CB 500 Casanova de Ferrando - 10 bedrooms
Casanova de Ferrando is practically unique in my listings for having 10 bedrooms, 8 of then en suite with private bathroom, the top floor 2 bedroom suite sharing a bathroom plus one extra bathroom just off the living room. Most houses don't have so many bathrooms. Also setting this house apart in terms of price-quality are the following: a beautiful flowery garden (the owners own a tree nursery) surrounded by tall cypress trees with several attractive vine-covered pergolas for shadded al fresco meals around the nice BBQ. There are plenty of different sitting areas indoors, including a reading/computer room with a PC, a large living rooom, and just off the kitchen a dining room seating well over 20 guests. The location is also notable, in a pleasant rural area a short walk (800m) from a small town with shops & restaurants and on the commuter train route, 70 minutes to Barcelona, 8 kms to Girona, and 23 km to some of the coast's best beaches. In many ways, hard to beat, and now, with new spa area including sauna (€5=2hours and Jacuzzi €5=1h). These work with tokens and the owner gives you 4 tokens for free upon arrival. Payment for the spa is not to make money. It is to avoid burning out the motors with overuse.
The owners of this new house, situated 8 just km south of Girona, have done a smart thing. They called me up and invited me to stay at their new house to get to know the place first hand. I´m on my third day here, November 21, 2002, and it´s time to get to work and do a proper write up. In general, this newly restored house offers a lot of pros and almost no cons. The owners have restored the house with rentals in mind, so it is one of the few places I offer where all the 10 bedrooms are en suites (nowadays in this business they call any room with a toilet en suite!). But in fact all the rooms here are a of a good size, around 20m2 or more, and the bathrooms are of a normal size too. Another nice feature is the fact that the common or shared areas, meaning everything aside from the rooms, are well divided into different spaces, so you have several outdoor sitting areas, and indoors: the computer/ reading room, the large living room, the large conservatory banquet room (45m2) with seating for over 25 (see photos of this nice dining room below, and the upstairs central hallway. Having lots of different sitting rooms is very important when you are sharing a house with 20 people.
The setting: the house is about 1 kilometer outside of Fornells, a sleepy agricultural town with a pharmacy, a tobacconist, two butchers, one of which prepares take delicious take-away dishes like a French traiteur, and a simple but delicious restaurant where I have gone several times now for great 3-course meals and a bottle of wine for 9 Euros! (Charlie adds on October 29, 2003: there is a new terraced restaurant that guests are raving about, and I forgot to mention the Civic Center, which also has good menus for 9 Euros.... but you get the idea. It is a small town with a beautiful old church...) The house is set in a nice green rural area of beautiful old stone houses and right next to a small pitch and putt golf course, so the wide views of distant mountain ranges around the house are unobstructed. The owners of Casanova own one of Spain´s most important tree and plant nurseries, so they have spared no expense in landscaping the beautiful garden with every imaginable sort of flora in different mediums (I´m not an expert but the outer reaches of the garden are rows of tall cypress trees affording privacy, and there are pines and birch, flowerbeds of roses and cyclamens, a decorative pond with lillypads and goldfish, trellises of climbing plants and ivy, bamboo and citrus, etc., as well as a beautifully kept lawn). There a couple large pergolas made of thick tree trunks overgrown with climbing vines offering shade for outdoor meals near the barbecue, and another covered wooden-beamed veranda affixed to the house just outside the living room. This is a house that invites you to spend a lot of time out of doors.
The house: the front doors open onto a central hallway which distributes traffic throughout the house. On the left as you enter is the computer and reading room, with a PC with wi-fi connection, and a couple of lounge chairs under a reading lamp. This room has a curious indoor window overlooking part of the main living room. Across the hall is the entry to the kitchen and dining area, a not-overly large but well-equipped kitchen, with dishwasher, microwave, four-burner stove with oven and extractor, toaster, mixer, etc, as well as a decorative old bread oven looking like something straight out of old Napoli. Around the corner from the kitchen is the new main dining room, set in a nice wooden conservatory measuring over 40m2 and opening directly onto the front lawn, with one of those elegant long-planked tables seating 20 or more guests.
The large 70m2 main living room is four steps down from this main bottom floor level, so I guess this makes the house not so wheelchair friendly, although you could wheel around and through the garden.. At the top of the stairs to the living room is a bathroom, and at the bottom of the stairs the washroom, with washer and dryer, a medium sized frigde to supplement the one in the kitchen, some storage shelves for your shopping and a bunch of fans for if the weather gets warm. There is also a large old-fashioned sink for hand washing.
The large (70m2) living room, as you can see in the photos, is really quite pleasant, and has plenty of natural light from the two windows and 3 double French doors allowing direct access to the outdoor floor-tiled and high wooden-beamed veranda, looking out over the garden, BBQ, and pool area.
The living room has several sitting areas, two sets of sofa and two lazy chairs, a card table, CD /radio /cassette player, satellite TV, a large fireplace, potted plants, and a mish-mash of decorative items.
The bedroom / bathroom distribution, ground floor:
- bedroom 1 is on the ground floor, with double bed (150x190cm) and private bathroom with 160cm-long bathtub. This ground floor bedroom has a sliding glass door exiting onto the back garden and there are no steps and the doors are wide enough for wheelchair user. This room and bathroom is behind a little hallway with a door, so that cuts down on noise from entryway and hallway outside.
The first floor, 7 bedrooms:
- bedrooms 2, 3 and 4 have one double bed (150x190cm) and bathroom with shower stall
- bedroom 5 has 2 single beds (90x190cm) and a bathroom with shower
- bedroom 6 has one double bed (150x190cm) and a bathroom with bathtub
These 5 bedrooms are distributed around a wide and handsome central living room. Off to one corner there is a hallway leading to a back overlooking the pool with two large bedrooms:
- bedroom 7 has a double bed (150x190cm) and bathroom with bathtub
- bedroom 8 has a double bed (150x190cm) and bathroom with bathtub
Top floor 2 bedroom suite, with:
- bedroom 9 has an L-shaped sofa bed, (150x190cm) which opens like a book
- bedroom 10 is a very handsome large room with king sized bed (190x200cm)
- there two rooms share a bathroom with a bathtub
The top floor 75m2 suite is quite attractive, with old fashioned tile floor under the sloped rooftop wooden ceiling beams. This is the room I decided to use during my stay. In fact I just came upstairs to write about this suite more accurately. There are 8 windows up here, each affording lovely views in all directions.
From the sofa in the suite´s anteroom I am now - as I write this - looking out of the largest window, 1.5 x 1.5 meters, which looks out over some of the owners tree nursery, then the manicured lawns of the pitch and putt golf course, and beyond that, the gorgeous Fornells church, and beyond that, the glorious snow-peaked low-Pyrenees, which must be about 40 km away. On a clearer day, I suppose you can see layer upon layer of mountain ranges fading off into the distance. It is all very lovely!
But wait a second. No house is perfect. So what is wrong with this one? You have to knit pick a bit, but I guess a small portion of the furnishing and decoration is bit, well, for lack of a better word, kitsch... see the photo of the mirror and commode with wooden clogs below. And even in the rooms where all the furnishings are nicely restored antiques, not all the pieces necessarily match. I think I mentioned earlier the term a mish-mash or hodgepodge of furnishings. But this is really knit-picking. This is not something that would bother most people. In fact, most people would find the decoration fun, and more importantly - it works! The decor is functional and the level of comfort is high. Oh, and I forgot to mention, like in all the houses I offer, there are good quality mosquito nets and wooden shutters in all the windows
What else? The house is set in about 80 meters from a secondary back road into Fornells from the C-65 to the coast. I would guess this road averages about 20 or 30 cars per day. Some people, I guess, would like to be further away from any road - or not. There is a lot to be said for not having to do any off-road driving! I´m struggling here to find something to complain about, and I haven´t mentioned a lot of good things yet, such as the fact nearby, Fornells de la Selva, under 1 km away, offers a good selection of shops, restaurants, and even a good caterer that sells prepared meals. Best of all, there is a commuter train station here on the line with frequent trains to Barcelona, Girona, Figueres, and the coast resorts of the northern and southern Costa Brava beaches. Within the house itself it is also worth pointing out that all windows are thick double-glazed, and with a indoor wooden shutter that completely blocks out light and noise for a good night's sleep. There are also a nice collection of indoor potted plants, aspidistras, fichus, and Adams Ribs mostly, which is quite unusual in rental properties, no doubt adding to the homey feel of the place.
So all in all, top ratings for this one. Oh, and one last thing: the photos of the house and gardens don´t do justice to the place! I have hundreds of photos of this place, many sent in to me from past guests. If you are not convinced with the photos here presented, let me know and I´ll email you more! As many as you like! ... and I also have Google Earth photos showing the excellent location of this house in relation to Fornells village and the train station and main roads to Barcelona, France, and the coast... not to mention the Pitch & Putt golf next door.
Yes, the owners did a really smart thing in inviting me here. Now, I wonder how they are going to get me to leave!
Since writing the above text back in 2003 I have been back many times with family and friends and in fact the 3 movies and many of the photos were taken by me. I have many more photos but I think the 39 photos included in the Images gallery here are quite representative. The owner's daughter is keeping a nice and friendly horse in the lot behind the house and it is fun to go visit the horse with the kids. This is a house that is accumulating nice memories for me, both professionally and privately, and last year, 2014, we got over 20 weeks of bookings. Not bad!