PR girl, blogger and contributor to HotelChatter; if anyone knows anything about jet-setting, it’s Julia Pearson (we even deemed her hedonistic enough to profile her here). Designer luggage in-tow, Julia recently jetted to Barcelona to check out El Palace — luxe lodgings truly worthy of its five golden stars.
Check out Julia’s blog at LondOnTheInside
Refurbed hotels have something new hotels just can’t offer — they have history, and this, combined with a facelift, creates hotels to be reckoned with. El Palace in Barcelona is such a hotel; from the minute we arrived we could feel the glitz and glamour of the roaring 20s, whilst still having access to a host of mod-cons.
The hotel opened in 1919 as The Ritz and having recently completed a 22-million Euro refurbishment the interiors have been restored to their former glory. We stayed in one of the Junior Suites with Jacuzzi bath, double rainfall showers (you scrub my back, I‘ll scrub yours), a large selection of L’Occitane products, huge bed and separate walk-in wardrobe. Seriously, this suite was swish.
Bags unpacked, the newly-opened Mayan spa was our next port of call, spending 10 minutes in the only temazcal sweat lodge in Europe followed by a couples’ holistic massage using sea shells. Donning our robes, we headed back to the suite for Champagne on-ice, mini chocolate cakes and a bowl of fresh fruit.
The Jacuzzi bath caused quite a stir with its multiple settings — so much fun we didn’t want to get out, but our reservation at Caelis, the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, was waiting. Caelis is headed up by chef Romain Fornell, who was the first French chef to be awarded a Michelin star in Spain. The eight course tasting menu served with matching wines was some of the finest food we’ve ever eaten. Courses came with a variety of props — fish bowls, bowls made from ice, perfumed sprays and the grand finale, an egg-shaped dessert filled with popping candy and ice-cream. Each course was uniquely presented and a perfect combination of textures and flavours.
Bellies full, we headed back upstairs to make the most of our suite — our only regret that we couldn’t fit in a nightcap at the hotel’s jazz bar, Rien de Rein, which features a giant mirror ball hidden behind a retractable screen and private underground entrance in case one doesn’t want to be seen arriving or leaving . It’s easy to imagine Frank Sinatra sitting there drink in one hand, cigarette in another.
Breakfast is served in the El Jardin restaurant, although you can go al fresco and dine in the small courtyard. There are a whole host of hot and cold goodies on offer — who knew Champagne with bacon and eggs tasted so good? On Sundays El Jardin offers a huge Sunday brunch, which is open to the public as well as guests.
If you’re looking for somewhere to splash you’re cash in Barcelona, bump El Palace to the top of your list. And for those who really want to indulge, check into The Salvador Dali Suite — named after the artist who famously ordered a horse to be delivered to his room.
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