[BARCELONA] — I know I’m in the minority in being a steadfast fan of boutique hotels these days, whilst the rest of you are Airbnb’n, but I still am bullish on the whole hotel experience. In fact, I usually book my vacations around the hotel, often traveling far and wide just to visit a special place. Barcelona has been almost overrun by Airbnbs, so much so that whole apartment buildings are being converted by investors into full-on apartment rentals — much to the scorn of local residents, pushed out by reasonable growing rents. But just before the HomeAway trend hit BCN, a flurry of boutique hotels were built, high on style, funky design and cool restaurants, dramatically increasing this great city’s inventory of cool places
(Barcelona) — I debated and debated: “Do I really want to go all the way out there?” Boy, am I glad I did. Park Guell is a park set in the high hills on the edge of Barcelona. It’s a little bit of a hoof, but well worth it when you get there. There’s an amazing Guadi designed pavilion there, trails that loop up and down the mountain and stunning views over the whole city. Just keep going up. You will be rewarded. A great way to spend a half a day.
(Barcelona) — You’ve read about it in your school textbooks. You’ve seen pictures of it. But once you get inside, it all makes sense. Really magical. You should go hang out here, wait for when the sun is out and streaming though the windows. Don’t let the constructions cranes scare you away, they’ll be there for awhile.
(Barcelona) — If you’re going to Barcelona, you’re going to see a lot of Gaudi. After all those schoolbooks and tests, never really got him. Walking around Barcelona with my head up for a week, I do now. These are some shots of two favorite houses along Passeig de Gracia. Casa Mila and it’s rooftop where you can kill hours — make sure you go right at sunset. Just a block or two away, Casa Batlló Here’s a great article in the August 2012 Conde Nast Traveler called 5 Perfect Days in Barcelona and Girona. And another good article in the August 25, 2012 Wall Street Journal called Insider’s Guide to Barcelona.
(BARCELONA) — El Born is a cool, quiet neighborhood away from the crazy crowds. Perfect for walking around, cool shops, mellow restaurants and beautiful streets. There’s a great little square with four or five outdoor cafes, perfect to just sit and watch Barcelona go by. Go here. Here’s a good article from The Guardian. Last visited July 2015
(Barcelona) — Not much more to report here, just a nice surprise I ran into while walking along the waterfront over Christmas time. I don’t think Spielberg’s set designers could have come up with a more perfect looking Old School circus.
(Barcelona) — It’s rare when you arrive at your hotel and it is actually as good as the pictures, if not better. El Palauet Living Barcelona is one of those places. Good lord, I literally dropped my bags and ran around my two bedroom flat like a little kid. More like Richie Rich. This place is off-the-charts good and is definitely in the Top Five of my favorite hotels, ever. It’s set up in a classic old town house, with about 5-6 apartments, but it is run as a hotel. You feel like you’re having a hedge fund vacation, with amazing details, with perfect restoration of the original details, mixed with a high tech amenities like a multi-million dollar apartment. Whole-house audio, check. Chromatic therapy,
(25,000 ft) — Not a big story here, just a nice ride along the edge of the Swiss and French Alps on the way to BCN. On a crystal-clear morning, it felt like you could just reach out and touch ’em.