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 a three-minute walk to a great Catalan restaurant, five miles from beautiful Céret, close to the wine trails, and Spain is just over the border.