From Lisbon, I took a short flight to Madrid and then connected to an even shorter one hour flight to Barcelona. It is here in Barcelona that I will make my home for the next week or two. Barcelona is a great city. I call it a “small, big city” because it has everything you want (even more) yet it is only about 55 square kilometers (about the size of Washington D.C.) Yet there are about 1.7M people within the city limits-hence “small, big city”. It is very cosmopolitan, with people and foods from all around the world. It is also unique in that there are beaches inside the city (in how many big cities can you find that?) Finally, the climate is near perfect as Barcelona is nestled between the Mediterranean Sea in front of it and the mountains behind it.
The first question-where to stay? Many want to stay on or very near to the world famous shopping street “Las Ramblas”. I prefer not to be swept up in a tidal wave of tourists every time I exit the hotel, so I opted for the Hilton Diagonal Mar hotel, close to the action (10 minutes by taxi), yet not in the action. This is sort of akin to going to Miami Beach and staying in South Beach or staying in Bal Harbour and getting quickly to South Beach whenever you wished to go there.
The Hilton Diagonal Mar is a beautiful hotel. It is about a one block walk to the beach. It has a really nice executive club lounge with a beautiful outdoor terrace on the 15th floor and a rooftop pool and restsurant on the 3rd floor.
The Executive Club Lounge is a nice refuge from the busy hotel. They serve breakfast between 7am and 10am, snacks between 11am and 6pm and then open bar and hors d’oeuvres between 6pm and 8pm. As an added benefit for Hilton Diamond members, I can eat breakfast in the downstairs restaurant if I want (mas Jamón Serrano Pata Negra, por favor)
Speaking of the pool area, it takes up nearly the whole second floor area of the hotel (besides a 24 hour gym). And apart from the hotel guests’ use of the pool, the Hilton partners with Puro Beach Club to open the pool to outsiders and throws weekend pool parties (like the Nikki Beach club concept which also does this in chic areas around the world.)
And just in case you forgot something at home (adaptor, bathing suit, flip flops, favorite Dunkin Donuts coffee, slice of pizza) directly across the street from the hotel is the Diagonal Mar Mall, the largest in Barcelona.
For all these reasons, the Hilton Diagonal Mar is a great place to hang your hat when in Barcelona!