on the approach you pass the 13th-century Castell Peralada, which houses its Michelin-star restaurant, one of three outstanding dining options.

The moment you step inside the hotel, guests are greeted by elegance and sophistication. The interiors and rooms are incredibly chic and fresh, featuring beautiful, beamed ceilings inspired by the local Catalan farmhouses.

I was intrigued by the “wine spa” and booked a massage to find out exactly what it involved. The welcome brochure mentioned “wine therapy” – something I thought I was experienced in, but it turns out their version is something completely different to mine (not a single bit of gossip over a glass of rosé!). The treatments on offer use therapeutic wine-based products – they even have a Merlot shampoo! The massage was incredibly relaxing, followed by a dip in the whirlpool tub and a swim in the outdoor pool. They also have an indoor pool and the hotel is very child-friendly.

Dinner on the first night was in the main restaurant, L’Olivera, and we tasted some truly excellent contemporary local dishes. Calamari stuffed with prawns and monkfish with honey and spiced aioli were just two of my favourites. And of course, being literally at the source, we had no trouble finding wines to complement the meal. I particularly enjoyed the Stars cava, La Garriga white and the 5 Fincas red.

The staff, who were excellent throughout, arranged a wine tasting tour of the local vineyards the following day. The winery itself is spectacular, award-winning not just for the produce, but also for its sustainability, being the first European winery to achieve LEED Gold sustainability certification. Something else that was very special was being able to taste a wine while sitting in the shade of a tree in the middle of the exact vineyard where the grapes for where harvested. The staff also arranged lunch in one vineyard which overlooks the sea (the hotel is only 30 mins from the beach).

Dinner on the second night was at the Michelin-star restaurant in Castell Peralada. I know that tasting menus have fallen out of fashion recently (I blame the film The Menu!) but we opted for the full tasting experience and it was truly worth it. The chefs, Javi Martínez and Toni Gerez, who spent a decade at Ferran Adria’s El Bulli, are incredibly talented and their upscale Catalan creations are really unique. I thought I’d hit peak Princess after dining in the turret of the castle, but then I was told we could use the secret door to access the casino next door – muy fabuloso!

It was at breakfast the next morning, on the terrace enjoying the most delicious pan con tomate with eggs and bacon that I had something of a revelation. I needed to do some exercise (after all that food and wine indulgence) and literally had to look no further than the end of my table. The terrace overlooks the most stunning golf course and I thought to myself, you know, there just might be something to this whole golf thing.

Within a week of returning home, and never being someone to do things by half, I had signed up for lessons and committed to play the KPMG ProAm at Dromoland Castle in three months’ time!

Need to Know: For more information on Hotel Peralada Wine Spa & Golf, where room rates and suites start from €235, visit Perelada wines mentioned above are available online at and selected stockists nationwide. 

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