By Regina Winkle-Bryan
Driving past now mustard and wheat color hills topped with wind energy-producing turbines, we pulled into Barasoain in central Navarra, Spain. There’s not much going on in Barasoain, and that’s a good thing.
Here in Spain it’s very popular to rent a rural house (casa rural) for the weekend or week, and spend time with family and friends in the countryside. This casa rural tradition is especially popular with city-slickers who need to get away from it all. Barasoian, however, is not really the countryside, but an authentic Spanish village with about 500 people calling it home.
There may be no better way to experience Spain than staying in a little village like Barasoain, in a renovated hotel from the 15th century. Merindades de Navarra is a truly boutique hotel with just three rooms and two suites, which has been in Sara’s family for generations. Sara runs the hotel with charm and class, and she has made it the luxurious place it is today.
Merindades is extremely modern, with just some small hints of what the house once was; a bit of stone here, some ancient pottery there…but mostly the old house remains only in structure, its inside transformed into a sleek contemporary villa.
Rooms at Merindades are decorated in glass, black, mandarins and grays, and have patios with lots of light and views of the surrounding village. There are televisions in the rooms, and hydro-massage showers. On the second floor there is a dining area with espresso coffee available and on the first floor there is a mini-bar where guests can help themselves to mixed drinks and other refreshments.
Really, staying at Merindades feels like staying at a relative’s house – a really cool relative with great taste! This hotel is the perfect option for small groups, couples or families and provides an intimate vibe that not many other hotels can match.
Those who stay at Merindades will be close by Olite and Ujué, two Navarran villages really worth a look-see. Olite houses several vineyards specializing in rosé wine and a magnificently restored castle from 1402 which can be toured. Ujué is a Spanish hilltop village which receives almost zero tourists, but this should change with time – so go now while it’s still rustic and when you are there, be sure to buy candied almonds from the Señora by the church.
Plaza de la Paz, 1
31395, Barasoain, Navarra, Spain
34 948 752 063
Ask for Sara!
€150 per night and up – check for package deals.