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The Globe and Mail

Five-star luxury in the midst of rural Spain

Massage at Mas de Torrent Spain.

Michele Curel

If you want a taste of rustic Spain but need a ridiculously indulgent hotel to return to, head to Catalonia's Mas de Torrent. A Relais & Châteaux property near Girona - in the heart of what people call Spanish Tuscany - this five-star hotel is at the crossroads of the medieval, mystic and lethargic.

Drive down to dramatic Girona, the cradle of Kabbalalistic thinking before Madonna and Gwyneth took it to a new plane. Closer to home, take one of the hotel's bikes and ride across fields of lavender and sunflower to the medieval town of Pals, only a few kilometres away. The ninth-century town features a Romanesque tower that stands on a rock containing Visigoth tombs. After you polish off a tasty, muy tipico lunch at the Sa Punta, stop for a few canones (tap beer) at the two other medieval towns, San Julia de Boada and San Feliu de Boada, a few kilometres away.

Or just veg at the Mas de Torrent spa. Minimal and modern with a Japanese influence, this 6,000 square feet of serenity is like the United Nations of body work, offering Chinese reflexology, Thai massage, Usui Tibetan Reiki energy flow and Ayurvedic massage. There is also a steam bath, sauna, cold pool and hydrotherapy pool. Four relaxation rooms on the first of three floors feature a chromotherapy unit using light vibration.

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If this all seems too daunting, sneak into the lobby, find the free fresh-squeezed orange juice and head to the outdoor pool surrounded by the soft rustle of cypress trees and a faint lemony waft.

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