▏Palau Fugit A Hotel in Girona, Spain, Animates its Historic Premises with Comtemporary Art & Design
▏Housed in an 18th-century palace in the heart of Girona’s Barri Vell (the medieval town centre), Palau Fugit is a new boutique hotel that channels the town’s cultural heritage through a lens of turn-of-the-century elegance and contemporary playfulness. Barcelona-based architecture practice, Isern Associats, has shrewdly refurbished and extended the once abandoned historic building, setting the stage for an opulent hospitality experience that nevertheless feels fresh and unpretentious. This is courtesy of Barcelona-based interior design studio El Equipo Creativo, who have complemented the palace’s Gothic heritage with vibrant pops of colour inspired by the colourful façades of the houses on the River Onyar and the spectacular floral installations that take over the town during the annual ‘El Temps de Flors’ festival. Contemporary artworks and design objects are also whimsically juxtaposed with the Belle Epoque-inspired aesthetic amid the historic premises, sparking a dialogue between heritage and modernity aptly reflecting Girona’s vibrant sensibility.
The hotel comprises two parts: the historic ‘El Palauet’ (palauet means small palace in Catalan) and a modern extension known as ‘El Pavelló’. The vaulted spaces of the former now house the hotel’s reception area, restaurant and cocktail bar, a tucked-away spa-for-one, and a charming lounge named ‘La Placeta’ now taking the place of the former central courtyard. A landscaped garden featuring a small swimming pool, abundant ferns and a poetic central sculpture by renowned local artist Frederic Amat connects the renovated palauet with the newly-built annex at the back of the property, offering a serene oasis for guests to enjoy.
▏Featuring groin- and barrel-vaulted ceilings, stone arches and portals, the palace’s imposing interiors have been imbued with a fresh, unexpected sense of playfulness by El Equipo Creativo, who reimagined the opulent décor of the late 19th century through the lens of contemporary design. Setting the tone for the team’s bold yet harmonious mix of heritage and modernity is the intimate reception off La Placeta. Swathed in warm tangerine tones, the room centres on a custom-designed Yves Klein blue round table, above which a blossoming golden chandelier is suspended. Across the patio, La Biblioteca, which hosts private banquets and meetings, playfully turns the reception’s colour scheme on its head with dark blue painted walls and tangerine upholstered chairs arranged around an oval-shaped marble table.
▏Taking its name from Casa Heras de Puig, the property’s original name, the hotel’s restaurant, Casa Heras, unfolds across two rooms – a more formal space adorned with an expansive black and white landscape mural by Joana Santamans, plush banquette seating and herringbone parquet flooring, and a more casual, bistro-like space with fluted ceramic wall tiling, marble checkerboard flooring and a decorative display of copper pots and pans in an antique dresser. Serving traditional Mediterranean dishes with a twist, courtesy of Chef César Calfa, the restaurant effortlessly straddles heritage and modernity in both culinary and design terms.
Tucked at the back of La Placeta, the hotel’s intimate bar, Gipsy combines a sleek minimalist bar counter with plush furnishings in blush, red and mustard hues, and exposed sections of the building’s original stonemasonry. Named after an iconic bar in old Girona, Gipsy serves up some of the best cocktails in the city along with craft beers and exclusive wines.
▏The soulful mix of turn-of-the-century aesthetics and contemporary art and design continues in the rooms in ‘El Palauet’, which are accessed via the building’s original stone staircase. A curvaceous design language, inspired by the arches and porticos of Girona’s Barri Vell paired with a muted colour palette of soft blues, greys and blush tones, imbues the rooms with a feminine sensibility. Original features such as ceiling roses and carved balcony shutters are complemented by bespoke furnishings such as rattan headboards and monolithic marble vanity units, the latter being a modern interpretation of the tocador, a dressing table typical of 19th-century domestic life. Together with plush velvet drapes, parquet flooring and mirrors, these elements constitute a rich tapestry of textures, while an eclectic curation of paintings, sculptures and photographs by local artists adds contemporary notes.
▏For the rooms in ‘El Pavelló’, the designers have opted for a more mid-century-chic aesthetic combined with a sense of craftsmanship as an ode to the ‘la dolce vita’ of Mediterranean life. Underpinned by a muted palette of earthy hues and the use of natural materials such as stone and wood, the rooms’ pared-down, modernist-inspired decor is animated by handmade terracotta blocks and tiles that introduce playful geometries. Rattan chairs and hand-spun textiles, which speak of Costa Brava’s craft ateliers, add more textures, while large windows and patio doors bring in plenty of natural light and serene views of the hotel’s garden and more intimate patios. With each room boasting unique interiors, Palau Fugit’s accommodation encapsulates a rather unique brand of hospitality that graciously tiptoes between the casually glamorous and effortlessly cool.
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