A Converted 18th-Century Palace Gets New Life as a Serene Retreat

Meet Girona’s Palau Fugit.

La vida plena, or “a fulfilling life,” is the motto that guides Palau Fugit, a boutique hotel in the small historic city of Girona 100 kilometres northeast of Barcelona, which opened in an 18th-century palace last year. The 25-room retreat is meant to embody, and encourage, a life of intention and the enjoyment of little things. Refined and relaxed interiors, intimate seating areas, a tucked-away cave wellness area, and a stylish but casual restaurant help guests do just that. Vermouth Hour, when they can enjoy a complimentary aperitif on the rooftop while soaking in views of Girona’s 14th-century old city wall, helps too.




The rooms are divided between the two branches of the hotel, Palauet and Pavelló, with nine different types of accommodation. A study of how colour and serenity aren’t mutually exclusive, the rooms rely on a palette of mossy greens, rich terra cotta, and vibrant blues alongside wood and steel. With thoughtful design details like scalloped woven-rattan headboards, built-in arched shelves, and fireplaces by Girona architect Rafael Masó, each room feels intimate and homey. The Palauet rooms are elegant and peaceful with high ceilings and hues inspired by the city’s festival of flowers, while the cheerful Pavelló quarters take cues from rationalist architectural style, incorporating geometric patterns, terra cotta furniture, and Mediterranean design elements.

The 340-square-foot penthouse features soft green walls, a cozy seating area, and a deluxe bath. But the real selling point is the over 350 square feet of private terrace space, with views of the old town and the historic university whose roots date back to the 15th century.






Accommodations in Spain wouldn’t be complete without a central courtyard, and at Palau Fugit, La Placeta is the beating heart of the compound where visitors and locals alike can relax and gather. La Cova d’Aigua is a fitting wellness offering for a city steeped in history—the dimly lit grotto is inside the Girona’s old ramparts. The narrow hot water pool and large warming stone are complimentary for guests (though a time must be booked ahead to keep the small space from getting too crowded). Private rooms are available for massages and treatments. For those who prefer to bask in the Mediterranean sun, an outdoor pool in a verdant garden is tucked against an ivy-clad wall.





Adjacent to La Placeta, Casa Heras, the hotel’s restaurant, serves all three meals within stylish interiors. At cocktail bar Gipsy, named for a well-known bar in the old town, bits of the stone wall peek through for an old world meets hip modernity atmosphere that embraces where Girona has come from and where it is going next.

In a city whose buildings have seen the centuries go by, local craftsmanship is important. Palau Fugit fosters this tradition with a bouquet of artistic talent, featuring works by some of the region’s most celebrated creatives, including a sculpture by Frederic Amat, ceramic pieces from Núria Gimbernat, Sonia Estévez illustrations, and murals depicting Girona botanicals by Joana Santamans. Judith Bernàcer of floral studio My Mother’s Garden creates stunning arrangements using local flowers for the hotel. Barcelona-based architecture studio Isern took on the renovation of transforming the historic Casa Heras palace into the hotel, while El Equipo Creativo, also in Barcelona, reimagined the interiors.






In the rooms, bathrooms are stocked with Olively products, an ethical and sustainability-focused Girona brand that uses olive oil in its products, and on the beds, Teixidors blankets sewn by hand from sustainable fabrics made in Terrassa, Spain. Take a whiff, and you’ll yet again enjoy the work of a local craftsperson—Montse Nart of local aroma brand Shizen’na designed a woody and floral custom scent for the hotel that captures the essence of the city.

Photography by Salva López.