S'Agaró

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Sant Pol beach.

s'Agaró (Catalan pronunciation: [səɣəˈɾo]) is an upmarket resort on the Costa Brava between Sant Feliu de Guíxols and Castell-Platja d'Aro in Catalonia.

In the early 1920s Josep Ensesa Gubert, the son of a successful Girona industrialist, persuaded his father to buy the land between the bay at Sant Pol and the long beach at Sa Conca north of Sant Feliu de Guixols. The area didn't even have a name, so the family chose to call it after the Agaro stream that ran through it. Inhabited by squirrels and lizards, supervised by gulls that would inspire the inn's name, the treeless scrub offered little but a gentle climate, splendid isolation and dazzling views. Not to mention the intoxicating scent of pine trees mixed with aniseed plants that grew wild, even to this day. Josep Ensesa was (thankfully) determined that the mystic spirit of the place was not to be sacrificed to the demands of property development as the rest of the Costa Brava succumbed over the next eight decades to the present.

To assure that the development (a community of seaside villas and a small inn) would be in sympathy with the landscape, he turned to an architect, Rafael Masó i Valentí, an outspoken campaigner for traditional Catalan design. Mr. Masó drew on the local architectural vocabulary of porticos, towers, terraces and low roof lines to conjure a colony aimed at those with artistic tastes. Purchasers of land bound themselves to carefully drawn contracts that guaranteed buildings of visual unity. After Masó's death in 1935 Francesc Folguera took over the project, going on to build the church situated on the highest point of the resort.

To date, the promontory contains about 60 exclusive houses with part of the camí de ronda following s'Agaró's coastline in its entirety. The world famous five star Hostal de la Gavina dominates the view from Sant Pol beach and was popular with movie stars such as Charles Chaplin, Orson Welles, Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Bogart and Bacall. Add to that Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Fontaine, Peter Sellers, John Wayne, Dirk Bogarde and Sean Connery - without discounting that s'Agaró wasn't merely Hollywood-by-the-Sea - writers like Jean Cocteau rubbed shoulders with the soprano Teresa Berganza, the tenor José Carreras, Cole Porter and political figures like ex-prime minister Edward Heath of Britain, Raymond Barre of France, Clare Boothe Luce, King Juan Carlos, as well as the finance ministers of the European Community.

Michael Frayn the English comic writer devoted a number of pieces about the developers of S'Agaro and their vision in The Guardian between 1960 and 1962, collected in The Original Michael Frayn.

A huge construction boom took place inland from the original resort which does not form part of the 'gated community'. In 2005 it had a population of 1,237 inhabitants.

Coordinates: 41°47′29″N 3°03′24″E / 41.7915°N 3.05678°E / 41.7915; 3.05678