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La Grava

Spain   Catalunya - South of Barcelona   El Morell, Tarragona   Why Catalunya - South of Barcelona?
Reus (Tarragona) 15 Kms
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Reviewed by Michael Soffe

KEEPING IT IN THE FAMLY ..............

It is always a pleasure to be enormously surprised by some of the Hotels we find – some have already made excellent reputations and are internationally known. This one is a real “gem” - the complete package and known only really by the Spanish who have already taken it to their hearts. And quite rightly so!! La Grava tucks away in the village of El Morell about 15 minutes off the main Barcelona/Valencia motorway, thus making it an excellent stop over point when travelling from North to South or visa versa. There is however much to do in the area and a one night stay will not do it justice. The renowned O'Priorat wine area is nearby with many of the bodegas open for visits. The "Delta del Ebro" river is a “must do” for nature lovers, and the often forgotten city of Tarragona will take up a full days itinerary as will the theme park “Port Aventura” if travelling with the little ones.

On a quiet street in the town (well signposted and easy to find) sits La Grava. It has been there as a restaurant for four generations of the Ribal family and is still very much a family affair. The Director, Noemi is a “hands on” part of the team and even served me breakfast! Her father, Mario, is the Maitre in the excellent restuarant (more of the food later!) and Noemi's brother/Mario´s son is the talented Chef (ably assisted by Mum in the kitchen!!). The Hotel “part” came later as a natural extension to a successful gourmet restaurant as diners wanted to stay in the area. The whole family are delightful. Extremely friendly and helpful and their pride in what they have created is a joy to see.

Reception is welcoming and an eye-catching spiral staircase forms the heart of the Hotel, taking you upstairs to the bedrooms or downstairs to the garden. There is a good sized pool that is only open in the summer months, but still a lovely area to take the sun on a lounger when weather permits.

The focus is obviously on their food! (not surprising really, with such a talent in the kitchen). There is a lovely bar and lounge area at the front of the Hotel that can be entered from either reception or directly from the street as the restaurant and bar are open to the public. Many delicious home-made and locally produced products and wines are on sale. Colours are dark, and smoky greys give a warm, designer feel to the place.

The welcoming bar leads through to the restaurant with a centre-point of an enormous fireplace that must be so welcoming in the winter months. The night I stayed, Mario took me through the Menu options and advised on wines (over 400 Catalan wines on the list!!) and even on mineral water! I had an absolute feast of a truly remarkable quality, washed down with a superb red wine unknown to me (recommended by Mario of course – he know his stuff!!). The cuisine is a fusion of local seasonal products – at the time I was there the Menu had a small emphasis on game as the hunting season had started. The menu is large and there is something for everyone. There is a special Menu of all the favourite dishes that the public has acclaimed in the past years – a mouth-watering choice. Home-made bread rolls of several varieties and an “amuse-bouche” all add to the fine dining experience. Presentation of the dishes is exquisite. I finally chose some historic patés and foie followed by roast suckling pig as my main course. All wonderful. If you have a hearty appetite they have an excellently priced “Menu de Degustación” (Tasting Menu) for about 50 Euros – remarkable value. No wonder the restaurant has received many “gongs”. There is a small, wooden, decked terrace off the restaurant for summer dining (this is also the only area where smoking is permitted in the Hotel).

There are 12 bedrooms - Double, Double with Terrace and Superior Doubles spread over two floors (lift access of course). They are all different, named and not numbered, pleasantly decorated in warm hues and my bed was large and extremely comfortable. All are en-suite and my Superior Double had a hydromassage bath. All rooms have heating and air-con, safe, mini-bar and free Wi-Fi access. There is a television (but no satellite channels are available in languages other than Spanish at the moment). Bathrooms have all the usual toiletries, fluffy towels, bathrobes, slippers and hair dryers. One room is especially adapted for wheelchair access or for those with mobility problems, with a roll-in shower, grab bars, etc. Room service is also available.

After a good nights sleep (and I slept like a baby), breakfast is another gourmet feast. The Spanish normally grab a coffee and a pastry, but here the Hotel actually encourages their clients to take a good half hour with the “Desayuno de Degustación” (breakfast tasting menu). No buffet here! I had several home-made jams and marmelades with toast, fresh orange juice, caremilized onion and pureé of tomato (also to spread on your toast and typically Spanish). You also get little tastes of things like chocolate spread! Yoghurt and fresh fruit, all followed by cooked local butifara sausage and eggs (several cooked options). If only every day could start in such style!

The hotel also has its own car park.

An ideal Hotel for those who want to escape from the tourist areas and stay in an excellent Hotel and experience an authentic Spanish way of life (a phrase-book would be a handy thing to have in your pocket!). Food and wine to die for!!! An absolute delight!

Gourmet Restaurant
Sales of local produce
Outdoor Swimming pool open in the summer months


Choose your currency
From 79€ to 140€

Click here for detailed prices


High Season: Month of August

Mid Season: All Friday and Saturday nights throughout the year excluding those in High Season.

Low Season: Sunday to Thursday nights throughout the year excluding those in High Season.

The Hotel only requires credit card details in order to guarantee a reservation.

Cancellations may be made up to 48 hours before the arrival date without penalty.

Cancellations made less than 48 hours before the arrival date, No-Shows or Early Departure will result in the cost of the first nights accommodation being charged by the Hotel.

For all cancellations will charge an administration fee of 15 Euros.