Where to Stay, Eat and Explore in Barcelona and Mallorca

Jun 13 2019 by
Categories : Travel

Whether you want to loll on a golden beach or immerse yourself in the cacophony of the city, Spain has you covered.

 

MALLORCA

This postcard-perfect island is only a half-hour flight from both cosmopolitan Barcelona and hedonistic Ibiza, but it’s infinitely more chill—if you find the hidden spots.

STAY

The St. Regis is a breezy 15-minute drive from Palma, the capital city. Pampering starts at check-in. Staff whisk you away to the terrace, where you’ll sit with a glass of Rioja— come back at sunset for no-filter views—while your personal butler takes your Rimowa to your (newly renovated) room with a minimalist-meets-Mediterranean influence. That butler is on call for you for the rest of your trip: Need your suitcase unpacked? A dinner reso? That finicky ruffled dress ironed? A massage at the on-site Arabella spa? He (or she) does it all.

 

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DRIVE

Part of the five-star treatment at the St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort is a limo service offered to guests. (You can also rent a car at the airport.) Bypass the all-inclusive-resort towns Magaluf and Playa de Palma; Mallorca’s beauty lies in its rural enclaves. There’s Valldemossa, a village located at the base of the UNESCO-protected Tramuntana Mountains. If you have wheels and can stomach the winding cliffside road down to nearby Port de Valldemossa, Restaurante Es Port de Valldemossa is an ideal spot for a heaping platter of paella with a seaside view. Put off that after-lunch siesta (good luck!) and hit up pastoral Deià, and then end the day at the up-and-coming hot spot Sóller, strolling through the cobblestoned streets, ice cream in hand.

 

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BEACH

The three-level infinity pool at the hotel isn’t the only heavenly spot where you can swim: There are 262 beaches on the island. We ended up at Cala Llombards, a cove on the east side. Grab a mojito at the beach bar, and then doze the afternoon away in between jumps into the turquoise water.

 

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EAT

Mardavall boasts the Michelin-starred restaurant Es Fum, which overlooks the pristine hotel grounds. Palma proper—a magnificent historic city of half a million with art-nouveau and Islamic architectural influences—has some of the best meals on the island. We went back for seconds at Toque de Queda, a tapas bar that locals don’t want you to know about. Mallorcan wine is delicious but rarely shipped off the island, so take advantage of the more than 70 vineyards. As for when you wake up with a hangover? Power through with an espresso and anensaïmada, a fave local pastry.

 

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BARCELONA

Our stay in this Catalonian capital happened to fall on the same weekend as the El Clásico—a soccer match between rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona—so the vibe was electric (especially when Barce won 5-1). That said, with over eight million tourists visiting yearly, there is always something going on in this thriving coastal city.

WANDER

It’s Gaudí’s world, and we’re just living in it—the late Spanish architect’s modernist influence is everywhere around the city. If you have time, spend the day at Park Güell to take in its fantastical architecture and then head back downtown for a late meal of fusion-Spanish food at neighbourhood hot spot Bar Brutal. Sleep in on Sunday before hitting up the Museu Picasso, and then lunch at nearby El Xampanyet. Warning: This is not the place to linger over a glass of wine. You eat wherever there’s room— standing at the bar or sharing a table while you nosh on tapas like baby squid and beans and patatas bravas and wash it all down with a glass of cava.

 

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STAY

Spend a long weekend at the Barcelona Edition in El Born. This area is the Brooklyn of Barcelona, and the newly opened Edition, a chic boutique hotel with 100 rooms, is cool-kid central. Libations are a top priority here. There are four hangouts on-site: the Cabaret supper club, the lobby’s Bar Veraz (try a Manhattan with locally made vermouth), The Roof (with romantic views of the city) and—our favourite—the Punch Room, a speakeasy-style lounge. Since going out for dinner in Spain before 9:30 p.m. is verboten, every night around 8 p.m. we’d head to this spot for some olives and Catalonian cheese (okay, we were starving) and a glass or two of punch. The menu switches up seasonally, but you can’t go wrong with the house punch, a blend of gin and jasmine- and orange-flower water. If you (or your liver) need a break, the rooms at the Edition (with their Scandi-meets-Spanish influence, soothing woods, crisp white linens and soft throws) are the ultimate place for a time-out. Put on your robe and kick back; you’ll feel like you’re at a country retreat rather than in the middle of the city.

 

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BEACH

Barcelona and the surrounding countryside are teeming with beaches. You’d need weeks to see them all. Want to stick to the city? Bypass the bustling Barceloneta beach for the chill Nova Icària. If you have a spare afternoon, grab your book, your one-piece and some cervezas and take the train to Lloret de Mar, a beach town less than an hour away.

 

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This article first appeared in the June 2019 issue of ELLE Canada.

Categories: Travel