It’s a great joy that the luxury hospitality world is doing more than the minimum to help the planet. Anantara’s ‘Dollar for Deeds’ programme, for instance, is now brand-wide: started a decade ago, it invites consumers to give back to the community by donating to a range of worthy causes, say elephant welfare in Thailand, holistic coral reef protection in the Maldives and vulture nest monitoring, raptor protection and humpback whale monitoring in Oman.
In Catalonia, north-east Spain, what The Stein Group is doing is truly remarkable. David Stein and his family were basically invited to turn a worn-out farmhouse with a 100-metre hen house into a luxury hotel. MAS D’EN BRUNO is miles from anywhere, in one of Spain’s two DOQ wine regions, Priorat. It’s reached by several narrow paved roads all attempting to show how many steep S-bends it’s possible to put in any five-minute stretch (as you drive anywhere, you are up and down hills, looking up at slopes far above awe-inspiringly clad in terraces of vines broken up by mature olive plantations – every now and again you get a glimpse of a river far below, or a shades of honey village far away).
That was the scene seven years ago. In fact the scenery has not changed but after five years of waiting for planning permissions, The Stein Group started work. The old farmhouse is now a group of connected buildings, some the local honey slate but the main part, as shown above, is harled in terracotta and red-earth hues. Miraculously, the henhouse, from main house end out, holds a casual restaurant, a concept store with a bodegas below where vineyard partners will hold presentations and tastings, and then come 11 bedrooms, all with all-wall French windows leading to totally-private patios, olive trees and vines beyond. The patios have loungers, and wall-set fires facing those on loungers, or, inside, in or on the beds that beautifully look out at this vista. Girlahead finds this suitably ravishing anyway but the finishing touch is that the end room, #50, also has a private pool.
Mas d’en Bruno in total has 24 rooms (#10, in the main house, has an especially addictive look-down at the main pool, Olympic length, and the vineyards all around). By putting it into Relais & Châteaux long before its final opening April 2024, the heaven the Group built quickly attracted the attention of diligent consumers, of scouts looking for car trials, and of the wine trade. For the last few months a lucky few have been trialling it all. Watch this space.