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Prisca Llagostera
The Undaunted Spirit of Andorra

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Words Ken BaronImages Stephanie Füssenich

This bold trailblazer possesses a visionary’s heart, an artist’s temperament, a hotelier’s warmth, and not an ounce of fear.

Ask Prisca Llagostera about her success as a hotelier and she is quick to steer the dialogue away from herself. “A good team is critical when you work in hospitality,” she says. “I couldn’t have created L’Ovella Negra without my team. In fact, I have many teams: my family, my staff, my financer, my friends. There is an emotional side to a team that gives you strength. For example, I remember standing in front of 15 workers, all just looking at me for instruction, and my aunt stepped up with the exact measurements for everything, even how wide the sofa should be. For me, teamwork is the key to life.”

002 L Ovella Negra Prisca Llagostera Mother Gallery
003 L Ovella Negra Art
004 L Ovella Negra Staff

After school, you worked on projects for the World Cup and the Olympics. Did that help you with your own hotel?

Absolutely! I was doing VIP events, so the standards were very high and the hours very long. I was looking at each detail. Everything! That was a huge key to my development.

L’Ovella Negra is known for its weekly summer concerts and as a gathering place for creatives. Was that the plan from the beginning?

Oh no! It’s very much what I wanted, but I never thought it would happen. One Thursday I made plans for some friends to come over to the hotel to make music and just hang out. But word must have gotten out, because a lot of people showed up, many more than we expected. I had to invent tables with carpets on the floor. And I completely forgot about lights because it was a day event that turned into a night event. So I put out candles and it became magic. Then, the next day, I got calls from people looking to book tables for the following Thursday concert. There was no following Thursday concert planned, but I said, “Sure!” and took reservations until we were fully booked. Then I found the entertainment. And it’s become a regular thing. And, yes, now with lights so that you can see what you are eating!”

005 L Ovella Negra Prisca Llagostera Mood Quote

“When I was eight or nine years old, I’d fill my diaries with drawings of hotels.”

Prisca Llagostera

Your family was a big influence on your hospitality style. What do they think of the hotel?

They come often. Maybe too often! So they love it. My family is half-English and half-Andorran, but they’ve definitely adopted the southern culture of always being together. So when they visit, I am happy and at the same time dreading it. They are my biggest critics. But it’s constructive criticism. They feel very much part of the project.

Your mother helped with the design of L’Ovella Negra, right?

We did it together. For eight months she was beside me choosing textures, measuring tables and countertops, going to furniture shops. It was intense. Mother-daughter relationships will always have their occasional dramas!

Is it true that as a little girl you knew you wanted to own a hotel?

Oh yes. When I was eight or nine years old, I’d fill my diaries with drawings of hotels. And I would go for walks on the beach with my mom and describe every room, even how I would convert my school into a giant hotel!

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007 L Ovella Negra Dining Table Interior
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What was your first job in hospitality?

I managed an ice hotel for three years. Basically, it was an igloo with five bedrooms. Every December we would build it and every April it would melt. I really learned how to work under a lot of pressure in very adverse weather conditions.

What’s this about you and candles?

Candles are something everyone relates to me. I carry them everywhere I go. I believe a candle can bring soul to any situation. Even if you are just enjoying a pizza out of a box or barbecuing, a candle always adds warmth and emotion to any moment. It’s alive. I think a candle can even keep you company.

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“I believe a candle can bring soul to any situation. It’s alive. It can even keep you company.”

Prisca Llagostera

Tell me about the first time you saw the building that would become L’Ovella Negra.

It was in the middle of winter. You couldn’t get there by car, so I had to get snowshoes and walk three kilometers. And when I finally arrived, I opened a couple of beers and fell in love with the place. I found it beautiful and exciting. Still, I didn’t think things would go as good they have. In my mind I was just enjoying a beer and thinking small. Then I told my business partner what I wanted to do, and he said, “Are you sure? It’s not very big and it’s set at the end of a snowed-off valley?” And I said, “I come from working in an igloo. This is nothing. I got this!”

010 L Ovella Negra Prisca Llagostera Leather Jacket

“I think I see opportunity and magic where nobody else does.”

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013 L Ovella Negra Surrounding Nature Mountains

You have this 4-bedroom hotel in Andorra and you’ve said that you envision a 5-bedroom hotel in South Africa. So could you create a 40-room hotel?

I would love to! The reason I always stop myself at five bedrooms is because I think that’s all I can afford. So if there’s anyone out there who wants to invest in me, then hello!

What is your most-prized possession?

My black leather jacket. I have been wearing one for the past 12 years: summer, winter, weddings, funerals, nights out! Everyone knows me for it and they say, “Prisca, not the black leather jacket!” But whenever I get cranky, I just buy another one. I must have four or five black leather jackets and they go with me everywhere.

What makes you unique?

Well, I think I’m a little bit nuts! I see opportunity and magic where nobody else does. I get these ideas and then I get this energy from God knows where and make them happen.

014 L Ovella Negra Interior Lounge Chair
015 L Ovella Negra Nature Snow Rocks
016 L Ovella Negra Exterior Scenery Mountains

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