Gran Hotel La Florida is a unique place, a bit of an oddity; it is equal parts city boutique and luxury resort, located on a hilltop just outside of Barcelona. The view is stunning, overlooking the city, and beyond, the Mediterranean, and the location is secluded, a thousand feet above the city, yet with relatively easy access to any destination within — which is to say that although the hotel is at least fifteen minutes from downtown, Barcelona traffic is such that an extra fifteen minute commute is a small price to pay.
Of course there are facilities here you won't find in the city, the crowning jewel of which may be the 37-meter indoor/outdoor stainless steel swimming pool, with its outdoor poolside bar, and the sun decks on the terraces below, also overlooking Barcelona. The Spa features a sauna, a steam bath, and a full range of fitness equipment, as well as a host of Natura Bissé beauty treatments.
And the hotel itself is above and beyond most city boutiques; this is a place that, in its first incarnation (established 1925) played host to the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Jimmy Stewart, and now, in its second life, is reaching for the same exclusive audience. One difference is in size — the building itself has been expanded, and rooms are not just more numerous, but much larger than before — in fact some of the modern hotel's bathrooms were once entire guest rooms.
The renovation was extensive, involving heroic architectural measures, and an all-star team of designers, and it shows in the end product, which is a stylish and elegant hotel, yet one which has not forsaken its roots. Colors are muted yet furnishings are rich, opting for creamy leather plushness over faceless Ikean minimalism.
The restaurant, L'Orangerie, is a genuinely fine one, a stylish indoor/outdoor environment serving a refreshingly authentic Spanish cuisine that shames some of the nation's trendier cooking. This is a place where Barcelona's beautiful people come to see and be seen (we told you it was convenient!) so don't be shocked if you see models in the bar, Club Luna — but if you are worried about a 24-hour party scene, have no fear; this is too refined a hotel for any of that.
Crta. Vallvidrera al Tibidabo, Barcelona
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