18th Century Palace Turned into a Glamorous Destination Hotel

EL EQUIPO CREATIVO converted a disused 18th-century palace into a destination hotel "Palau Fugit" as charming and seductive as Girona itself. The aim was to create an unpretentious sense of luxury. While respecting the original architecture, the design is fresh, elegant, surprising and, at times, a little subversive.

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The Building

Palau Fugit unfolds in two principal parts, both adapted to the needs of modern travellers and experience hunters by the Barcelona-based architecture studio Isern Associats. The first is the original palauet. Here, an arched courtyard, renamed ‘La Placeta’, holds the reception area, restaurant, and cocktail bar, as well as a tucked-away spa-for-one. Guests ascend to rooms via the original staircase of the palace.

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The second building, named the Pavelló, is an annexe that takes shape with a modern, rational approach. Both volumes are connected by a terrace, or the ‘heart’ of the hotel. Endowed with a small swimming pool, abundant ferns, and a poetic central sculpture (titled Font de Gararotes) by renowned local artist Frederic Amat, it provides a serene oasis for guests and a natural connection between the two edifices.

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The Rooms

For the rooms in El Palauet, El Equipo Creativo reimagined the sumptuous decor of the fin de siècle through a prism of contemporary design and art. The designers' goal was to instill a ‘feminine’ presence throughout, recreating the warm and eclectic ambiance of a noble family nest. Careful attention to detail and the selection of materials and textures create a rich visual experience. This is further enhanced by a curation of paintings, sculptures, murals, and photographs - all of which are original works by local artists. Although each room and suite presents a design story unto itself, gothic arches and porticoes, a dominant architectural motif of Girona’s Barri Vell, are a recurring influence and narrative.

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Curvaceous chaise longues, bespoke rattan bed heads, and avant-garde lighting enfold the guest. Surfaces and textiles, from velvet drapes to strategically placed mirrors, invite the user to linger and relax in this historic setting. Anchoring each room is a custom-made marble vanity unit, a monolithic interpretation of the tocador (dressing table) that exemplifies domestic life of the period. The rooms in El Palauet brim in a palette of natural stone shades and soft blues, greys, and blush tones, creating an elegant mise en scène that is very contemporary and lends new life to original features such as ceiling roses and carved balcony shutters.

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The Public and Social Spaces

Casa Heras, the hotel’s restaurant, is inspired by the social and hospitality areas of the original palace and adapted to modern lifestyle and comfort. Like the rest of the hotel, modern art and objects elevate the spaces, as seen in the whimsical wall murals created by Joana Santamans, and bespoke ceramic pieces from the artisan Núria Gimbernat.

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Sparkling copper pots and pans placed on an antique dresser fill the dining room, while high-quality tables, chairs, and fittings denote a timeless modern feel. Adjacent to this, El Salon provides a space for a cocktails and intimate conversation, surrounded by vestiges of the palau’s ancient walls. La Biblioteca (library) is a distinguished space conceived for private banquets and meetings around a beautiful oval marble table.

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The designers intended La Placeta to be a little more disruptive, and the idea of re-introducing the palace to the social life of the city was essential to the project. Cradled by stone arches and an original staircase, La Placeta presents a place to meet and chatter around zesty-coloured armchairs and tables that are full of personality.

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Adjacent to La Placeta is the reception room, where guests check in at a bespoke Yves Klein blue reception table, overhung by a blossoming golden chandelier. This composition sets the tone for the rest of the hotel - a concept that balances history and modernity, formality and informality, and offers a unique and welcoming base while experiencing the rich history and culture of Girona.

EL EQUIPO CREATIVO

Founded in 2011 by architects Oliver Franz Schmidt, Natali Canas del Pozo, and Lucas Echeveste Lacy, EL EQUIPO CREATIVO is a renowned Barcelona-based interior architecture and design studio specializing in the design of hospitality, gastronomy, and brand spaces. The firm's philosophy centres around the belief that spatial design should tell compelling stories and inspire people, always grounded in a solid conceptual approach.