Towards the end of the 19th century, the town’s thermal and sea baths started gaining popularity. These customers of the baths spent long periods in Caldes because the cures took a long time. From this period we know of four inns – all of which were located in the lower part of the town – and a hotel, hosting customers of the baths. They were the “Borrás”, “Vidal”, “Mateu” and “La Providència” inns, all of them equipped with all creature comforts and considered to be luxury establishments.
On no. 38 Camí Ral was “Fonda Vidal”, the first inn in Caldes. It was very busy with the first holidaymakers, and popular for its summer garden chats in which important figures of the time were involved.
One of them was Apel·les Mestres, who is known for his activities as a writer and musician and, above all, for his drawings. Between 1885 and 1887 he spent long periods in Caldes, usually staying at “Fonda Borrás”. Mestres loved Caldes, especially its seafarers, and this is reflected in his work, including both his drawings and his plays.
Numerous sketches show places, landscapes, and individuals from Caldes, just like his “marine” works (single-act plays) also have their origin in our town.
Around 1880, Bartolomé Rossell founded “Fonda Providència” (now “Restaurant Suñé”) which, according to an advertisement from the time, had “views of the beach and railway station gardens next to the new chapel opposite the large spa”.
“Hotel Estrach” dates back to the end of the 19th century, and was built according to a design by Juli Maria Fossas, although it was originally called “Hotel Hispano-Alemán”. Of the illustrious figures that have stayed at this hotel, we must mention the President of the Generalitat de Catalunya Francesc Macià, who in 1933 visited the town of Caldes invited by the Mayor in connection with a dispute about what the town’s official name should be.