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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Sip Cava in Catalonia

Explore Spain’s stunning wine country, where a new wave of small-scale producers is elevating cava’s standing above its humble reputation.


1. Where to Stay

Ca la Laia offers rustic living in a farmhouse built in 1879.  

Bring back a couple of bottles from your vineyard crawls and throw a DIY wine tasting in the dining room of Ca la Laia (from $80/room, or $990/week for the house), a farmhouse built in 1879 in the small, stone village of Torrelles de Foix. Expect the hallmarks of country living: beamed ceilings, floral bedspreads, a wine barrel as a table, and a wood-burning fireplace.

Survey the medieval center of Vilafranca del Penedès from your tiny but beautifully restored wrought-iron balcony at the boutique hotel Casa Torner I Güell (from $175), housed in a graceful building constructed in 1884. The stylish interior features artful nods to the wine region, with glass walls made from recycled bottles of cava and original stone foundations glowing under recessed lights.

Sleep like a monk at the honey-hued Hospedería del Monasterio de Poblet (977-870-089; from $120), which opened in summer 2010 on the grounds of the eleventh-century Poblet monastery in the neighboring region of Tarragona, a 45-minute drive west of Penedès. Though it was designed by the renowned Spanish architect Mariano Bayón as a blend of modern and ancient, the emphasis is on simple living here, with no TVs in the basic rooms, and nightly Gregorian chanting in the chapel.

Published on Dec 8, 2011 as a web exclusive.

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