Palau Fugit Hotel

El Equipo Creativo transformed a disused 18th-century palace in Girona’s Barri Vell into Palau Fugit, a destination hotel blending historic charm with contemporary design and local artistic influences.

  • area / size 18,891 sqft
  • Year 2023
  • Location Girona, Spain,
  • Type Hotel, Restaurant,
  • El Equipo Creativo has completed the interior design of Palau Fugit. Located deep in Girona’s atmospheric Barri Vell (Old Quarter) the award-winning studio converted a disused 18th-century palace into a destination hotel as charming and seductive as Girona itself.

    El Equipo Creativo used the ‘two Gironas’ as their creative starting point. The first is the Barri Vell; an emblematic district of weathered stone facades, hidden cul-de-sacs, porticoes and stone ramparts. In contrast, the designers have highlighted the lighter side of the city – namely the vibrant colours that bathe the townhouses flanking the River Onyar along with Girona’s most famous spring celebration – El Temps de Flors (The Time of Flowers). These influences, enhanced with striking modern art and crafted objects, create a hotel that begs to be discovered and enjoyed.

    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 and a tucked-away spa-for-one. Guests ascend to rooms via the original staircase of the palace.

    The second building, named the Pavelló, is an annex that takes shape with a modern, rational approach. Both these 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 the renowned local artist Frederic Amat, it provides a serene oasis for guests and a natural connection between the two edifices.

    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 designer’s goal was to instill a ‘feminine’ presence throughout, recreating the warm and eclectic ambience 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.

    Curvaceous chaise lounges, 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 sits a custom-made marble vanity unit, a monolithic interpretation of the tocador (dressing table) that exemplifies the 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 a new life to original features such as ceiling roses and carved balcony shutters.

    This mood changed in El Pavelló – an ode to ‘la dolce vita’ of the Mediterranean. A palette of terracotta, locally made ceramics and wood give a mid-century chic feel to the rooms that are enhanced with natural light pouring in through direct access to the patio.

    Handmade terracotta breeze blocks and tiles create rippling shadows and textured surfaces, and rattan chairs and occasion tables evoke the local craft ateliers of the Costa Brava. With splashes of colour and handspun textiles, the overall feel is at once casually glamorous and effortlessly cool.

    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.

    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.

    Partners: Oliver Franz Schmidt, Natali Canas del Pozo, Lucas Echeveste Lacy
    Team Leaders: Daniel Trujillo, Ricard Fabregat
    Photography: Salva Lopez