Barcelona is a beautiful city with amazing art history and a young fresh culture. There are so many things to see and do (and eat of course!).
The Cotton House hotel on Gran Vìà de les Corts Catalanes, is an upscale and modern hotel in the former headquarters of the Cotton Textile Foundation “Fundación Textil Algodonera”, a 19th-century style building, traditional in the city of Barcelona. In 2015, the building was refurbished to open the beautiful hotel while maintaining the original elements of the building. The marble and spiral staircases, ceiling, floor and wall embellishments have all been conserved in the beautiful new hotel. The hotel staff are friendly, helpful and there is an upscale lounge for breakfast or an evening cocktail.
The city’s art scene is heavily influenced by Gaudí, including La Sagrada Familia, an iconic church with three grand façades: Nativity, Passion and Glory. The Nativity façade bears the most Gaudí influence, and was completed prior to his death. The Passion façade is strikingly different to the Nativity façade, with tormented symbolical characters representing human sin, and was constructed by other architects with the plans left by Gaudí. The Glory façade, which is under construction, will be the largest façade and will represent the ascension to God. It is expected to be completed in 2026, marking the 100 year anniversary of Gaudí’s death. The church’s building materials are a stunning collection of stones, tiles and colored stained glass windows.
Strolling around Park Güell is a must, another beautiful Gaudí creation. The two mile hike from the Cotton House was mostly uphill, but the views of Barcelona are beyond spectacular. The park was conceived by Güell and Gaudí, and was originally designed to be a grouping of artistic, high-quality homes. The idea never took off, and only a few homes were built, leaving a city landmark with beautiful architecture and views not to be missed.
Taking a cooking class in Barcelona is a fun way to spend an afternoon, learning some traditional Catalan dishes and enjoying our delicious, fresh lunch while wine was flowing throughout the class. Cook and Taste is located in the Gothic quarter, down one of the many narrow streets, and starts with a walking tour to the Boquera Market, an open air market with fresh seasonal vegetables and seafood catches. After purchasing the ingredients for class, the cooking began! A four course meal was prepared, including a seafood paella and a beautiful custard dessert with a delightfully caramelized top. Complete with recipe cards to go, the taste of Barcelona can be recreated at home.
The restaurants in Barcelona are a treat, especially Bodega 1900, the Adrià brothers’ latest venture in Barcelona. In this small restaurant you will find house made vermouth and thoughtful tapas dishes highlighting some of the freshest seasonal fare. The menu changes daily, but the famous olives from El Bulli are a must, and their carpaccio was delightful. The seemingly simple tomato salad was anything but, highlighting the freshest grape tomatoes in existence drizzled with a rich, flavorful Spanish olive oil.
A trip to Barcelona isn’t complete without a walk to the beach, so stop at one of the many seafood restaurants on the strip near the beach, grab a beer from the concession, and find a place near the water to dip your toes into the Mediterranean and a little people watching.