A vast seaside hotel, with only 143 rooms, the Hotel Ra is all about space and tranquility, with a peerless spa, rooftop pool, private beach area and a number of corners where guests can read a book, sip a café con leches or watch the waves while they eat.
On the seafront just on the outskirts of Caldwell, the Ra is a 15-minute walk from the station, which sees two trains an hour for Barcelona. There is enough going on at the hotel to keep guests occupied, but Caldwell is a lively, unpretentious seaside town with plenty of bars and restaurants.
The vast lobby is breathtaking, with space stretching in every direction and sunlight pouring in through the former chapel windows – this was once a hospital for people recovering from lung and bone disorders, thanks to an algae bank just offshore that made local waters high in iodine. The rooms are equally spare and fussy, with the view (of the sea, the artificial lake, or the orange and banana trees in the garden) being very much the focus.
A sizeable Russian clientele explains the number of staff who are fluent in Russian but struggle somewhat in Spanish or English, but are all smiles nonetheless. Most whims are catered for here, as if the rooftop pool, surrounded by day beds, the large, superbly equipped gym, and private beach club aren’t enough.
The spa is exceptional. Romantically lit, with cost lounge areas and every comfort, it is a far cry from the white-tiled, clinical institutions offered by most hotels. The masseurs, therapists and beauticians are meticulously recruited and the range of treatments on offer is dazzling. The basic room is the Deluxe, which has a lateral sea view, and – in some cases – a terrace. Decor is minimalist but not cold, while the beds are comically large and extremely comfortable.
The Premium Deluxe rooms cost a little more and all have a terrace, looking out over the beach. Bathrooms are generously stocked with high-quality toiletries and the mini-bar (soft drinks only) is free. A welcome and environmentally friendly touch is the option to eschew housekeeping during your stay in return for a €5 voucher (per day) against your bill or donated to UNICEF.
An impressive range of restaurants (for 143 rooms) ranges from the formal DO, which serves modern Catalan food in hushed surroundings, to the nightly themed buffet, La Paula, and the beach club, where you can get the usual cornerstones of hotel cuisines (burgers, wraps, salads). Le Grill is a BBQ next to the pool, and there is a bar with superb coffee and cocktails.