If you follow Lane Harlan on Instagram, you might get the idea that the restaurateur spends most of her time hosting dinner parties that get chronicled in Bon Appétit magazine, sipping wine along the Seine or frolicking in a field with her adorable baby girl.

The reality is, Harlan spends most of her time working, and has since she was about 14. “I’ve worked at a 24-hour Denny’s, I’ve worked at the hibachi grill in a kimono,” she reminisced, sitting in the Old Goucher courtyard next to her and her husband’s natural wine bar, Fadensonnen.

Though she frequently travels abroad and does other cool stuff, it’s almost always for work or in the service of one of the five businesses she owns in Baltimore. Wine fairs to find new purveyors for Fadensonnen and bottle shop Angels Ate Lemons. Trips to visit mezcal distilleries in Mexico with the staff of Clavel, the Remington restaurant and mezcaleria she co-owns.

In a couple days, she’ll head to Chicago, where Clavel is one of five national finalists for outstanding bar at the James Beard Awards, one of the food industry’s highest honors. The day before the ceremony, she and her team are doing a pop-up in the Windy City. Truly, the work never stops.

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But the seed of her next project was born from her desire to take a break. A few years ago, Harlan, alongside her husband and business partner Matthew Pierce, was staring down her own pandemic-era burnout. “We pretty much saw there was no end in sight of the work grind,” she said. The political atmosphere was, you’ll recall, tense. “And so we started to look to have a place to go abroad.”

They came across an app called idealista, the Zillow of European vacation homes. It’s “very dangerous,” Harlan cautions. “Do not download it unless you’re ready to buy a house somewhere.”

They ended up buying a house in Lastres, a seaside fishing village in Spain minutes from the mountains, with a climate that never gets too hot and enough restaurants and markets to keep the foodie entrepreneurs happy. Lastres is located in Asturias, a region in northern Spain near where Harlan had lived briefly before starting college at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The birthplace of celebrity chef José Andrés, Asturias has “the same landscape as Basque country, but without the price tag,” Harlan said. (Andrés even showed Anthony Bourdain around the area in an episode of ”Parts Unknown”).

Clavel owner Lane Harlan is opening a hotel in Asturias, Spain. (Lane Harlan)

“The problem with us,” she said, “is that in theory, we wanted to not work.” But then Harlan and Pierce came across a rundown former clergy house from the 18th century. They began talking to the elderly townspeople of Lastres about the rectory. Everyone had happy memories of the building, which had been a community gathering place and school until the 1970s, when its roof caved in. “We just started feeling like we were the ones responsible” for repairing it, she said.

She compared it to the feeling she and Pierce had when they discovered the Baltimore buildings that would become W.C. Harlan and then Clavel — as if the bricks were speaking to them, inviting them to create.

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Harlan said the couple thought: “We love building, we love design. We were like, ‘Why wouldn’t we go into the hotel world?’”

Task number one: a new roof.

Hotel Charo, a seven-room inn named after their daughter, will put Harlan’s talents for creating beautiful spaces on full display once it opens. “In the simplicity and minimalism she accomplishes really warm places,” said friend and Alma Cocina Latina owner Irena Stein.

Stein, whose former executive chef made it to the semifinal round of this year’s Beard Awards, said she is excited to see Clavel named a finalist after two previous semifinalist nods. Such honors bring “a whole serious and formal look at the Baltimore scene” and help attract attention from out-of-town guests for whom the city might not otherwise be on their radar, Stein said. “We need that.”

Similarly, Hotel Charo seems destined to draw new attention to Lastres, particularly from Baltimoreans now drooling over Harlan’s Instagram posts. But Harlan says she’s not trying to put Asturias “on the map,” per se. “José Andrés is from there. He can put it on the map if he wants to,” she said.

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Harlan says she’s already getting messages from interested guests who want to come during the solar eclipse in 2026, which will be viewable from northern Spain. “People [are] sending me emails like, ‘Are you going to be open by then?’ I guess it would be a good goal,” she said.

In mid-July, Harlan will spend seven weeks in Lastres, monitoring progress as the building gets new plumbing and electric. The stairs need to be rebuilt. Next summer will come furniture and interior design.

And maybe there will even be time for a break.