Restaurant Hotel Duran, a restaurant with a long history
Learn about the history of the Hotel Duran Restaurant
It was 1910 when the married couple Joan Duran and Teresa Camps decided to rent what was known until then as Fonda Ca la Teta, a restaurant in the centre of Figueres. The couple maintained the spirit of the business, which was renamed ‘Casa de Menjars J. Duran’, and formed their family around it. Their two children, Lluís and Joan, placed the establishment within the gastronomic and tourist panorama of the city. Nowadays, the business is maintained by the marriage of Lluís and Joaquima’s sons, Ramon and Lluïsa, having overcome difficult times such as the civil war and the post-war period. All this has been possible thanks to the passion for the hotel business of the Duran family, who still run the business today.
Lluís Duran Camps’ grandparents founded Ca la Teta around 1855.
The newspaper library of the Figueres newspaper “El Empordanés” speaks of the existence of the Fonda and the Celler de Ca la Teta, an elongated room with a well in the middle.
In this advertisement from 1864, we see that the inn hosted guests and offered the most varied services.
The marriage of Joan Duran Burgas and Teresa Camps Lapedra formalises the rental of the establishment.
The couple maintain the spirit of the business, which is now called Casa de Menjars J. Duran, and raise their family around it. Their children are Lluís (born 1910) and Joan Duran Camps (1914).
Lluís Duran Camps takes over the Fonda Ca la Teta.
The Civil War breaks out and Lluís Duran Camps leaves for France. However, the Fonda never closed: with his father dead (Joan Duran Burgas), the widow Teresa and his wife, Antònia Simón, continued to run the Fonda and offered the usual services.
When the Civil War ended, Lluís Duran Camps returned to the family business. The inn resisted thanks to the women of the house and, from 1939 onwards, the establishment Casa de Menjars J. Duran became the Hotel Duran. The Second World War begins.
Lluís Duran Simon is born (1933), son of Lluís Duran Camps and grandson of Joan Duran Burgas.
In the midst of the Second World War, Ca la Teta receives a surprising call from the Military Government of Girona announcing that, on the same evening, a group of thirty German officers stationed in the Pertús would come to dinner. This fact is referenced in the book “Quan els nazis quen a Figueres” by the author Jordi Vila (2009).
With the new regime, the country was isolated from the rest of Europe due to the closure of the border between 1946 and 1948. Nonetheless, the proximity of Figueres to the border and the prestige of Ca la Teta, made it a very popular place and the restaurant gained some notoriety in the gastronomic circles of the time.
The establishment’s Signature Book or Golden Book is inaugurated, with a dedication and a drawing by Salvador Dalí.
The development of this new stage is linked to the Fires de la Santa Creu in Figueres in 1950, with a football match between FC Barcelona and Figueres, and the close relationship of friendship and complicity between Salvador Dalí and Lluís Duran.
Performers, cyclists, racing drivers from the Montjuïc circuit in Barcelona, variety theatre or fairground artists, the singer Charles Trenet, stopped at the Hotel Duran as well as renowned figures such as Josep Pla, the actor James Mason, the singer-songwriter Georges Brassens, the sculptor of the Cesar Film Awards Georges Cravenne, the writer Camilo José Cela, the jazz musician and composer Sydney Bechet, the sculptor and collector Frederic Marés…
Lluís Duran Camps introduces elements of French influence in the kitchen, which he complements with the introduction of the first flambéing done in the dining room, in front of the same diner.
Between 1957 and 1958, the main road stops passing through the city centre and the traffic is diverted to the current Salvador Dalí Avenue.
Lluís and Joan Duran Camps join the International Order of the Anysetiers. Lluís Duran was elevated to the category of Maître de Bouche within the Chapter of the Commanderie de l’Empordà.
Lluís Duran Camps buys a property in which there is a small gas station located at the southern entrance of Figueres and builds a modern hotel with more than 30 rooms, all with a bathroom. The hotel includes a restaurant, a garage and a car park. The hotel will be called Hotel Rallye, recalling his eldest son’s fondness for rally racing.
He rents the bar Novedades de la Rambla and, later on, the Tupinamba, located next to each other. He transforms the space into a modern cafeteria with a covered terrace and a dance hall, which he calls Astòria.
The same year, he rents the Hotel París in the Rambla de Figueres (formerly the Gran Hotel París and current Toy Museum of Catalonia). Later on, on the ground floor, he creates the Cafeteria New París.
The two sons, Lluís and Joan, are beginning to place the establishment within the country’s gastronomic panorama. Having returned from the prestigious hotel management school in Lausanne, Switzerland, and with different internships in hotels of that country, Lluís Duran i Simon introduces a more modern and refreshing vision of both gastronomy and hotel management. At the same time, the influence of the establishment as a school of chefs and restaurateurs begins, not only of the Hotel Duran but also of the different Duran establishments of the time.
Lluís Duran i Simón marries Joaquima Juanola, who also became one of the pillars of the family business until, over the years, transferring it to the couple’s two children: Ramon and Lluïsa Duran.
The old spa Els Banys de la Mercè on the N-II road, near Capmany, is rented and transformed into a hotel with 50 rooms with bathrooms, a restaurant, a chapel and a banquet room: the Hotel Mercè Park.
Teresa Camps receives the Medal of Merit in Work.
The Hotel Comerç is acquired, located next to the inn to unify it with the Hotel Duran. The final outcome is a hotel with 60 rooms with full bathrooms and a modern restaurant with more capacity. In this way, Can Duran came to be known as one of the most renowned hotels in the region, preserving the cellar of the old inn of Ca La Teta.
Lluís Duran Camps buys the President Hotel. A new, modern and well-equipped building, inaugurated as a hotel in 1963 by the construction industrialist, recently arrived from Mexico, Antoni Costa Vilanova.
Delhi-Dali dinner organised by the Air-India airline, offered by Salvador Dalí at the Hotel Duran, and which was preceded by an unexpected gift: an elephant from India, to thank him for his collaboration in an advertising campaign.
Lluís Duran Camps is designated Honorary Member of the Societat Coral Erato.
Opening period, when the Costa Brava was the favoured destination of elite artists and many foreigners, and when the design of the time was also reflected in the design of the menus, such as the
Salvador Dalí draws and donates “Don Quixote of the Goose with Pears” in reference to the dish created by the restaurant and which can be seen in the establishment’s bar.
Trends and design are definitely incorporated in the dishes, the drinks, the customs and the celebrations. During this period, the current cover of the Restaurant’s menu is designed, inspired by the classic Catalan “auques”, linked to traditional Empordà dishes and actions such as “a collir bolets” or “calen nanses”.
Dinner to commemorate the beginning of the reconstruction of the Figueres Theatre which became the current Dalí Museum.
The Hotel Rallye in Figueres, La Tramuntana in Plaça Sant Jaume in Barcelona and the Restaurant Finisterre, also in Barcelona, have a great influence amongst cooks and maîtres of the period as many came to train.
Lluís Duran Camps receives the Gold Medal of Merit in the Hospitality Industry and, together with his wife Antonia Simón Marti, the Silver Medal of Merit in Work.
Lunch for the inauguration of the Dalí Museum served by the Hotel Duran in the Plaça de l’Ajuntament in Figueres.
As a result of the massive traffic of cars and trucks along the N-II, the government of the time decided to build the motorway from Barcelona to La Jonquera. In July of this year, the A7 motorway (now the AP7) reached Figueres, and the only exit 4 Figueres, now Figueres-Sur, was opened.
From Barcelona, the motorway concessionaire asked Lluís Duran Camps to take over the service area at Bàscara and, later on, the current Porta Catalana at La Jonquera (1981).
Lluís Duran Camps receives the Award for the Best Social Work of the Grupo Hotelero.
Lluís Duran Camps receives the Gold Cup of International Gastronomy in Rome.
Lluís Duran Camps receives, together with his wife Antonia Simón Marti, the Silver Medal of Merit in Work.
Lluís Duran Camps was elevated to the category of Maître de Bouche within the Chapter of the Commanderie de l’Empordà of the International Order of the Anysetiers.
Lluís Duran Camps receives the Bronze Medal for Tourism from the Generalitat de Catalunya.
Lluís and Joan Duran die suddenly with just a few months apart. Joan on May 24 and Lluís on September 29 at the age of 71, when he was the manager of companies that employed 270 people.
The memory of the Duran Camps brothers, now deceased, receives the direct tribute of all the regions of Girona with the election of both brothers as Girona’s personalities of the year.
Lluís Duran i Simón assumes the generational shift of the management of the Hotel Duran, which he shared with his wife Joaquima Joanola for more than fifteen years.
Ian Gibson frequents the Hotel Duran and a friendship is established, following the last interview that Salvador Dalí grants him, shortly before his death.
Lluís and Joaquima’s children, after their respective studies and internships in the hotel and tourism industry, joined the family business. In 1990, their son Ramon (Escola Universitària d’Hostaleria i Turisme Sant Pol de Mar) and, in 1996, their daughter Lluïsa Duran Juanola (Escola de Restauració i Hostalatge de Barcelona). They introduce innovative ideas that, little by little, start to be implemented in the form of computerised hotel management systems, new communication technologies and the updating of the dishes on the menu in accordance with contemporary gastronomic criteria.
Lluïsa Duran starts working as a trainee in the kitchen team of the Restaurant Ambassador of the Hotel Crillon in Paris for one year.
The Restaurant of the Hotel Duran presents the first dishes of special cuisine for celiacs on both the daily menu and the à la carte menu, a fact that continues to this day.
The establishment takes part in the “Art and Gastronomy” campaign on the occasion of the events celebrating the Centenary of Salvador Dalí’s Death organised by Cuina de l’Empordanet. The Hotel Duran restaurant team travels to the Dalí Museum in Saint Petersburg, Florida, to prepare the commemorative dinner in this destination.
The most important remodelling in the history of the hotel begins. Under the supervision of the family, a comprehensive reform of all the hotel floors is initiated, including the general facilities and all the elements of the rooms.
The work is completed after one year, but at no time does the establishment close its doors. With this reform, the Hotel Duran is now considered one of the most modern in Figueres.
Participation in the gastronomic tribute of the “Centenary of the Costa Brava” organised by the Girona Costa Brava Tourism Board.
To the present day, it has been part of the restaurants included in the gastronomic event “Tastets Surrealistes” of Figueres, where an original and particular menu of dishes with a Dalinian-inspired visual is presented, only for thirty days during summer.
Lluís Duran i Simon was also a unique promoter of various cultural actions related to the world of art and literature. “Les nits de Lola Pàton” by Monica Soler Ranzani is presented at the Hotel Duran: a fictional story set in a real place, the famous brothel of Figueres, the Torre Basca.
Found in a bookstore in Perpinyà, Lluís Duran i Simon promotes the Spanish and Catalan edition of “Les Fogueres del Pertús” after recognising the surroundings of the period in Figueres, and presents the publication at the Hotel Duran. Written in 1939 by Àlvar d’Orriols, poet and playwright, it is an autobiographical work that narrates the long journey into exile that the author suffered, from Barcelona to France via Figueres.
As a member of the Venerable Confraria de la Bóta de Sant Ferriol, he actively collaborates in the editions of Tasts de Vins, held with the support of the Narcís Fages de Romà Chair of Viticulture and Oenology at the Rovira i Virgili University.
On the 8th of November, Lluís Duran i Simon dies, the third generation of a family devoted to the world of gastronomy and hospitality. The funeral brought together the world of the hotel industry and business as well as the political and cultural world.
On the 27th of April, the
10 consecutive years of the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame Double Certificate of Excellence. Ten uninterrupted years obtaining positive opinions in a continuous, regular and systematic way in the Restaurant and in the Hotel Duran.
The establishment is recognised by the Marca Cuina Catalana of the Fundació Institut Català de la Cuina i de la Cultura Gastronòmica at the 3rd Catalan Cuisine Congress.