Why is it that we like rural tourism this much, in Pedratour? It’s not because we are peasants –although, to be honest, we kind of are–, but because the values associated to it. With this, I intend to go beyond the “sightseeing in the nature”, since rural tourism is much more than that. We truly are lovers of our land, there’s no point trying to deny it, yet what we love the most of rural hotels is the project itself. Catalan rural hotels –and those of any region, I guess– are usually born as a family project undertaken by people who love their land. Whether they are born there or coming from other places, they have a deep connection with that territory and, ultimately, all they intend is to make of this love a way of living. Usually without further ambitions.
Therefore, most rural hotels have certain characteristics which lend them a particular charm: their surroundings –obviously–, the atmosphere inside the hotel, the lodging’s history, the customer care, and their sustainable practices.
What can I tell you about the surroundings that you don’t already know? We are lucky that our Catalan land offers a magnificent scenic diversity: from the Costa Brava’s cliffs to the Pyrenean glacial lakes, we can find many natural environments, each with its own appeals and cultural and sportive offer. Hence, each rural lodging has a particular tourist offer in its vicinities and, usually, the owners –or managers, or workers– know it very well and can help you find your ideal activity.
On the inside, the atmosphere is normally homely. Even luxury rural hotels –yeah, I know, they’re awesome; it’s definitely the upper level– tend to keep a rustic and cosy character, making you feel at home. It’s a fantasy to get away for a few days somewhere in a privileged environment, with every amenity, while enjoying the comfort of a home. Almost like you moved into your dream house.
Furthermore, rural houses and hotels are usually placed in buildings steeped in history, and they normally carry an incredible legacy. Fully restored 11th century country houses, mountain manors, family inns with several generations of tradition… Every corner conceals an anecdote, a pinch of history. The stay by itself can be a journey to the past. And surely the current owners will be delighted to tell you all of their project’s story!
Because the costumer care in rural hotels has this fantastic peculiarity. Because they’re generally family projects: a couple who fell in love with the area, or a family who’s been in charge of the establishment for generations, pouring all their eagerness and love for the land into an undertaking which allows them to share them. They are usually close, warm and friendly towards their customers. Which does not imply a lack of professionality! However, it is indeed a different approach to the client, since the managers of rural hotels aren’t exactly hoteliers, but rather hosts: they open the doors of their home for you. Moreover, rural houses and hotels are generally quite small, with only a few rooms: everything is kept in the family. Thus, besides inviting to relax and get away in the middle of nature, rural hotels offer the opportunity to meet different people and contact others, whether the staff or other guests. Small dining areas, homely living rooms, and lovely common areas, all of it entices to share a board game or a conversation with the people around you. Isn’t it tender and rewarding?
Yet maybe what I like the most of rural hotels is their sustainable policy. Most of them take it very seriously, precisely because they love their land and want to take care of it. Genuinely. Therefore, they normally consider every aspect of sustainability –environmental, economic and social–, since this is how you protect the territory.
They bet on local, seasonal and usually organic products. In this way, they support the region’s economy while reducing the pollution derived from long-distance transport. Moreover, this gives their cuisine a distinctive and traditional character, often combined with innovative signature cuisine. Typical, home-made recipes and products–sometimes from their own garden–, with a modern and original flavour. Thus, they not only reinforce local economy, but also tradition.
Besides, they are great connoisseurs of the territory and its commercial and tourist offer. They will recommend you activities organised by local companies and send you to buy in trusted establishments. With this, they favour circular economy and occupation within the region, keeping rural areas alive.
Furthermore, most of them support renewable energies and sustainable transport. Many establishments can readily put you in touch with local companies renting electric cars or bikes; they often offer bike-storage services and can provide with spare parts, and many of them put electric car chargers at your disposal. You’ll find many rural hotels equipped with solar panels, biomass heaters, or water filtration systems to offer excellent water without committing the sin of using plastic bottles. Awesome, isn’t it?
Rural tourism is not only a getaway to nature, it’s a philosophy. A conception of tourism trying to juggle leisure and pleasure with the respect for nature and the environment. It’s a bet on the land and its people. And, particularly in these times, a great opportunity to live unforgettable experiences without leaving Catalunya. From romantic weekend getaways to family vacations, the Catalan rural tourism has a vast offer for all tastes and wallets. Do you fancy?