A diamond in the heart of Girona: Hotel Carlemany
Catching the mid afternoon sun on its curved, glass facade, Hotel Carlemany glistens like a jewel as the General Manager, Jordi Mias Morrell, starts to speak about the history of a true Girona institution. The smile that greets his customers in the stylish, mid-century inspired lobby is as bright as the view we’d just taken in outside.
Having welcomed the great and good of international sport through the years, from visiting La Liga football teams to entire World Tour cycling squads, the hotel breathes a distinguished history. Mias Morrell guides the way into the bustling café Carlemany, one of three different places you can eat and drink at Hotel Carlemany.
“The city has changed over the last two decades,” Mias Morrell says. “More recently by the growing number of cyclists”. A type of guest the hotel has had to create its own category for in the last 7 years.
If there’s anyone who knows how to run a successful hotel and provide the best experience possible, it is Mias Morrell. Having grown up nearby Girona, he studied hospitality all over the world from Switzerland to the United States, before returning to his roots to witness a town changing in front of his eyes.
“The city before was a bit dark, but because of the university, it started to evolve. There was a new type of people coming into the city: young people, you know, because of them, that new services, let’s say nightlife, was coming back to town and we started enjoying the bruise.”
It wasn’t just the return of the university in the 90s that changed Girona. It’s a well-told story by now, but over the past 20 years, a steadily increasing number of expats have chosen to call Girona home thanks to its climate, cuisine, architecture and of course, unparalleled access to the great outdoors. Catalonia, Mias Morrell proudly informs, has always had the most registered sports clubs in the whole of Spain. So perhaps that the city blossoming into such a hub for outdoor pursuits should come as no surprise. It only took one or two big names to spread the word about how good things are here to turn a handful of expats into hundreds.
From entire WorldTour squads to visiting La Liga sides, Hotel Carlemany is used to catering to athletes. From making sure you are properly fuelled, to providing expert local recommendations and, of course, exceptional facilities. There are few people in Girona who can offer the level of experience Mias Morrell and his team have.
In the parking garage, visitors find an entire area dedicated to bikes. There is space to hang your machine, all the tools you need to make quick repairs and even a bike wash for your gravel adventures. Planning a trip with an e-bike? Not a problem: there are ten charging points ready and waiting.
I ask Mias Morrell what, for him, makes a great hotel experience. He takes a moment to look out into the bustling square, busy with people enjoying a typically balmy Girona afternoon, before answering with the confidence of someone who knows a thing or two about making sure people have the best time possible.
“I think it’s a balance or a mix of different ingredients on every level. The place itself, plus the employees, plus the location and surroundings…” When it comes to planning your next riding holiday in Girona – Hotel Carlemany has the perfect recipe.