Exploring Llanes, a Mountain Drive & Hospitality at the Posada de Babel
Lucas is originally from Colombia and moved to Spain many years ago. He used to work as a tour guide in Madrid while Blanca was working as a psychologist. Both of them had had enough of the urban rat race and decided they wanted to move into the country. They chose this location outside Llanes and became hotel entrepreneurs. They have two daughters, Elvira and Blanca, and the family is joined by Luna, the terrier, and Katy, the cat.
Both Lucas and Blanca are art lovers and original artwork is displayed all over the huge library and the reception area. Lucas is also a big fan of modern architecture, and in addition to the main building, which was constructed in 1992 and holds seven guest rooms, there are three other buildings. One of these is “the Cube”, a 7 x 7 metre cube with a modern minimalist design. Lucas also showed me the Garden Suite on the main floor of the family’s house.
The “Horreo”, the converted grain storage building
This contemporary private retreat holds two large beds and a sofa bed and has a direct walkout to the garden. Then there is “the Hórreo”, a typical Asturian grain storage building from the early 1900s that has been renovated into a two-story room with a bathroom on the main floor and a bedroom on the other. Lucas and Blanca obviously love architecture and have spent a lot of time and money on creating a truly unique environment here at the Posada de Babel.
Lucas and his special spot in the forest
Lucas took me on a stroll around his 3.5 acre property. He says he never gets lonely out here in the country and feels completely at peace here. In the forested area of his property he has even built an elevated wooden deck where he sometimes comes to lie down and look up at the treetops or to gaze at the stars at night. Both Lucas and Blanca radiate a profound sense of balance and peace and it seems they have found their real calling with the Posada de Babel.
The Garden Suite
But not only the spiritual side is well nourished at this idyllic country retreat; the Posada de Babel also has a fine dining restaurant that caters to the more earthly needs of the hotel guests. Lucas added that when they opened their hotel, the restaurant was open to the public. But it became so popular and resulted in such a huge workload that Lucas and Blanca decided to close down access to the public and turned the restaurant into a private facility for hotel guests only.
The restaurant at La Posada de Babel
After working 20 hour days at the beginning of their career as hotel owners, they fine-tuned things over a number of years and finally found the right mix which allows for a great personalized guest experience and a good quality of life for the owners as well. Lucas added that he absolutely loves making a personal connection with the guests, which had already become evident in our conversations as we walked around the property.
My room at La Posada de Babel
After this enjoyable initial introduction I retreated upstairs to my room and enjoyed a much-needed rest for a couple of hours until I came downstairs to experience the hotel’s restaurant first-hand. As an appetizer I enjoyed delicate tempura vegetables with sesame sauce, and then Lucas had a surprise for me. He called me into the kitchen to explain the making of my dinner tonight.
My appetizer: tempura vegetables
Armed with my camera, I was ready to document the entire process with photos and video clips. Reyes, the chef, has been working at the Posada de Babel for 13 years now and has become a real member of the family. She started cooking while Lucas was explaining what was happening. My dinner was going to be locally caught “merluza” (hake) and Lucas explained that this fish had been caught by an angler on a hook, not by a large trawler in the ocean.
Reyes, the gifted chef at La Posada de Babel
Reyes started by quickly pan-searing the fish on both sides, and then Lucas shared the secret with me: the key to making a perfect fish filet is to wrap the pan in aluminum foil and take the whole pan and put it in the oven to cook the fish through. This is the perfect way to prevent the fish from drying out. Reyes had already prepared a tasty salsa with tomatoes, garlic, onion and virgin olive oil that would serve as the bed for my delicate hake filet. Since I had requested a spicy fish, she added ginger and fried leek on top of the fish and drizzled olive tapenade on the side of my plate. Together with some fresh Asturian bread I had a delicious spicy dinner with real ingredients from the Asturian oceans and the countryside.
My spicy hake is ready…
Well, it had been a very long and exciting day today, and I dropped into my bed absolutely exhausted. But tomorrow, on my last full day in Asturias, I would have another chance to explore the area around Llanes and get to know the coastal regions even better.