Ah Barcelona, a city that can do no wrong. We enjoyed our first trip there so much, we went back three years on the trot. It’s a city that exudes charisma and excitement, like a new puppy let loose in the park for the first time – boundless energy and happiness.
I’ve mentioned before that Mr B and I only seem energetic enough to flex our passports as far as Europe and we’ve clocked up a few Wallpaper City Guides in our time but until Barcelona, our heart had always lain with Italy. Rome was our first ever cheeky trip away a couple of months after we first met, in the days when we were both coy about going for a wee in the hotel bathroom without locking the door, turning all the taps on and pretending we were “doing our hair”. After Rome followed a was a romantic New Year’s in Venice, a balmy summer in Florence and a mozzarella-stuffing fortnight in Sorrento...
Then Barcelona came onto our radar and we thought, heck, why the hell not?..
I happened upon Hotel Pulitzer on one of my Googleathons to find an enticing central hotel that wasn’t going to send me over my credit card limit. The Pulitzer is a beauty of a hotel - it's all very monochrome and cool in that subtle way that I can forgive rather than that Shoreditchy so-trendy-it's-just-rubbish vibe and handily it's slap bang in the midst of Barcelona’s centre, a 10 minute walk to the famous Las Ramblas . (I’ve always secretly fantasised about living in a posh hotel, like a rich old spintster with 15 shihtzu's and a penchant for sherry - I reckon here could be the place to do it)
There’s a sprawling bar area downstairs with sofas aplenty and it’s the sort of place where people just hang out undisturbed with a good book or snuggle in a sneaky corner with a date and a tipple. On the rooftop there’s another small bar which opens at night for a taste of starlit Spanish scenery and where you can also wander up to in the day time – it was little used when we stayed so we coveted it as our own private little suntrap to enjoy a cava or three.
The rooms are plush and decent enough in size to settle in for a few days without becoming hidden under your unpacked luggage and staff were friendly and quietly on hand for a bit of touristy info on where to get the best grub and how to get around the city without having to gatecrash a conveyor belt of American tourist groups obedidently following a yellow umbrella.
We walked and walked our way around Barcelona because it’s a doddle to get to the sites without the joys of deciphering foreign public transport routes although we do love a bit of open-air tour bus action. I’m always determined to 'blend in' when we’re abroad and balk at the sight of fellow Brits (as if I somehow I belong there more than them) and berate myself every time my awful attempt at a "please" or "thank you" in a foreign tongue is met with a fluent English reply. But something about an open-air tour bus makes me forget all that and want to join hands with the baseball-cap-brigade in their I Heart Barcelona t-shirts, let loose from their cruise ship for two hours.
I'd also recommend making a beeline for the portside to nab yourself an ice cream with a side of ferry-spotting on the seaside decking area and keep an eye out for our most favourite eatery around the corner from the hotel – Matemala – which is open late, late, late for all manner of yumminess. Because a holiday isn't truly a holiday in my book without desert after midnight....
Additional images courtesy of luxuryaccommodationsblog.com