Barcelona is no slouch in regards to its historic offerings, especially when it comes to the arts. It has been home to and frequented by a slew of the world’s greatest artists, and over the past century, many of them stayed at one of its most notable accommodations: Hotel Majestic.
Located along the bustling thoroughfare of Passeig de Gracia just above Barcelona’s famed la Rambla boulevard, Hotel Majestic is a looming testament to some of the city’s most acclaimed attractions — unique architecture and design, delicious food, fantastic art, and a vibrant appreciation for the finer things in life. The hotel recently celebrated its 100th anniversary, making it one of the oldest hotels in Barcelona, and it was renovated in 2013 to add a modern edge to its historic reputation.
After opening in 1918, the Hotel Majestic caught on quickly with the international art crowd, and soon it was being frequented by the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Frederico Garcia Lorca, and Joan Miró. When the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, journalists used the Majestic as a base from which to cover the various campaigns. Then in 1939, the hotel stood at the heart of some of the fiercest fighting during the Battle for Barcelona.
Today its halls and rooms are adorned with avant-garde artworks from renowned artists from Spain and around the world such as Antoni Tàpies, Antonio Saura, Louis Lleó, Miguel Ángel Campano, Anish Kapoor, Richard Long, and Richard Deacon.
From the outside, the Hotel Majestic looms over most everything else along its stretch of the street, its modernist exterior imposing and somewhat off-beat. It’s not quite as unusual as Gaudi’s Casa Batlló just down the block (views of which are available from many of the Majestic’s rooms), but it certainly has an aesthetic that stands out. Inside the elegantly appointed lobby, however, it feels like you’ve stepped back in time thanks to the neo-classical vibe derived from all the marble, columns, staircases, and other elements that seem like they’ve been drawn directly from the turn-of-the-century era of the hotel’s birth.
Beyond the lobby is an opulent restaurant and bar where you can have a genuinely sumptuous meal accompanied by live jazz or soft piano music. The menu is ever-changing, but it always delivers something outstanding.
Atop the hotel, you’ll find one of the main attractions for both overnight guests and diners popping by for a meal—the rooftop bar.
Built around a swimming pool and an expansive abstract mural, the bar provides some 300 degrees of vantage from which to view the city. Grab a plate of oysters and a cocktail — or a more substantial meal — and enjoy. It’s the perfect place for a romantic dinner, or an afternoon of cocktails and hobnobbing with your fellow guests from around the globe.
Rates vary based on the season, but they tend to run anywhere from $200 a night for an elegant Deluxe room to over $1,000 a night for the extravagant Royal Penthouse: A sprawling apartment that boasts several rooms decked out in stunning décor, terraces with city views and jacuzzis, and a luxury vehicle, chauffeur, and butler. Falling somewhere in the middle are the Junior Suites, which deliver an outstanding level of luxury (that bathroom!) at a not-unreasonable rate. These are your best option for enjoying a lavish experience without breaking the bank.
Whatever you do, spring for a view, ideally of Passeig de Gracia and the Gaudi architecture down the street.
It goes without saying that one of the most attractive factors in choosing the hotel — even a hotel this refined and renowned — is the neighborhood in which it stands. While it’s directly in the heart of one of Barcelona’s most fashionable shopping districts, it’s also right down the street from la Rambla, the Gothic Quarter, much of the Gaudi, and the marina and beach. Let’s put it this way — whether you’re inside the hotel or outside, you’re in for a treat.
Walk down to la Rambla and browse the street vendors. Explore the ancient winding streets and alleys of the Gothic Quarter and explore its plethora of bars, restaurants, and shops. Head down to the beach for a drink and a swim. And every step of the way, you’ll enjoy the omnipresence of great art and architecture, as well as the vibrant culture that inspired it.
With its abundance of great art, historic stature, and all-around opulence, the Hotel Majestic is a superior base from which to launch your explorations of Barcelona — truly one of the world’s greatest cities.
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