Between the twisted spires of Gaudi’s cathedral and the sparkle of the Mediterranean, Barcelona is one of the brightest cities in the world. Those visiting for the Grand Prix will find plenty of action away from the tracks, where a heady wine and tapas culture sizzles, gothic corridors beg to be explored, and artistic visions linger on every corner.
Take a private tour through the Parc Guell, sip sweet vermouth at the historic Bodega 1900, and turn your attention to the beautiful street smart boutiques of El Born. Barcelona can be an electrifying place, her tiny streets crammed with life and her wild and wonderful La Ramblas boasting all kinds of strange and exotic delights. Here’s our glorious guide to finding the best retreats to rest your head and the finest tables to dine at, when in the city of artistic cool.
Hotel Neri…For Boutique Bliss
Barcelona is booming with big name luxury brands, but for high class travelers who prefer boutique vibes, the Hotel Neri offers a sweet spot to stay. With just a handful of rooms inside a 17th century mansion – this is the place to get in touch with Barcelona’s gothic roots. Expect shimmering chandeliers, crushed velvet, and artwork adorning the walls. There is no pool to cool down in, but the charming breakfast terraces and shaded stone walkways offer a calming respite from the outside world. Book the Neri Suite for delicate fabrics, warm wooden floors, separate living space, in room massages and natural stone bathrooms.
Cinc Sentits…For Tapas
Tapas is the ultimate Catalonian experience but for those who want to avoid the crush and the noise of the market bars, Cinc Sentits can be a lifesaver. The beautiful space with white linen and modernist edges is the home to Chef Jordi Artal and his fixed menus of minimalist haute cuisine. The six-course menu brings a breath of market fresh variety with perfect pigeon cooked three ways, gummy wine pairings and plenty of table side theatrics.
ABac…For a Calming Retreat
Barcelona can be a wild and untamed city, brimming with rich food, fine wine and all night parties. For a healing retreat that boasts five-star finesse, then head to the ABac resort over on Tibidabo hill. The former gentry mansion offers fifteen strikingly Zen like rooms set among lush leafy gardens. It also offers a daringly creative restaurant, a pool and a beautiful wellness center. Book the ABac suite for ivory white designs that capture the neutrality of pure luxury, sink down in your own private Jacuzzi and make the most of natural outside space dappled in sunlight. At the restaurant book their Avant Garde menu sequence for Cuban silkworm daisies, cucumber gin snowflakes, and Bloody Mary macaroni.
Set Portes…For Seafood
Paella and pianos, there is a reason the elite of the Barcelona scene flock to Set Portes for seafood suppers on balmy bright evenings. This charming haunt has been around since the 19th century and hasn’t lost its old-world grandeur. Expect waiters in starched white shirts, cavernous ceilings, and traditional recipes that capture two centuries of tradition. From lobster casserole to dishes on the verge of extinction, Set Portes is quite the experience.
Hotel Casa Fuster…. For Celebrity Charm
Curves, marble, and Woody Allen’s favorite place to stay – Casa Fuster is easy to fall in love with. In the heart of the arts district, this impressive hotel is the hallmark of modernism and was designed by the Catalan architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. The suite is the best room in the house, but this isn’t why people decide to stay. The major draw of this architectural gem is the fact that it turns into the hottest jazz club in town after dark. While waiting for the sun to set and the saxophone to strike you can indulge in fine crafted cocktails beside the rooftop pool with evocative views across the Passeig de Gràcia, the Sagrada Familia and Tibidabo mountain.
Gaig…For Gastronomic Glory
Another 19th century gem that marks Barcelona on the map for culinary creativity has to be Gaig. This long-standing restaurant ensures every bite on the menu is curated from well thought out and handpicked ingredients. The gastronomic menu serves up cannelloni with truffle cream, charcoal grilled foie gras, and red deer loin. For a true Catalonian experience with a refined edge try the market plate menu with its baby elvers and artichokes, hare from the Pyrenees mountains, and dessert plates made up from different textures of chocolate.