Category Archives: Trips

New boutique hotels in Barcelona for 2015

We keep talking about boutique hotels as a different trip plan for 2015. After the previous short introduction and our short trip for some charming accommodations in Madrid, this time we will travel to Barcelona, another big city in Spain where you can enjoy a wide variety of boutique hotels characterised by their design, singular spaces and personal attention.

The big difference between Barcelona and Madrid is that the Catalonian capital always stands out for its taste for design and innovation.  It is also important to bear in mind that this city has higher rates than Madrid and its attractions are more distant from each other, in comparison with the Spanish capital, where we find clearly an historic and artistic centre.

In Barcelona you can book a good boutique hotel in almost any pace and enjoy the authentic ambience of the city without needing to be very close to the old town. Nevertheless, it is truth that some of the most singular hotels in Barcelona are situated in famous streets such as Ciutat Vella, L’Eixample, Gràcia, etc. You can find a few interesting hotels in Poble Nou, but not as much as in the aforementioned areas.

Posada del Peine Hotel Petit Palace

Posada del Peine Hotel Petit Palace

Modernism is another hallmark. All the modernist area has wonderful must-visit hotels. This is the case of Museum Barcelona Hotel, one of the classic one in this city, where you can rest in an old modernist house (Garriga Nogués House) which has been completely and very gently refurbished and almost all the period details have been preserved.

Along with this, also managed by Petit Palace chain –which is one of the most important and best examples of boutique hotels in Spain-, it is worth mentioning the Boquería Hotel, renowned in the city for its beautiful romantic garden surrounding it and shaping the entire hotel. In this case, besides being an accommodation that boasts exquisite details, it stands out for its location, just some metres away from the famous market which gives it its name.

What you should always request in a boutique hotel in Barcelona is spaces conceived to enjoy experiences in the hotel representing a trip motivation in themselves. This is one of the main characteristics of Barceló chain with its Raval Hotel: although it cannot be considered a boutique hotel for its dimensions and accommodation capacity, it has applied this philosophy in its spaces, creating one of the fashionable terrace roofs in Barcelona where tourist from all over the world want to be, being or not guests of the hotel.  Creating a viewpoint of the city is a real success, undoubtedly, since it is one of the best marketing formulas nowadays.

Being linked to the destination and achieving that the hotel, its spaces and activities make part of the social schedule of a city such as Barcelona is worth taking your hat off to. Few are the ones who achieve it, but there are more and more trying to. It is truth that many boutique hotels in Barcelona have not much capacity to make them know by word to mouth, but it is clear that in this hard-fought industry, as in others, making efforts, listening to the customer and making good investments give good results. If not in the short-term, then in the medium-long-term.

Choosing the right accommodation is essential, since many call themselves boutique hotels, but they are really a small and family accommodation where you feel at home… with all that being at home implies. Without an attraction, without extra services.  That is not a good boutique hotel, but a small hotel. Pay attention, because there are many of these ones in Barcelona.

You should always request quality (never stay at a 1 or 2-star hotel, although you see an attractive price) and trust in the previous guests’ reviews: those who have tried it before can tell you what you will really find. But, do not hesitate to try a good boutique hotel, it will worth it.

Catalonia Sagrada Familia Hotel

Catalonia Sagrada Familia Hotel

There are hotels in Barcelona that can offer you experiences similar to the boutique hotels –maybe with a less noticeable personal attention- that will help you to plan a romantic escapade or a trip with friends completely different from what you have seen before. Some hotels that give this type of added value are, for example, hotels such as Catalonia Barcelona Plaza, where, from the beginning of the stay you see that everything is organized, every service and facility is conscientiously designed to offer the maximum comfort and the best experiences. If you want to make sure of this, you just need to stay at one of its rooms next to Plaza España or to enjoy its swimming pool in the terrace roof.

This type of accommodations (most of them 4-5 stars) are a not very affordable, but you should also check the prices in relation to the quality: we often get swept up in the offer, thinking of a low cost accommodation… and then we end up writing a bad review about a hotel for which we had many expectations and have paid too little.

A tour of the coast of Ibiza: Playa d’en Bossa

Stretching almost 3 km the beach of Playa d’en Bossa, is the beach of Ibiza, par excellence.  Famous in around the world for having some of the best discos and fashionable Beach clubs, it is the ideal place to get away from routine and relax, whether you are travelling alone or with the family. Playa d’en Bossa can be divided into two areas according to the type of holiday you have in mind.

If you are looking to enjoy the party atmosphere which can be found in Ibiza every summer, a short break with friends to Playa d’en Bossa is the perfect proposal: in the northern area up to the disco Space Ibiza can be found all the young people who year after year return to this temple of electronic music.  The beach converts into a permanent party which one only leaves to eat or loose oneself at one of the macro-discos which organise lots of fabulous thematic parties.

Sol Ibiza Hotel

Sol Ibiza Hotel

A must visit is the beach club Bora Bora where people dance under the sun all day long, preparing themselves for the party in the evening. It is typical to see hundreds of youngsters in swim wear dancing with planes flying overhead, so near that it seems possible to touch them.  The Playa d’en Bossa beach is the nearest to Ibiza airport, with the best connections for public transport and the easiest place to find accommodation in Ibiza, and then move freely around the rest of the island.

Towards the south passing by the hotel Club Palm Beach and to the area of the Grand Palladium Palace, you will find the area for families of Playa d’en Bossa, a tranquil place with fine golden sand and warm water, perfect for toddlers to splash around and for adults to relax.  Equipped with all amenities specially for families (from leisure centres to restaurants with children’s menus and play areas), there is also excellent connection with Ibiza airport and the centre, either by public transport or private car.

Very near to the beach is one of the best aquatic parks in Ibiza, the Aguamar Water Park, the perfect place for a day out with the children with sun and diversion.  The entrance fee is not expensive and food is also available on site.  Another option is to order from your hotel a picnic for all the family.

Hotel Fiesta Club Palm Beach hotel in Ibiza

Hotel Fiesta Club Palm Beach hotel in Ibiza

The southern area of Playa d’en Bossa is also ideal for a romantic getaway with your partner in Ibiza.  Although it is a quiet zone it is just a short walk from the most animated atmosphere of the island and very near to the centre of the city, Vila, where you will find the port which connects the island to Mallorca, Denia and Formentera.  By the way, take a couple of days of your holiday to visit Formentera, this could be one of the best plans with your partner during your stay in Ibiza. There are daily connections and the journey is a very agreeable trip by boat in the Mediterranean.

The sunsets, the chill outs, that you will find at every corner of the coves and beaches, the agreeable terraces, the shops with Ibizan fashions, and the exceptional eclectic, relaxing atmosphere you will find in this area of Playa d’en Bossa makes this place a paradise for a holiday in Ibiza. Additionally, in this part of the island due to an extensive offer and competence of the existing hotels, it is comparatively easy to find excellent accommodation in Ibiza at a good price.

Rome, the perfect getaway destination

With an always present smell of basil, its people and its history, Rome is the perfect getaway for a short trip this fall. Flights to the Italian capital have significantly reduced its price from the main European cities, and hotels are not as expensive as other Italian cities like Florence or Venice, where the quality of the accommodations is faced with its high rates.

The capital of the ancient Roman Empire, still reigns in the European tourism map as an ideal place to combine three forms of travel very closely linked: gastronomy, culture and luxury. Rome is theatre, opera and parties on the streets, its is a gourmet city that looks after like no other the Mediterranean diet, and it is also a place where the visitor can feel a part of its everyday life, flowers, vegetables, spices…

Barcelo Aran Mantegna Hotel

Hotel Barcelo Aran Mantegna

In every corner, Rome hides a surprise, even for those that have already visited it. The Coliseum, the gardens of Villa Borghese, the Palazzo Barberini, the Pantheon, the Fontana di Trevi, Piazza Navona, Santa Maria del Popolo, Campo de Fiori… its monuments, churches and the remains of the old empire, forged by the river Tiber continue to impress, year after year, century after century, demonstrating that humanity’s great art is timeless.

Hotel rooms in Rome

Hotel rooms in Rome

But Rome is much more. Rome is the life of its streets, its delicious restaurants with small tables and plaid tablecloths, the heat of its Mediterranean nights with a taste of Lambrusco…. The best to discover it is to improvise and let yourself go through imaginary routes. The key is to choose a hotel in Rome with free WiFi and to make it your headquarters and rest after long days of walking around the city.

Having internet access in the hotel allows to plan each day according to time, mood and how much rest you got the day before. It is essential, for example, to spend a night in Rome to tour the centre in light of the street lamps, have dinner at a restaurant next to the river, relax with a drink around the Piazza de Espagna or the area of Piazza Navona and Via Pace, or directly go out to party until dawn in the neighbourhood of Testaccio, where you find all the famous night clubs in Rome.

Another day (or two, if possible) should be reserved for some culture sightseeing in Rome, visiting the most emblematic places of the city, visiting its catacombs, admiring the altars of its churches and cathedrals or passing the Vatican walls to the glorious work of Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel. You can simply organize a series of small tours through the centre of Rome to go see some of the world’s jewels regarding architecture and sculpture, that still remain firm after so many years.

Gastronomic tourism is the third essential part for a trip to Rome: pasta, risotto, anti pasti and Italian sausages are a delicious invitation to the senses. Most traditional restaurants (far away from the most touristic spots and hidden in small and less busy streets) are of an excellent quality. Dedicating a day to try different dishes is a must.

To enjoy an updated and fast schedule with which to organise your escapade to Rome, the best is to visit websites like Time Out Rome or 2night.it.

The beautiful Majorca

Visiting Majorca in summer is still a ritual European tourists with a high acquisition level practise every August. With the official arrival of the summer in the rest of countries of the continent, millionaires, famous people, important business men, the royal family or even political authorities meet in this beautiful island of the Mediterranean where prince Rainiero and Grace Kelly spend their honeymoon.

Holidays in Mallorca

The northern coast, with the idyllic Cabo Formentor putting the final touch to the Serra de Tramuntana, is one of the preferred destinations in the island by the jet set to spend their sunny holidays. Making a reservation in one of the exclusive hotels on the north of Majorca gives you options to meet any of them heading to the golf court, to the spa or to the beach.

No doubt the north of Majorca is a luxury: choosing a beach hotel in Muro will allow you to discover the incredible Albufera, which lies among dunes by the sea or by the beaches and coves of S’Aucanada, La Victoria, Son Serra de Marina, the magic Alcudia and its eternal walls…. A place to get away from it all and escape to a desert cove.

Beach Costa de la Calma Majorca

On the other side of the island, on the norther coast, in the municipalities of Calvia and Andratx, concentrate large part of famous tourists. Most of them own a house in the surroundings, as it is the case of the model Claudia Schiffer, who owns a house in the area of Es Camp de Mar: one of those places where the Mediterranean offers a unique show of greens and blues which seems unreal. 

Close to the German model’s house we find other less well-known coastal areas but -maybe precisely because of that- as beautiful as the other: booking a hotel in Costa de la Calma is a good way of surprising your couple and live a romantic trip to the paradise. 

Hotel in Alcudia

Besides, the proximity to Palma de Majorca and to the exclusive areas of Port Adriano and Puerto Portals makes this northern area an authentic luxury tourist spot in the Mediterranean where all type of personalities gather, from the football player to the famous DJ David Guetta.

The charm of El Poblado

Medellín is a city of many faces and facets, it has something for every taste; its essence is captivating. By being such a dynamic city, we would like to show you a particular face. A face that mixes daily life wit tons of leisure activities: that face is El Poblado.

Views of El Poblado

Views of El Poblado

This exclusive and vibrant neighborhood is located in the southwestern part of Medellin, right in the limits of Envigado and high up in a mountain; the views of the city are unbelievable. El Poblado has an unlimited tourism and leisure offer: bars, restaurants, night clubs, hotels, malls, museums and many more! It is the meeting point of most of the people that come to the city of eternal spring during their holidays or business trips.

Thanks to its importance and renown, you may find many hotels in El Poblado, with easy and fast access to the main roads and, above all, you’ll be near the most attractive points of interest:

  • El Tesoro Mall
  • Oviedo Mall
  • Lleras Park
  • El Poblado Avenue
  • Vía Las Palmas

To live this experience, you’ll only have to book a room in El Poblado, come as soon as possible and enjoy everything you’re about to see.

Travelling to the centre of Madrid

We set ourself in the Kilometre 0 of Madrid, the central point from which the first 6 radial roads begun and today it is a central meeting point for tourists and locals. This small tile placed in front of the iconic Casa de Correos, is a symbol of Madrid as well as so many unmistakable icons we find at the Puerta del Sol.

Full of past and present stories, the Puerta del Sol is much more than the centre of Madrid, it is its vital core, the heart, the place where you begin to discover Madrid and through which to understand much of the essence of the capital.

Kilometro zero madrid

The Puerta del Sol has been and continues to be the scene of great moments in the history of Spain: from here the first metro line departed, in it Spain welcomes the New Year and from it all who live and visit the city can walk into its streets, filled with many secrets, and the great commercial streets.

On one side, the famous statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree opens the door to the shopping area of Preciados and offers itself as a meeting point for young people every weekend. The sculpture is reflected in the shield of the city and, over the years, has become an icon of the city.

Bear statute and Strawberry tree Madrid

On the other side, the large Casa de Correos occupies a privileged space that has given it the opportunity to be, over the years, the venue for locating numerous institutions and government bodies, from the Ministry of Interior to the Presidency of the Community of Madrid.

The Casa de Correos, designed by architect Jaime Marquet, is responsible for the beauty of the Puerta del Sol: in order to host the many Ministries it was required that it there was a high level of security so they proceeded to demolish the houses and buildings that surrounded the building,  resulting in this great space that today is centre of pilgrimage for all who visit Madrid.

Casa Correos Puerta Sol Madrid

Besides being the oldest building in the square of Puerta del Sol, the Casa de Correos holds the clock tower that is responsible for announcing, with its famous bells, the entry into the New Year and that gathers thousands of people every 31 December to celebrate on its streets.

If you’re thinking of a trip to Madrid, we propose a short list of unique hotels in Puerta del Sol. A real journey to the centre of Madrid.

· Hotel Petit Palace Londres

· Hotel Petit Palace Puerta del Sol

· Hotel Petit Palace Plaza Mayor

· Hotel Petit Palace Posada del Peine

 

The best month to visit Barcelona

Which is the best month to visit Barcelona? May, June, September…even April or early July and November.

Spring and Autumn are the best seasons to fully enjoy the charm of Barcelona, without experiencing the suffocating summer heat and the high tourist occupancy of the high season which makes Barcelona a real boiling point.

Barcelona is a unique city due to its modernity, cosmopolitan ambience, art, people and, of course, its climate. The Mediterranean gives it its privileged climate, with little rain throughout the year and very pleasant average temperatures, ranging from 10-12 degrees in winter (December to March) to 25-30 degrees during the summer (July and August).

Although the weather is nice all year and visitors can enjoy the city without fear of too many rainy days during your stay, the best time to book a hotel in the centre of Barcelona is, undoubtedly, the spring.

From April to June, the city looks beautiful at dawn, about 6.30 am – 7.00 am, and the warm afternoons that keep the sun beyond seven in the evening. The temperature is perfect, allowing the traveler to stroll through the centre without any stress and maximising the increasingly longer days.

It is perfect if you reserve a hotel with restaurant in Barcelona, to enjoy its exquisite typical spring dishes. In your suitcase it is enough to pack some light clothes and a thin jacket for the evenings, when it still gets cold.

The summer in Barcelona is the ideal time for lovers of heat and turmoil. Fall is perfect for hiking and long walks and winter is the time to enjoy the city from its bars, shops, theatres and museums: warmth, little rain and coldness with a enjoyable side to it that invites you to discover a more intimate Barcelona.

A walk around Barcelona’s ‘Barrio Gótico’ –the Gothic Quarter

A walk around Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter is one of those not-to-be-missed things that ought to be part of all visits to Barcelona. Not just because a lot of the most interesting and beautiful sights the city offers are found here, but also because it is a unique environment that offers fun bars, shops and outdoor cafés and restaurants.

Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter is full of history and enchantment. This was Barcelona’s old city centre, the original settlement that grew within protective city walls and remained practically intact until the 19th century.

Making your way around the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona will be a comfortable experience if you are staying in a hotel on the Ramblas, next to ‘Plaza Catalunya’, as this is the ideal starting point for your walk. In the past the Ramblas was actually located outside the Medieval city walls, and the great street was a well-nourished stream channeling water down to the sea.

Little by little Barcelona grew and the Ramblas became integrated into the cityscape in a natural manner. These days it forms an essential part of the circulation in the city centre and is one of the most popular tourist spots within the Catalan capital.

If you follow the Ramblas down from the Plaza Catalunya you will reach what has been one of the main entranceways to Barcelona during hundreds of years: the ‘Portaferrisa’. After that, criss-crossing narrow streets, continue to the square ‘Plaça del Pi’ with its beautiful church Santa María del Pi. It shares its name with the area around it: one of the most typical and animated parts of the Gothic Quarter.

Resuming your walk, discovering streets and corners seemingly belonging to the past, you will soon find yourself on the square ‘Plaça de la Catedral‘ where apart from the majestic cathedral you will also be able to see remains of what were the old city walls.

Walking along you can in one single morning have time for ‘El Call’, ‘Santa Ana’, ‘La Merced’ and ‘El Palau’ and then return to eat here at the restaurant in our hotel in Barcelona.

Barcelona is one of the best cities of the world. Discover Barcelona! Sleep in the Hotel Royal Ramblas’ rooms.