No Siestas ‘Till Barcelona

Thursday, April 5, 2018
Spain: Land of Serpents, the Sagrada Familia and Sangria.


For New Yorkers craving beachside bliss, look no further than Barcelona. The seaside city famous for its artistic contributions and surreal Antoni Gaudi architecture blends a cosmopolitan vibe with a laid-back salty energy. But don’t be too seduced by the Mediterranean waves. Barcelona may have the perfect pace for a vacation, but there are no siestas here.


Where to Stay: The Majestic Hotel & Spa

Located on Passeig de Gràcia, The Majestic Hotel & Spa is situated in the heart of Barcelona, with a roof deck that offers views of the city and of nearby Casa Batlló, one of Gaudi’s most iconic works. The luxury 5-star hotel opened its doors in April 1918, and it has remained in the Soldevila-Casals family to this day. The Majestic recently underwent a five-year renovation, and the hotel is celebrating its centennial with a number of special events. Beginning this month, guests will be able to experience the Majestic’s roots, with a modern twist. In the hotel restaurant, Michelin-starred consultant chef Nandu Jubany has developed a tasting menu of dishes reminiscent of the 1920s, crafted from historic menus in the hotel archives. Other turn of the century touches include themed amenities in the room, as well as a newspapers recreated in a vintage style that will include relevant news from the past and present; as well as a commemorative book that gives readers a taste of significant moments and personalities from the hotel’s history, which has included guests like Ernest Hemingway and Antonio Machado.


Who to See: Antoni Gaudi

A trip to Barcelona would not be complete without a visit to the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s preeminent, but still unfinished, work. Here, the true scope of his mind is realized—light pours through the stained glass windows, painting the stone interior with psychedelic patterns. Guests are welcome to climb to the top of one of two completed facades—the Tower of the Passion or the Tower of the Nativity—giving visitors a true scale of the scope of the work. The building is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and when completed, it will have 18 towers. expected to be finished by 2026, which would mark 100 years since Gaudi’s death.


How to Get There: Hike

Located just outside the city center, Montjuïc is an easily climbable hill that offers sweeping views of Barcelona and of the Mediterranean Sea. Among the attractions on Montjuïc is the Fundació Joan Miró, a modern art museum that features the works of the prominent Spanish surrealist. In June, the Majestic and the Foundation will host an exclusive dinner paying homage to the artist, with the funds raised going to the restoration of The Tapestry of the Foundation, which was created in 1979.


Why Go: The Views

Gaudi’s storybook architecture was not limited to buildings, and he tried his hand at landscape design with the now-famous Park Güell. Located in the Gracia district of Barcelona, the park was commissioned by Esebi Güell as a part of a plan to create a small community of homes for the affluent. The idea flopped and was abandoned, but not before Gaudi had created two gatehouses and a plaza. The city bought the park in 1922, and it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004.


What to Eat: Tapas

What is the best thing to eat in Barcelona? Iberian ham and cheese. Pick out a few of the most flavorful options from La Boqueria, an open-air food market located just off of La Rambla, and enjoy dining al fresco. Stock up! Dinners start much later, so you’ll need plenty of tapas to hold you over.


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