High up on my Local Hideaways wish list was another trip to one of my favourite Spanish areas: the Empordà in Catalonia. For just around the corner of the wonderful city of Girona is the perfect holiday mix. A rustic inland area with quaint villages, century old fincas and stunning nature combined with old fishing villages, magnificent hidden bays with nice beaches and ditto beach restaurants where you can enjoy the ‘catch of the day’ straight from the sea. And at the heart of it is Begur. A quaint little town that is very crowded in the summer but is perfect the rest of the year. The beach is just round the corner, and the beautiful countryside and cities such as Figueres, Girona and even Barcelona are easily accessible.

Santi felt the same way when, over four years ago, he left behind his busy ‘corporate’ life in Barcelona to embark on a new adventure: a small-scale boutique city hotel in Begur. His new device: more quality of life and a complete turnaround. And so, in one of Begur’s narrow streets, he created a new home in this century old colonial house: the Cluc Hotel. Needless to say, the extensive renovation was hard work, and it was important to keep the spirit of this old building. The authentic details and the magnificent (tile) floor were to be preserved at all cost. But modern demands must be met as well and so a power shower, a lift and wifi were also installed.

You may be wondering what ‘Cluc’ stands for? ‘Cluc’ is a local word that means ‘taking a nap’. All 12 rooms have a Catalan saying relating to sleep written on the wall. For instance, mine said: “A bona son no hi ha llit dur”, which translates as “when you’re very sleepy… there are no hard mattresses”.

In his day-to-day management of the hotel, Santi has help from the sympathetic Elena, a photo journalist who also left the busy city of Barcelona behind to settle in Begur. Elena and Santi confirm what I’ve been saying for so long: turning their lives around so completely has enabled them to bring that much more personality to their establishment; there’s no kowtowing here, only genuinely interested and passionate owners/employees who make this Hideaway stand out from all the other accommodations in the area. Here, you feel as if you’re staying with friends, who will do their utmost to make your stay as pleasant as possible. Breakfast is sumptuous and, if at all possible, served outside on the lovely terrace. Two rooms on the first floor feature a private terrace. The rest of the ten rooms are identical and very comfortable. They are spread out over three floors and on the first and second floor is a common room complete with large library. The hotel also features an honesty bar, where you can prepare your own drinks. For your information, the Cluc Hotel is adults only, children are not allowed.

As I said so before, Cluc Hotel is a wonderful home away from home, personal and comfortable….the ideal base to discover the Empordà. And what’s more: Santi and Elena know just the sites to see and the restaurants to visit: which restaurants are open that day and where to go for  a lovely lunch out in the sun….but also where the nice and quiet beaches are to be found….an added bonus! In short, this Local Hideaway is the perfect place in Begur to “vaig a fer un cluc”…. Sleep tight!