El Portal

Vivès, Pyrénées-Orientales
Self-catering


Catalan-coloured designer apartments around a courtyard, each with its outdoor space - 2 are great for couples. Hit the vineyard trails!

Place

3 places

Sleeps

Sleeping from 2 – 5

The
Experience

On the edge of charming little Vivès a cluster of well-renovated stone buildings is set round a central courtyard; three apartments open onto this warm space, each with its own entrance and outdoor spot; Mark and Fred, your discreet, friendly hosts, have their own house tucked to one side. Each apartment in this exemplary conversion is named after a musician, each has connections to Catalonia: this is the leitmotif of El Portal. Inside, white walls are the perfect background for bright Catalan-coloured cushions, sofas and throws; bathrooms and kitchens sparkle, beds are deeply comfortable, new wooden furniture mingles with brocante finds, many with a story to tell. Each apartment feels like home. Albéniz has its own integrated barbecue, Granados has a super terrace under a pergola with star jasmine and kiwi plants, vibrant Casals is a brilliantly designed studio. Music, high speed WiFi, satellite channels – you have the lot. But best of all is the position: it’s five miles from beautiful Céret, close to the wine trails, and Spain is just over the border.

Essentials

  • Hot tub
  • WiFi
  • Swimming pool
  • Mobile reception
  • Oven
  • Breakfast included
  • Open fire / woodburner
  • Hob
  • Parking on premises
  • Barbecue
  • Free parking nearby
  • Meals available
  • Paid parking nearby
  • Breakfast available
  • Accessible by public transport
  • Central heating
  • Wheelchair access
  • Limited mobility
  • Air conditioning
  • Washing machine
  • Garden
  • Television
  • Tennis court
  • Credit cards
  • Pets welcome

Family friendly

  • Baby monitor
  • Children welcome
  • Books and toys
  • Babies welcome
  • Stair gates
  • High chair

Nearby

  • Pub/bar within 3 miles
  • Restaurant within 3 miles
  • Shop within 3 miles

Activities

  • Bikes available
  • Food courses
  • Kayaking
  • Other courses
  • Sailing
  • Surfing
  • Wild swimming

Information
& pricing

Booking information

Check in
From 4pm
Check out
11am
Booking restrictions
Minimum stay: 3 nights. Albéniz and Casals can be combined to sleep 7; €870-€1345.
Closed
Rarely.
No smoking
Smoking not permitted anywhere in the property.
Owner has pets
Animals living on the property.

Pricing

Nightly price
from €70
Weekly price
from €345
Damage deposit
€250-€350
1 Apartment for 2
From €701 bed1 bedroom
1 Apartment for 5
From €1384 beds3 bedrooms
1 Apartment for 2
From €811 bed1 bedroom

Reviews

Had a great stay at El Portal. Located in the pre-Pyrenees in the small village Vivés, it was the perfect getaway from the busy life in the city. I fell in love with the place itself, with a very calm and graceful kind of energy. Especially loved the small details in the architecture, like the sculptures and faces made of stone. The room was clean, beautiful, and fully equipped with anything I could have asked for. Frederic and Mark were super kind and very caring, it's easy to see how much love they have put into this place. Stayed for five days - would stay again.

Erik, The hague

We had a lovely week in Albeniz, the largest of the apartments at El Portal, which suited our family of five well. Fred and Mark were kind and attentive hosts with good advice about the local area; they have clearly worked hard to create a lovely ambience within their apartments, with lots of good decorative touches to the place. We enjoyed discovering this region of France and its distinctive Catalan culture: Vivès is excellently situated to head up into the Pyrenees, down to the Mediterranean coast or across the boarder into Spain. With so much to discover, we are bound to return.

Peter, Edinburgh

We were a group of 8 adults and we stayed at El Portal for 3 nights. Everything was great ! We loved it ! The atmosphere, the quietness of the village, the beauty of the area, the beauty of the house, the decoration of each apartment is so beautiful ! The owners were very nice and gave us plenty of advises. El Portal is very well situated, we visited the small historical villages in the area, we went to Spain, we discovered and tasted great wines. I am really looking forward to staying at El Portal again, it was a great experience !

Véronique, Belgium

We had a great stay in Casals at El Portal, warmly hosted by Fred and Mark. The apartment is beautifully put together and is thoughtfully equipped. The 3 holiday apartments are cleverly arranged to feel separate. The location is fantastic - a short drive to the sea and a slightly longer drive over to the mountains, and Spain. Guest bikes are available. There is so much to do - swims, hikes, and exploring the links to artists who came to the area, as well as historical forts and monuments. Fred made great suggestions of how to make the best of stay.

Katherine, London

My husband and I stayed in the Granados apartment in July 2016 for a week. We very much appreciated the warm welcome we received from Fred and Mark. We had a very relaxing time staying in Vives and found the apartment well maintained/equipped and comfortable. Fred was particularly helpful with any queries we had about the local area and was attentive (but not intrusive) in checking periodically that everything was going ok. The apartment was a great location from which to explore the local area - we particularly enjoyed visiting the lake nearby as well as trips to Collioure.

Julie, London, uk

A superb experience! Comfortable, civilised and generously furnished. Best of all was the owners' gentle guidance and support making us feel more like friends than guests. Fred went out of his way to look after us, dropping in from time to time to check we were ok and chat about our experiences. The village of Vives is quiet and not far from the most wonderful (and warm!) swimming lake flanked by the hills and mountains of the Pyrenees. Ceret is a good, relaxing, beautiful small town to hang out and eat, with an impressive modern art museum. We would book again tomorrow. Bravo Fred and Mark!

Tony, London

Albeniz is a spacious, well appointed apartment and the perfect retreat for us. We woke to bird song and sun; the rooms were cool. We had access to two terraces, ideal for breakfasts and evening meals or simply for sitting and listening to the quietness . Fred and Mark, so helpful informing us of places to visit, walks to take ... are delightful and unassuming hosts. Within easy distance is The Dali Museum in Figueras, Cadaques, Villefranche to take The Little Yellow Train through the Pyrenees, Castelnou and so much more. We left with many extraordinary memories and hope to return.

Kathryne, Leicester

El Portal was built with love and care, and we could feel it in Fred and Mark's hospitality and in every inch of their beautiful Mas. We stayed in Granados, a spacious two room apartment with a superbly equipped kitchen, including a washing machine and a walk-in shower. Every appliance was not only of the best quality, but color-coded to suit the flat. 4 days were hardly enough to follow all of Fred's travelling advice. El Portal is a - great base to get to know French Catalonia. The restaurant next door is a true find. We'll truly make an effort to return soon for a longer stay.

Yehuda, Jerusalem

Idyllic place to stay for peace and quiet. We stayed in Grandos which was wonderful photographs don’t do this place justice, a real home away from home. One of the prettiest areas of France I have ever been and so much to do especially being a 20 minute drive from Spain

Sally

We stayed in ‘Granados’ in August and it was wonderful. El Portal is sunny but cool inside, private, delightful, eclectic sculptures are dotted about. Granados had everything we needed, with Rose in the fridge on arrival! Fred and Marc are perfect hosts, warm, friendly and helpful. El Portal is at the foot of the Pyrenees, close to the sea and Spain. Vives has a good Catalan restaurant and local provisions are in the village down the winding hill. Coulliere is well worth visiting but get there early. Our highlight was lunch at Chalet De L'Albere, 1,000m high, stunning views, ask Fred to book.

Paddy

Wonderful stay in Casals. First time in this region and we will be returning after this experience. Fred and Mark very welcoming, lots of useful info re restaurants and places to go. Everything we needed, welcome bottle of wine, tea and coffee too. Beautiful location, peaceful.great base for the coast, the mountains and Spain. We hope to be back, reckon would be fab any time of year

Maria

What a great stay! Fred and Marc could not have been more friendly and helpful. Recognising our small grasp of French they recommended and booked restaurants for us and generally made our stay that much better. We stayed in Casals which is ideal for two people with everything you need for a great stay. The local area is also great with lots of great villages and the Spanish border close to hand. All in all a great place to stay and will definitely return a sap.

Colin

I am ashamed that I forgot to put in a write up about El Portal - it is the most marvellous place to stay, we were made most welcome and had a fantastic time in spite of the Tramontaine which blew almost incessantly. Mark and Fred could nor have been more helpful and accommodating. We cannot think of a better place to stay to take advantage of great French and Spanish scenery, wine, food, atmosphere etc. We plan to return in 2017 as we enjoyed it so much (but 2016 is already a bit congested!!)

Christopher, Ticehurst, east sussex

This was our second visit and it did not disappoint - there are just not enough superlatives to describe this wonderful place. Fred and Mark are incredible hosts, nothing is ever too much trouble and all is carried out with a big smile. We would love to return, thank you both!

Kate

We have stayed at El Portal twice and still have not exhausted the possibilities of the area. Whether along the coast, in the mountains or inland, there is so much to see and do. The accommodation is wonderfully clean and quiet, and visitors’ needs have been carefully anticipated (even to down to a shoehorn!) Fred and Mark are welcoming and helpful hosts. We look forward to our third visit.

Stephen

We stayed in Casals, cool (in all senses of the word), comfortable & immaculately clean & set in a beautiful courtyard, perfect for breakfast and evening drinks. El Portal is perfectly located for trips; we visited Prades, in the shadow of Canigou, we crossed the Pyrenees, explored the Cote Vermeille; we spent time in Céret with its modern art gallery, antique shops & plane-lined streets - inspiration to many C20th artists; we lingered in Vivès itself & we lay in bed in the morning listening to the call of the orioles. Our hosts, Mark & Fred were perfect - friendly, discreet and helpful.

Lesley

Had a wonderful, very relaxing week here. Mark and Fred are very kind and approachable and made us feel very welcome, helping us with suggestions for the best places to visit. There's so much to do in the area we felt we barely scratched the surface, and our apartment was so comfy and well stocked it was quite tempting just to sit around there all day! Looking forward very much to coming back soon!

Ben

I couldn't recommend El Portal enough. The village of Vivès is charming, peaceful and excellently situated. Within 1 hour by car, we managed to visit several highly attractive towns, swim in the local lake, go hiking (looking out over France and Spain from a border summit), visit vineyards and sea. There is also a top-notch restaurant in Vivès. The accommodation is clean, very comfortable – even in heat – and the kitchen fully kitted; we were able to cook extensively with ingredients from local markets and shops. Mark and Fred are perfect hosts: helpful, kind and honest. We will return!

Jonathan

We spent 10 days in the larger gite (Albeniz). The accommodation was truly stunning, furnished to a very high standard and tastefully decorated. It was also equipped with everything you could need. Our hosts, Frederic and Mark, were charming and nothing was too much trouble. We had a wonderful meal at the Catalan restaurant on our doorstep . The scenery is breathtaking; there is a beautiful lake nearby where we spent the day swimming/relaxing. Ceret has a vibrant market, an art museum and a range of places to eat; Collioure is well worth a visit and there are some beautiful beaches nearby.

Amy

Spent a wonderfully relaxing week in the Casals apartment and I can't recommend it highly enough. Casals is beautifully decorated in rich Catalan colours, thoughtfully equipped and spotlessly clean throughout. The air conditioning was very welcome during the heat of the day and the patio area perfect for early evening drinks and al fresco breakfasts. El Portal is well situated for lovely walks with breathtaking views and just a short distance from a beautiful lake for safe swimming and sunbathing. I will most certainly be going back – there is so much more to explore.

Penny

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Location

The neighbourhood

Local points of interest from Frédéric Constant

  • With its Musée d'Art Moderne and bustling Saturday market, nearby Céret has a charming atmosphere and a wealth of bars and restaurants. After checking out the modern art you can sit and have a drink where Picasso and Matisse did.
  • See the local vineyards and taste the wines: there are 3 Wine Trails locally. The nearest, The Aspres and Albères Trail can be joined at Le Boulou, just 8km away.
  • The Dali Trail: the outrageous Dali Museum in Figueras just over the border in Spain, the beautiful coastal town of Cadaques and Dali’s seaside house at nearby Port Lligat and Cap de Creus.
  • Collioure: beautiful fortified old town, art galleries and seaside resort with its beach, overlooked by the ancient fortress.
  • The Train Jaune, running from ancient Villefranche de Conflent and wending its way through tunnels and over breath-taking viaducts far up into the mountains: a truly enchanting day up in the Pyrenees.
  • French and Piano coaching are available at El Portal. Fred, a native speaker, is qualified and experienced in French Language tuition, and Mark, 10 years an ABRSM international grades and diplomas examiner, is an experienced piano performer and teacher.