When Jose Cruz came back from his travels around America, he didn’t go back to Bergara (Guipúzcoa) where he had been born but instead he settled in la Pobla de Lillet, a small village in Berguedà, centre of the textile industry in the 19th century in Catalonia.
Not long after, he set up a textile factory with two other business partners. He married Concepcion Pujol y Morató from Manlleu. They had 9 children, one of them being our grandfather. Another of the siblings, Pepitu, died young and left behind a treasure trove of hundreds of slides of great historic value which have now been digitilised and several of his photos can now be seen around the hotel.
One of the business partners married a girl from la Verdruna, a large, historical country house in les Planes d’Hostoles which is how the Garay family got to know this village. A couple of years later, the Garay family bought an elevated plot of land just outside the village and only a couple of minutes from the train station on the small gauge railway line that ran from Olot to Girona.
This is how the history of the Garay family started in les Planes.
Our grandfather married a girl from a comfortably-off family from Vilanova y Geltru. Petronila Torrents y Brunet. One of her brothers, Damià, was a sculptor and poet, another one, Marti was a well-known painter. Works of art by the two brothers can be seen in the hotel.
Can Garay was built between the years 1904 and 1906 in the Art Nouveau style. Inside the house the fusion of architecture, traditional materials and decorative arts which defines Art Nouveau can be clearly seen in the hall and the impressive wooden staircase with its delicate stained glass window and in the lamps and furniture of the period.
In the romantic, centenary gardens there is an elegant Art Nouveau tower decorated with a mosaic of glazed ceramic tiles.
One hundred years later, in 2006, can Garay was restored and converted into a hotel by the 4th generation of the Garay family.