Drive north out of Barcelona and you’ll soon arrive at the gentle rolling hills of the Parc de la Serralada Litora, a protected natural park located just inland from the shore. It’s here where the Mas Salagros hotel was conceived, built within an old farm house that dates back to 1497 and whose original structure has been preserved as far as possible.
From the onset, the team behind the Mas Salagros had one clear vision: to design a hotel which would conscientiously strive to reduce the negative environmental impact of its own existence. If these days many hotels claim to be ‘green’, the Mas Salagros can proudly claim to be Spain’s first 100 per cent eco-friendly hotel.
From the fabrics used to furnish the bedrooms, to the biofuels used to heat it and the organic products offered to guests, everything in the Mas Salagros has been designed with the environment in mind. Yet at the same time the hotel has managed to prove that environmental awareness can be successfully coupled with an uncompromising taste for design and comfort.
How do you reconcile a desire to offer guests the best possible experience without indulging in all the usual extravagances of luxury hotels? By focusing on the essential and rethinking what ‘luxury’ really means. This is the challenge that the Mas Salagros has set itself.
All 60 of the rooms at the Mas Salagros have been designed using a combination of bio-materials and modern technologies that help minimise energy consumption for heating and lighting. The rooms are furnished with reclaimed materials and environmentally-friendly natural fabrics, such as organic cotton and linen. Even the toiletries provided in the bathrooms are organic.
Yet the rooms at the Mas Salagros ooze rustic charm that could be taken straight from glossy lifestyle magazines. Words such as ‘hand-picked’, ‘artisan’ and ‘designer’ spring to mind when walking through the bright, spacious rooms.
One of the key values of the Mas Salagros is its commitment to guests’ enjoyment and wellbeing, which goes hand in hand with its concern for the environment. The hotel’s onsite farm and garden is open for guests to visit, and proves particularly popular with children for whom guided tours are provided throughout the summer.
There are also fitness classes, yoga sessions, guided nature walks and a range of other workshops and activities, most of which are free. However, when it comes to wellbeing and relaxation, most guests will appreciate the hotel’s partnership with international spa brand AIRE Ancient Baths, inspired by the baths of the Ancient Greeks and Romans.
The AIRE Vallromanes spa which forms part of the Mas Salagros resort boasts a circuit of hot and cold baths, as well as salt baths and jetted baths. The spa’s décor, with its organic materials, exposed stone and subdued lighting is a haven of peace and relaxation.
Of course wellbeing comes from the inside out, and offering guests locally-sourced, organic food was the most obvious choice for the Mas Salagros. The region of Catalonia offers an abundance of fresh produce, with plenty of choice throughout the seasons thanks to the relatively mild climate. The proximity to both the sea and the mountains also influences the local gastronomy, which is rich in meat and fish as well as vegetables and grains.
1497 is the name of the Mas Salagros’ gourmet restaurant, which works exclusively with organic produce and primarily ingredients sourced in Catalonia. Wherever possible, the restaurant relies on its own onsite farm and gardens for seasonal bounty.
There’s more to the restaurant’s ethos than just serving organic food though. Like many restaurants, one of 1497’s main concerns is waste management. Learning to manage waste by designing smart menus, minimising the amount of waste produced and recycling and composting waste where it is created are key to the restaurants mode of operation.
By putting the environment at the centre of everything it does, the Mas Salagros is among the pioneering new style of hotel that is rethinking tourism in Spain. As people, and especially millennials, grow increasingly aware of the impact their lifestyle is having on the planet, it seems that the future is bright for places such as this one, which manages to make it easy to want to be eco-friendly.