Travel - Barcelona {Soho House}

October 04, 2017

We got back from a quick city break to Barcelona last week. I'd wanted to visit for ages but then Soho House Barcelona opened and suddenly the draw became even stronger. We were visiting with work, honeymoon reviewing for So You're Getting Married - for which I've written up a feature here. But as always, I wanted to share some more personal photos of our trip on here with my travel diary to look back on if you'd like to see.
A few things to note; on Sundays and public holidays all shops are shut. All of them. Beware of pickpockets, we were warned that Barcelona is notorious for them in busy areas/public transport and cafe scams. But we didn't see any trouble. September was a beautiful time to visit, it was 25 degrees everyday of our visit.

Soho House was incredible {remember our stay at Farmhouse last year here?}. And even better than we imagined it to be. From the Cowshed toiletries to the beautiful tiles to the photo booth fun {and free candy bar} to the rooftop pool, this place has serious style and an achingly cool vibe that we loved. It was a dream location too in the heart of the Gothic quarter and opposite Port Vell.


We arrived early on Sunday morning. We realised just a few days before our trip that the annual La Merce fiesta {Barcelona's biggest party} would be taking place and the city sure was celebrating. Mostly we stumbled across squares full of music and local dancing but it meant all of the shops were shut for two of the days we were there {completely shut! No Zara or mango or even supermarkets} and everywhere was a lot busier than normal. We jumped in a taxi from the airport and felt the heat already, just a quick 2 hour jump from London and ridiculously cheap £80 return flights for the two of us, and we were back to summer for a few days.

The palm trees and cactus surprised me, so many everywhere. A palm tree lined city, we joked sometimes it felt more like we were in California. We walked a lot on our first day {25,000 steps by the end of it}, trying to see as much as we could. Up Las Ramblas, sidestepping to look at some of the gothic streets and squares with various little flea markets going on, to the Cituadella park with a picnic of iberico ham, cheese and baguettes before stopping for some gelato at the marina, seeing all the boats and looking out across the beaches and out to sea.

I knew Barcelona had a beach but I didn't realise quite how many. Miles of sand which makes for an amazing mix of a city break with space to top up your tan and sunbathe on the sand. Eventually we made it back to our hotel with a few hours of relaxing ahead of us. For dinner we ended up at Chicken Shop and Dirty Burger, the Soho House chain we love in London which was just 2 doors down from the hotel. Not traditional Spanish by any means but we were tired and we knew it would be good, especially with the festival going on.

A magical evening followed with us wandering down the beach, seeing live music performances en route, and a sunset I won't forget in a hurry. The bright orange sunrays through the palm trees as we made our way to the sand for a paddle. We walked up to the W hotel, the famous sail hotel out on the peninsula. The sky turned pink and as the lights turned on we made our way back to the hotel, exhausted from our 4am wake up. Luckily I was too tired to notice the festival noise outside that night. 

The next morning I made my way out for a sunrise run {we've had so many trips recently I'm keen to keep my fitness going} which rewarded me again with beautiful pink skies over the beach. We went up to the roof for breakfast, ordering from our lounger and watching the city slowly wake up below as we ate our avocado and poached eggs and shared a croissant and house press green juice. 

We were half tempted to just stay on those comfy loungers all day, there were stacks of magazines to read and the warm sun felt so good. But we knew we'd regret it if we didn't see some culture during our stay so decided on starting at Park Guell at the north of the city. Because we were only there for a couple of days it was cheaper for us to get a taxi rather than buy a metro pass of 10 tickets. And quite a lot quicker and nicer. There's no Uber allowed in Barca but we found the my taxi app which is basically the same thing and with a new user sign up code {use this code rebecca.ste for a free 5 Euro credit} it paid for half the journey for us. To see all of the Gaudi highlights in the park you should buy a ticket online in advance and then turn up for your given time slot. We didn't do this because we didn't have enough time so missed out on the main Gaudi stuff, instead just walking the free un-ticketed part of the park which felt like a true taste of Spain with olives, cypress and pine trees dotted around with views back across the city. A tonic of a walk and some impressive architecture to see even without a ticket. Next we walked down to the Sagrada Famila, Gaudi's most famous work still under construction.

The city is very spread out and we were recommended to jump on the hop on hop off sightseeing buses. We didn't, instead walking a lot but the buses did look like a good option although I think around 30 euros each. We then cut across the city on foot to see another famous building, this one was my favourite. Gaudi's Casa Battlo made up from tiles, skull and bones. I loved this street, it looked amazing for shopping too and lots of tapas bars. We stumbled across El Nacional which ended up being the best find of the trip. A new concept for Barcelona it's a collection of some of the best Spanish restaurants under one roof, all designed to instagrammable perfection. You could have tapas there but we were after an authentic paella and had planned on visiting a restaurant by the beach but this came at the perfect time instead. We were starving. We shared the seafood paella, it tasted incredible yet so different to those were used to at home that normally mix chorizo/peas/beans/red pepper in. This was the real deal, pretty much just rice and seafood but with such a depth of flavour. 

Afterwards we headed back through the Gothic quarter to the hotel, our feet were aching again! 

Soaking up as much of Soho as we could, we had dinner at Cecconis that night their Italian restaurant. The food was insanely good, the setting romantic old school Italian but with a twist. Think greenery and exposed Brick. We ate aubergine parmiagana and lobster spaghetti which were both so good. Rest assured there's always always room for dessert and I've been dreaming of these pistachio profiteroles ever since. We sure needed a walk around the marina after that blowout.

Our last day was spent a lot more lazily. Breakfast on the roof again {this time sharing the acai bowl and iberico manchego baguettes} and then spa treats at the cowshed spa. I had a massage and a facial, Soho House truly spoilt me. Meanwhile Ben had a massage too before we met up again on the roof for most of the rest of the day. We ordered lunch, poke bowls and tried to catch up on work. We had one final walk to the beach although it felt almost too hot before a quick dinner at chicken shop before hailing a cab to the airport.

Just 2 nights, a whistle stop tour of the city but a truly wonderful getaway. I don't think we'd have needed any longer. It was perfect. And a lot of fun with this guy.

R <3 xx

{I was a guest of Soho House but as always only ever share places that I truly love. You can read my full review over on So You're Getting Married here}.

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