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“Understand that this is not a hotel, but....” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Can Serola

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Can Serola
3.0 of 5 Guest house   |   s/n, 17853 Sales De Llierca, Spain   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
London
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Understand that this is not a hotel, but....”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2012

Whatever other reviewers have said about the beauty of the place, the scenery and the house itself is quite right. If anything, those features and the standards of the rooms (based on our experience of the African room) are even more impressive and seductive when you actually see them.

But you have to understand that Can Serola is neither an hotel nor a restaurant: in UK terms it is a superior, if expensive, bed-and-breakfast with the occasional dinner by arrangement. It is primarily Gilbert's home, and we felt that we were paying guests in it who might occasionally be an inconvenience to him. That creates a level of tension around the edges that you should not expect to find here or, of course, in any place offering hospitality to holidaymakers (rather than business travellers looking to arrive late, sleep, eat breakfast and leave immediately afterwards).

So what does this mean, if you looking to relax as a holidaymaker? Can Serola is a relatvely short, but at night difficult, drive to the nearest town offering good food and bars. If you have spent the day sightseeing and can't face more driving, or as a driver want to have a single drink, you have only the Can Serola option. What does that mean? Gilbert explains on arrival that dinner is offered some nights by arrangement with him or his staff. If you think you might want to eat dinner, you therefore have to find him (not hard at breakfast) to make a firm arrangement to eat later, assuming he is cooking. So you can't be spontaneous. There is a rather full set dinner, though we understand that there may be some flexibility for dietary needs. We were not made aware of any lighter option, other than to order one of Gilbert's bottles of wine with nuts. The quality of the dinners we had was average to good, but not in any way noteworthy - if anything they tended to be bland. The range and quality of wines on offer - we think no more than four in all - was very disappointing given that there are so many wonderful local wines. The mark up on the substandard local wines was very high. Still, if the wines had been good or representative of local Emporda quality, we wouldn't have minded so much. The quality of the self service breakfasts was quite good and they were plentiful, though again it was disappointing that the best of local cheeses or meats were not represented. The rest of the time, if you want to have a drink, you need to find Gilbert. He works hard around his home and estate, so he was not always discoverable and nor was his single assistant, a charming French student.

If for any reason you don't have dinner (e.g because you hadn't arranged it before you set out in the morning, or you wanted only a bottle of wine and some good local bread and cheese), and you wish to stay around the beautiful property or even in your beautiful room, you are well and truly stuck. On one occasion, having bought our own wine locally, we asked for a corkscrew and two glasses. Gilbert supplied those. He made it clear to us that, as he offers his own wine, he was unhappy about doing so. Though he did so, it certainly inhibited our asking him again. If Gilbert was willing to offer his guests more choice in his menus or more accommodating food and beveridge options, we could understand his unwillingness to let guests bring their own food and drink.

Altogether, there certainly was a level of tension and rigidity noted by other guests at the same time as our visit. Was this behaviour uncharacteristic of Gilbert? It seems so given the high praise of other reviewers. Shall we return? To the region, certainly, to Can Serola, no. We need to relax. For us, the experience was not relaxing. For others, if you understand and are willing to accept the limitations of what is on offer, you could still have a lovely couple of days here.

Why three stars overall? Because of the quality of the accommodation and the beauty of the place.

Room Tip: Select one of the top rooms with a view. Stunning
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CanSerola, Manager at Can Serola, responded to this review, September 20, 2012
Thank you for your review and to confirm the beauty of the place and the quality of the accomodation.
We are really sorry that your experience was not so relaxing in Can Serola.
Indeed we find that all the negative opinions are customers who have stayed in the same week, maybe that the customers did not appreciate the behavior of Gilbert, but why?, Maybe to avoid guest's behaviors not very respectable for the hotel.
Can Serola offers to his customers the ability to take a simple lunch (a menu is available with drinks and snacks, salads ... and the dinner on request, sometimes on request guests can have a snack for dinner.
Can Serola is a small hotel which is managed at a familiar scale, we understand that some customers do not appreciate this type of hotel .
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66 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2012

We stayed in Can Serola after reading the terrific views on trip advisor. Like many I found the rooms, facilities and location very beautiful and the attention to detail on every aspect of cleanliness outstanding. However, my own personal experience is not one of a relaxing stay, but rather a very uncomfortable and stressful week. It would seem that the owner, Gilbert, is more interested in the look of his ‘home’ rather than the comfort and overall experience of the guests. We, and several other guests, were reprimanded during our stay for not conforming to the various unspoken rules of the hotel. These include not eating your own food or drink on site (even on the private patios); not leaving anything on the furniture in rooms or public spaces that might possibly damage or interfere with the design; and being on time for any meals ordered (I was 2 minutes late). There was an overall feeling of being monitored. It seems strange to me that a place designed to create a tranquil environment should facilitate such unnecessary tension and unease. Given that you have to order meals in advance and seek out Gilbert if you want drinks, (with no restaurants nearby) it seems very unrealistic to demand that guests do not consume their own food and drink on site. On leaving, we booked into a nearby and more ‘rustic’ hotel and whilst it did not have the luxury of Can Serola, it certainly felt more relaxed and welcoming. Overall I would give 5 stars for the accommodation but only 2 for the service, given the attitude, general uptightness and lack of flexibility of the owner. Finally I will add that the food is mediocre at best at 45 euros per person and charging 19 euros for a bottle of wine that is 5 euros at the local supermarket is excessive.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CanSerola, Gérant at Can Serola, responded to this review, September 9, 2012
Thank you for your review,

We are really sorry that you felt very uncomfortable and stressful.
We are really surprised about your review, you were so comfortable and so relaxing as you told us every morning at breakfast.
We did not reprimand, we have just said courteously to not put wet clothes to dry on the furniture in the room over the carpet sisal, very delicate and staining very easily.
We do not prohibit to other clients to eat in Their Own patio, we think that you got the wrong version, it was on a terrace for common use, but they could do it discreetly in their patio respecting other customers .

Can Serola is a small hotel and familiarly managed, so we should anticipate for the lunch and dinner to give satisfaction to our customers.


Thank you to found Can Serola beautifull and to have a good sleepy quality.
We apologize and we are sorry for this misunderstanding.
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London
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2012

We stayed for 4 nights on account of the positive reviews on TA however unfortunately our stay didn't meet expectations.

In terms of the positives, we agree with previous reviewers that the property is indeed stylish and it's certainly in a beautiful location. There are however, a number of detracting factors which would prevent us from returning. Essentially, our biggest issue was that we were made to feel like we were staying in the owner's private residence in contrast to a relaxing boutique hotel experience which we were expecting.

Dinner is only available on certain nights at the owner's discretion and consists of a EUR 45 set menu, excluding wine. The food itself was ok, a little pretentious whilst nothing special (e.g peeled cucumber "tagliatelli" served in a cocktail glass). There were 2 bottles of uninspiring house red to choose from at significant mark ups. Apparently there is a simpler tapas style menu available on the same nights as the set menu but this was never made clear to us. If not able or wishing to dine on site, you are somewhat isolated - a 20 min drive on a combination of mountain roads and motorway to the village of Besalu.

On one occasion the owner actually remonstrated with us for eating bread and cheese on the terrace outside our suite. We didn't want the set menu again and just wanted to relax in our own space. When we pointed out that we'd actually asked one of the staff for some plates who had provided them willingly, he became increasingly agitated and accused us of "camping" in his property and not knowing how to behave in a hotel. Given the dining limitations and remote location, we felt this policy to be somewhat churlish, albeit we can respect different opinions. However the manner in which we were spoken to was unacceptably rude, unprofessional and wholly inappropriate.

Our room was the Indian suite. Whilst attractively decorated it lacked air con or a fan which made it unbearably hot at times. Unfortunately the woodland location equals a lot of inset life and when we opened the windows at night, we were badly bitten by mosquitos. We didn't sleep well throughout our 4 night stay.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CanSerola, Manager at Can Serola, responded to this review, August 31, 2012
Sorry for your Frustrating experience.
You had booked the Indian suite in the Hotel Can Serola.
This suite is spacious and has a large private patio.
The night ( second night about 9PM) when you had your "PICNIC" on a comun terasse with out any permit, you just ask to Fanny two plates to use, in your room,not as you did with plastic bagsof supermarket with a"bread baguette,cheese,ham......" on the table like in your house,you forgot that you were in a hotel.
We cannot permit this kind of behaviour ,what the others guests would think,
that they are in a" camping",we are offering food and beverages not ONLY A BED,and you knew it,you had dinner the second night of your stay and you would have dinner the third night and you change your mind and you knew also that we offer snacks.
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barcelona
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2012

I enjoyed Can Serola so much because it's a trip around many countries every day thanks to its decoration!
The property is beautiful and full of surprises like birdcages, horses, arabian sofas and little doorways...
I loved that there was no tv in the room, and I'd love to redo the savoury diner on the terrace!
But now I'm back home, and I can dream of the next moment out of time to return to the beautiful Emporda region and Can Serola

Room Tip: pick the atmosphere you like: the pictures on the site show the reality!
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2012

A worthwhile decision to spend the first night of a 4 day journey from Menorca to Cambridge, in Spain, instead of the usual 'burn' home. Quiet,scenic location. The sort of design features normally reserved for magazines. Excellent food and an attentive and gracious host in Gilbert. About as far removed from 'formula' hotel as you can get, so you have to put a bit of effort into finding your way round the house and gardens, but well worth it. We were travelling with two small dogs, so were put in the ground floor 'Mexican room'.Charming, with it's own large terrace leading to the garden and then down to the larger than average pool. We travel a lot and places like this are rare and hard to find when doing a web search. We left after a great breakfast feeling pretty chilled. We were lucky with our choice and will definitely stay there again.

Room Tip: I rang the hotel direct to discuss arrangements for the dogs etc and it couldn't have been easie...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barcelona, Spain
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2012

This is the second time we have stayed here so the beautiful surroundings and service were no surprise to us and we would come back again and again. Gilbert is a perfect host, very accomodating to your individual needs, very throughtful and their place is incredible - in every last detail. It is a place to come to feel special and relaxed and breathe in the clean catalan air.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2012

This is probably one of the very best places we have ever stayed in. From the moment Gilbert greeted us at the door the peaceful, magical feeling of complete serenity remained until we left. An evening meal is cooked if you request it, and apart from a short trip to the nearby village, where there were lots of restaurants we could have eaten at, we did not move from Can Serola. The breakfast table was beautifully set out with all sorts of goodies, with Gilbert, or his lovely student helper there to make fresh coffee at whatever strength you wished. Difficult choice - where to sit and have it - on the terrace below, or the terrace above - both with wonderful views.
Each of the 8 suites are designed with a totally different feel to each, but having spent hours trying to choose which one in the first place (with Gilbert's help on the phone) we loved Zen, with spectacular views and a balcony with two chairs (which we requested).
We spent hours reading by the swimming pool in comfortable layouts, then luxuriated in our suite until it was time for Gilbert to present us with his choice of the most delicious food. This is discussed earlier in the day so suit whoever happens to want to eat that night.
The first morning (of three) we had an hour's walk from the grounds which was lovely.
Gilbert could not have been more helpful and charming in any way and before we left we booked for next year! Surely the best way to say we absolutely loved it.

Room Tip: They are all brilliant!
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Can Serola

Address: s/n, 17853 Sales De Llierca, Spain
Location: Spain > Catalonia > Province of Girona > Sales De Llierca
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Sales De Llierca
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Can Serola 3*
Number of rooms: 8
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