A thick layer of fog greeted our nighttime arrival in Barcelona cloaking the city in mystique and intrigue. We hailed a cab to take us from the train station to Gran Hotel la Florida, a five star hotel that sits perched on top of Mount Tibidabo, the highest mountain in the Catalan region. The trek up the narrow and dark foothill pathway brought on a tiny pang of apprehension. After all, we were in a foreign country heading directly into the unknown hazy darkness away from all traces of light and civilization. J and I locked eyes a few times and made feeble halfhearted attempts at lame jokes alluding to scary movie cliches like I Know What You Did Last Summer. Most of the jokes trailed off before the punchline. After what seemed like an eternity, we finally saw something! It was the Temple de Sagrat Cor, an ornate Catholic church with a towering statute of Jesus Christ at its apex lit up in green hued lights from all directions. I was officially scared. Thankfully, a few moments later we saw our hotel, an elegant and historic beauty that melted away all my silly and irrational fears.
Built in 1925, the 5-star hotel has gone through major renovations with the original facade left intact and many of the original decorative and structural elements meticulously renovated. Paintings of flowers and modern sculptures decorate the hotel, the work of Catalan and British artists commissioned especially for the hotel. It's the perfect synthesis of the traditional and the new.
I imagine real movie stars stay here. The hotel is grandiose in its luxury but quiet in its seclusion offering the perfect reprieve from people, noise, and reality. I didn't leave the hotel very much as I enjoyed sightseeing on the rooftop that offered an expansive 360 degree view of Barcelona. And instead of going to the beaches, I swam in the infinity pool which stretches from inside the hotel to the tip of the mountain cliff. My brother reminded me of the Friends episode where Joey brags about telling and re-telling the story of Mount Tibidabo to pick up girls. Forget the story. Just take her to Gran Hotel La Florida. Deal. Sealed.
Sandals: Zara (I also like these)