MORE THAN A CENTURY OF HISTORY
At the beginning of the 20th century, architect Calixto Freixa –one of Gaudí’s disciples- designed the “Castle of our Lady of Remedy”, commissioned by banker Agustí Manaut i Taberner as a gift to his daughter, Blanca Manaut i Uyà. Inaugurated in 1910, the palace combines French Neoclassic elements with Catalan modernism.
It’s first owner -Blanca Manaut- moved into the property (oddly enough with nine more women, including the servant), reaching notoriety and being a regular stop off and inn for the bishop of the Seu d'Urgell on his travels to the, then, far away Puigcerdà.
During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), the occupants of the Torre del Remei moved to Barcelona. The house was confiscated by the republican government which used it first as a school and later as a hospital. Despite the warlike conflict, the building didn’t suffer any damage or lootings. And after the war, the owner got the Torre del Remei back although it never restored its prestige and ended up being closed and abandoned.
Years later, the Torre del Remei’s story made a turn-around when the Catalan chef, Josep Maria Boix and his wife were invited to the neighbouring house and discovered the building’s pointy towers: Struck by the beauty of the palace, they decided to convert the palace into a luxury hotel. In 1989, the couple bought the Torre del Remei and assigned the renovation of the stately old house to the Espinet-Ubach architectural firm, who developed a project respecting the original architecture of the palace and the characteristics of its surroundings. In 1991, the Hotel Torre del Remei was inaugurated and in 1993, Boix’s dream formed a part of the exclusive Relais & Châteaux family.
From its origin, gastronomy was the heart of the project. Heir of a family dedicated to the hotel industry since 1869, National Gastronomy Award winner (1987) and considered one of the creators of the modern Catalan cuisine, Josep Maria Boix built a loyal clientele with dishes based on the re-interpreted Pyrenean gastronomy. During the 27 years that Boix was head of the kitchen at the Torre del Remei, his restaurant served anywhere from royal banquets to national awards and acquired enormous prestige.
In 2018, this icon of the hotel industry started a new phase in its history accompanied by Mercer Hoteles: Throughout several months, the hotel chain has carried out diverse improvements to adapt the facilities and services of the Torre del Remei to contemporary luxury. Taking into account the fulfilment of guests’ high expectations, the project of the Mercer Torre del Remei places special emphasis on design without forgetting gastronomy.
It comes as no surprise that haute cuisine continues to be the star. The prestigious Catalan chef, Carles Gaig and his wife, Fina Navarro –head of the dining room- are in charge of taking over for Boix, moving their emblematic restaurant from Barcelona to the Cerdanya. Gaig, brought up in the kitchen of the old family business, his 50 years of experience places him among the masters of Catalan cuisine and rewarded him a Michelin star which he’s had since 1993. He is a defender of cooking based on roots and from the soul. His proposal -based on local products from La Cerdanya and the hotel’s own organic garden- unites tradition and modernity and keeps his legendary dishes such as the ‘Gaig Cannelloni’ or ‘the Cardinal’s macaroni’.