Travel: Spanish Savvy | Rusticae lodgings

Almost a decade ago, when Carlota Mateos and Isabel Llorens were working at Mateos's family's hotel in rural Spain, they had an idea: a company to help travelers to the Spanish countryside find wonderful lodgings. So the duo founded a club called Rusticae, booking reservations at nine properties. Now Rusticae's portfolio includes over 160 hotels in Spain, Portugal, France and Argentina, all meticulously evaluated based on 270 criteria: "We check the quality of the sheets, if the orange juice is fresh squeezed, if the flowers are fresh, not paper or silk," says Mateos. She and Llorens recently created Rusticae Gourmet, a list of outstanding hotel restaurants that have met the company's exacting standards (011-34-902-10-38-92 or

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