Friday, November 5, 2010

WE HAVE JUST BEEN TO: Alva Park, Spain

As winter closes in with cold and dark, it’s time for a weekend break bringing warmth and new vision. This is our perfect solution: one of the world’s most extraordinary hotel experiences. We fly to Barcelona and are met in the arrival hall by an elegantly clad chauffeur. A BMW 7 vehicle is waiting outside the terminal to spirit us north along the coast of the Costa Brava. One hour and 15 minutes later we arrive in Lloret de Mar.

At first glance, the town doesn’t look particularly glamorous, with the usual pizza places and tavernas with neon signs and apparently no gastronomic or aesthetic ambitions. The beach is nevertheless surprisingly beautiful, and later we find a simple beach restaurant that serves fabulous paella.
But we are not in Lloret de Mar for the sake of it. We are here for Europe’s probably most exciting hotel. Why it was built here in Lloret de Mar we cannot imagine, but we stop puzzling over that when we realize we have arrived close to heaven. As you go through the doors of Alva Park Hotel & Spa you enter another world.

Another world full of playful and luscious surprises. It is soon apparent that a hotel fetishist has lived out his wildest fantasies in creating this magical place. The rooms are more like suites and are at least 70 sqm in size. All details in our suite are of the utmost quality. The bed linen is crisp and smooth with attractive embroidery.

The bed is fit for a king – we reckon it is at least 3 metres wide. It is in itself a heavenly kingdom and once you lie on it, it’s hard to get up again to enjoy the other delights. Everything you could imagine is in this suite – and more. Bath with Jacuzzi jets, a little office, walk in cupboard, espresso machine and… an amazing surprise. When we enter our walk-in cupboard, we press experimentally on a button marked Garden. “Open sesame” I whisper to my beloved as a secret door opens. It leads us in to a tiny inner garden – a bower – magically lit and strewn with white pebbles around a really stylish steam sauna (hammam). The final touch is the twitter of birds rising from hidden speakers. Where on earth are we?

Though it is a deeply attractive idea to stay in our “Royal palace”, we pull ourselves away to explore the hotel. On the way to the inner courtyard we meet the receptionist who wonders if we managed to find the secret part of our room. Oh yes, we answer and ask if all rooms boast this finesse. Actually no. Only a few suites have the secret door; so of course these suites come at a higher price – and are surely worth it.
Before dinner we enjoy a swim in the outdoor pool in early November sunshine, after which we enter the magical saltwater pool indoors. This is aptly named the Indian Princess Bath. Here we float in warm water to the sound of classical music, vibrating under the surface. Sudden drops of rain come down from the “heavens” above, all the while surrounded by Asian antiquity. We pinch ourselves to see if all this is really truly true. To think that planet Earth actually has a place like Alva Park. A place that delivers so much more than it advertises…
Dinner that evening is at Minamo. A Japanese theme restaurant where the experience is more than just Sushi and delicious Japanese dishes. Truly exclusive, it has only three tables, sudden falls of “rain” and pictures of nature in Japan projected on the walls as characteristic music completes the spell. It is so perfectly executed that tears come to the eyes. It is the first time in our lives that a mere restaurant concept has moved us to such a degree that we cry out of pure happiness.
We sleep so sweetly in that wonderful bed, dreaming of the coming day. It begins to perfection with deluxe à la carte breakfast. The menu seems to have almost anything you might want. They even offer almond milk for the cappuccino. The sun was shining as we wandered along the golden beach. Later we borrowed a smart car. These are loaned out free of charge for a maximum of three hours. It’s first come first served. We drove to the neighbouring village of Tossa del Mar, which is rather more charming than Lloret de Mar. Still, we couldn’t bear to be away from Alva Park too long. We were already looking forward to dinner experience number 2, surrounded by butterflies...

A majestic butterfly watching out over the dining room, ready for tonight's show.

Butterflies to be in the nursery, soon they come alive.
Do you want this fabulous experience? a 2 night package including flights, BMW7 transfer, 2 dinners, breakfast and 2 nights accommodation in a sumptuous Junior Suite starts from 9300 SEK / EUR950 / 9700 NOK / GBP710 per person based on double occupancy.

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