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Hotel Vistabella: Coming up pretty in Roses, Spain

Come, dream a little daydream with us…

It’s late September in Spain, the skies are cloudless and the Mediterranean sea is still warm for swimming.

We pull into Hotel Vistabella, where a valet quickly drives our rental car away, dispensing with the nuisance of having to deal with it.

There’s an old-fashioned gracious feel as we check in (big brass room keys rest in wooden cubicles behind the reception desk).

It contrasts nicely with our room, which is all white and bright and modern.

But it’s not the room our eyes focus on, it’s the view beyond our balcony.

Sea-facing rooms at Hotel Vistabella have drop-dead gorgeous views
Sea-facing rooms have drop-dead gorgeous views

We see the sun glinting off the different shades of turquoise of the sea outside. Small yachts bob up and down. A water skier takes off from the wooden jetty in front.

And there’s a bottle of chilled Cava on the desk just begging to be drunk outside, before the sun casts a pumpkin glow on the whole scene below.

Hotel Vistabella is one of the best hotels in the Costa Brava
Hotel Vistabella is one of the best hotels in the Costa Brava

Hotel Vistabella: Fab location on Spain’s Costa Brava

When it comes to beautiful boutique hotels in Costa Brava (indeed, all of the Mediterranean) – ones with lots of blue and white that get their inspiration from the sea – Hotel Vistabella is hard to beat.

It kills the competition with its location.

It’s close enough to Roses to choose from a plethora of restaurants, but far enough away to feel deliciously secluded (under two miles away).

If you have a rental car (we did), you’ll be in Roses within three minutes.

The other point to note about the hotel’s great location is the Costa Brava coastal path that runs right by the Vistabella hotel.

This path goes by many names – Camino de Ronda, the Costa Brava Way, the Costa Brava path – and hugs the rugged Costa Brava coastline for over 125 miles.

Camino de Ronda hiking trail in the Costa Brava
See the hikers on this coastal path? We’re about two miles away from Hotel Vistabella

If you turn right from the hotel, as you’re facing the sea, you can walk into Roses.

Turn left, and you pass beautiful beach coves then enter a huge wilderness nature reserve. We didn’t go as far as the picturesque town of Cadaques.

But continue in this direction and you’ll reach Cadaques after about five hours of walking (the trail between Roses and Cadaques is a popular one for hikers).

Recommended reading: Check out our photos of Cadaques (it’s one of Spain’s prettiest villages!)

Sweet beach

boutique hotels costa brava - hotel vistabella
This almost-private beach below the hotel is waiting for us!

There’s a mid-sized indoor pool with Moorish tiles in the basement and a hot tub on a small terrace overlooking the sea, but we couldn’t find an outdoor pool. 

When we asked about an outdoor pool, we were told, “You have the sea!

And indeed, you have the sea. Right in front of the hotel.

hotel vistabella beach
We made like this couple in the sea :-)

Stone steps lead down to Bonifaci Beach, an almost-private golden pebble beach with clear turquoise water that screams “Come on in!” We did exactly that.

It was particularly inviting after our sweaty trek on the coastal path!

Back up at the top of the steps is the hotel shower for rinsing off. (Yes, lots of going up-and-down! But good exercise, right?)

As bloomin’ pretty as a rose

Family-owned, the cliff-top Vistabella hotel was built by the current owners’ grandfather.

In 2000, it became the first five-star hotel in the northern Costa Brava area.

Rumor has it that past guests include Salvador Dali, Penelope Cruz and Argentine football player Lionel Messi.

Hotel Vistabella review
Looking up at Hotel Vistabella from below

Hotel Vistabella doesn’t rest on its laurels, though.

All rooms and suites were recently renovated.

If you’re a fan of the super-minimal, you’ll love the clean all-white décor.

Our seaview room had white stone floors, white walls, white blinds and a white cotton coverlet on the very comfortable king-size bed. And there was lots of counterspace to stow cameras, laptops, books and other paraphernalia.

Hotel Vistabella review
A sea view room; the blue sea adds a big splash of color! (Credit: Hotel Vistabella)

And the bathroom?

It was sleek and sexy too.

The bathtub had a glass window that looked into the bedroom and, while showering, we could peer right out through to the view outside.

Our shower had a mind of its own, however, deciding that the floor and sink beyond the tub needed spraying too. No matter. Without complaint, the maids kindly replaced our soggy towels with piles of clean dry ones, twice a day.

Hotel Vistabella
Chill-out beds on the main terrace are great for reading and napping

Perhaps because we gravitate toward the traditional, it was the public areas that appealed to us the most.

Multi-tiered terraces jut out offering OMG sea views.

Hotel Vistabella - Roses Spain
View from the breakfast terrace

The main terrace, with garden areas blooming with flowers, has double day beds with white sail-shaped shades draped overhead.

As we lounged there one afternoon, servers offered guests complimentary designer mini-cocktails – a rum-based berry drink topped with mango foam.

Smaller terraces have private corners with just enough room for two lounge chairs tucked under an umbrella.

Someone else is dreaming a nice daydream too

High honors for the restaurants

Hotel Vistabella has five restaurants and bars – impressive for a 34-room hotel.

Hotel Vistabella is known for its fine dining
Hotel Vistabella is known for its fine dining

El Brancs has one Michelin star. We didn’t dine there, but we can tell you it boasts a long degustation menu of some 22 dishes (with seafood), a shorter gastronomic tasting menu of 15 dishes and a la carte choices.

Hotel Vistabella has thoughtfully set out a detailed list of other Michelin star restaurants within a 70-mile radius of the hotel.

Have a boat? Then dock right at the jetty for lunch at El Piratu

El Piratu – steps from the sea – looks like it would be fun in the summertime.

It had closed for the season when we were there, but we heard about its famous Sunday afternoon champagne parties. “People come by boat, there’s music and lots of Moet & Chandon!

In the summer, El Piratu is a hot spot for the young and the beautiful to gather

Sunsets to remember

We can’t end our Hotel Vistabella review without mentioning the sunsets.

In Roses the best sunsets of the whole country can be seen,” wrote Josep Pla, a famous Catalan journalist.

You can expect fiery orange sunsets at the end of each day at Hotel Vistabella.

So, we’ve drunk the Cava; swum in the Mediterranean sea; lounged in the late afternoon somnolent warmth; watched the water skiers; stuffed ourselves with eggs, bacon, pancakes, strawberries and pastries at breakfast; hiked along the coast; and ogled the sunsets.

Now we have to pack our bags and move on…

But wasn’t that a pleasant daydream?

Hotel Vistabella at a glance

Rooms:

Hotel Vistabella is one of the best boutique hotels in Costa Brava – with 34 modern rooms and suites. (For a splurge, book the very Daliesque “Surrealist Suite.”)

Restaurants:

There are five restaurants and bars; El Brancs is Michelin-starred.

Beach and sea views:

Yes!

Location:

Just outside of the town of Roses, in northeast Spain. If you’re looking at luxury Roses’ hotels, be sure to consider the Vistabella.

Getting there:

We flew to Barcelona and took the train to Girona, where we rented a car to reach Hotel Vistabella.

To book:

Check dates and availability here.

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Here’s a good pin :-).

Hotel Vistabella review

Photo credits: 4, 6, 7, 10 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | Remaining images Hotel Vistabella


We stayed at this Costa Brava hotel as media guests for the purpose of this Hotel Vistabella review. As ever, however, we kept the right to write what we like.


About the authors:

Janice and George Mucalov

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews and information, insanely useful travel tips and more!

karan tirki

Tuesday 16th of January 2018

lovely pictures... beautiful

yash sagar

Tuesday 16th of January 2018

all your pictures are stunning. your article is really nice too. thanks for sharing......!

Anda

Tuesday 21st of November 2017

Ah, how I wish I would wake up to a view like that! And dining in a one Michelin star restaurant doesn't sound bad either. I just love luxury boutique hotels like Vistabella.

Janice and George

Tuesday 21st of November 2017

We certainly loved our stay :-).

irenelevine

Thursday 16th of November 2017

Hotel Vistabella is such an apt name. What views that come with a rich history, too!

Janice and George

Thursday 16th of November 2017

Yes, beautiful view -- the hotel name certainly nails it!