It is almost impossible to exaggerate the pleasure of a visit to Barcelona, one of the great Mediterranean cities and Europe’s top weekend destination. It combines tradition, modernity, style, art, architecture, a bustling street life that turns into an all-night party—and weather that is seldom less than ideal.
While other European city-dwellers are gritting their teeth in midwinter rain and sleet, Barcelona is already sparkling in spring-like sunshine, autumn sunshine continues well into November, and even in the heart of winter there is little rain.
So, where to stay? If you want to be at the heart of the city, Hotel Condes de Barcelona is right there on the shop-filled Passeig de Gràcia in the Eixample area, across the street from Gaudi’s Pedrera. Two turn-of-the-century former palaces, recently restored and facing each other across the street, this is one of Barcelona’s most popular and glamorous quality hotels.
The main palace was once Casa Batilo, and the neo-medieval façade shows strong Gaudí influences in its intricate wrought-iron balconies, swirling marble staircases and colourful tiles. Modern attractions include comfortable and elegant guest rooms with swish marble bathrooms with spa baths, reproductions of Spanish paintings and soundproof windows.
Another attraction here is the rooftop terrace, swimming pool and bar (the Alaire Terrace Bar), which look out over Gaudi’s strange extraterrestial sculptures atop the Pedrera; this is the perfect spot for a cocktail as the sun sets over Barcelona, and supper on the roof may be accompanied by live jazz as well as great views of floodlit Barcelona.
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