The history of Vichy Catalán in the 19th Century is closely linked with doctor Modest Furest i Roca, as he was behind a number of reforms and improvements in public health provisions in the city of Girona, and was interested in hydrotherapy in general. On one of his visits to nearby villages he came to Caldes de Malavella.
A group of scholars from Girona had discovered a series of remains from prehistory and from Roman times showing how that place had been continuously inhabited, this no doubt being linked to the surfacing of thermal water there. Moreover, folk wisdom had always attributed curative properties to those waters.
Doctor Furest acquired the properties that included the springs and the adjacent land in 1880. In 1889 a two-storey building was erected on the hill to house the bottling plant. At that time, mineral waters were sold through pharmacy outlets, shops for house-keeping products, and mineral-water depots, and sales were backed by placing press advertisements aimed at medical practitioners and patients.
In view of the great influx of visitors, the building of the spa became a pressing need. The first section of the new spa, the Balneario Vichy Catalán, was officially opened in1898.
Sociedad Anónima Vichy Catalán, was formed on 16 June 1900, with inputs from Bonaventura Blay i Milà, Josep Ferrer i Torralbas, Josep Serradell i Amich and Josep Vias Camps, all of whom were americanos – men returning from the Americas, and Cuba in particular, having made their fortunes there. The new company set up its headquarters in Barcelona.
One of the first tasks to be tackled by the new company was enlarging the spa. The spa extension was completed by the start of the 1904 season, and that date marks the start of a period of nearly three decades in which the El Vichy Catalán spa enjoyed the finest moments in its history, thanks to the clients who thronged to the spa and to the popularity and prestige of the establishment, particularly with the Catalan middle classes.
In 1905 the need to build a new bottling plant made itself apparent, since the old plant could not cope with the demand, and its machinery had become obsolete. By 1907 the new building for the bottling works was nearly finished, and the machinery was installed soon after. Over the next three decades, the machinery was to undergo constant renovation, adapting to new times and enabling output to be increased.
This highly favourable atmosphere of constant growth was punctured in 1936 when the Spanish Civil War broke out, bring irreversible changes both for the spa and for the bottling section. The company Sociedad Anónima Vichy Catalán was confiscated and the spa became a military hospital.
After the war, the forties proved to be a time of laborious recovery. Despite the economic difficulties of the country, the company resumed its work; output and sales climbed back, and efforts were made to renew the machinery. Meanwhile, the spa was leased out, and was not under the direct management of the company for many years.
In the nineteen fifties, the company enjoyed consolidation as a pioneer company in the bottled drinks market.
The bottling lines continued to be renewed on a number of occasions in the 1960s, with the premises also being adapted to meet the requirements of the new consumer society. For its part, the spa was still leased out, and then, during the fifties, sixties and particularly the seventies, it had to face competition from tourism.
In the 80's, the company also gave special attention to relaunching the services that had made the Vichy Catalán spa famous, this at a time when society was also demanding better quality of life, and when the physical wellbeing of people was coming to be seen as a treasured asset that had to be preserved.
That was how the spa’s Delicius Restaurant came into being, its vocation being to supply gastronomic satisfaction to the regular customers of the Spa and to all gourmets curious to acquaint themselves with a typically Mediterranean, innovative haute cuisine and finding a place for itself in the Best-Restaurants list drawn up by the culinary institute Fundació Institut Català de la Cuina.
Finally, in the 1990s – more precisely in February 1990 – the formation of the group Grupo Vichy Catalán was consolidated, bringing together the companies S.A. Vichy Catalán, Malavella, S.A., Fontdor, S.A., Aigua Les Creus, S.A. and Font del Regás, S.A. plus Aguas de Mondáriz - Fuente del Val, S.A. as well since 1995. All these companies contribute the prestige of their natural and carbonated mineral waters in making the century-old company S.A. Vichy Catalán a leader in the bottled water sector.