Europe Hotels Travel

Barcelona – Mandarin Oriental, Gaudi and Mammoth Museum

This is part three of my Barcelona trip – for parts one and three, please see below.

Barcelona – Lufthansa First Class and First Class Terminal
Barcelona – Mandarin Oriental, Gaudi and Mammoth Museum
Barcelona – The Food

After our flight landed from Frankfurt in Barcelona, we headed straight to our hotel – the Mandarin Oriental on Passeig de Gràcia, one of the major streets in Barcelona. While my husband goes to Barcelona every year, this was my first time ever in Spain. For a first time visitor to Barcelona, the Mandarin Oriental is in the perfect spot in the city center – right next to a lot of beautiful sites, great shopping and restaurants. In this post I want to share some highlights from the hotel, as well as some of our favorite sites in Barcelona.

MO Night

MO Stairs

The Mandarin has a very clean, modern feel to it with touches of Asian decor. The hotel was very airy and filled with light. Every time I walked to our room, I loved the view of the open center and all of the little windows.

MO interior

Our room was a simple deluxe room, which was more than enough space for the two of us. And the chair was actually a comfortable one for reading!

MO Room

The bathroom was very cool, with sliding doors and glass that was just a teensy bit transparent. There was a rainfall shower and a huge soaking tub, it was actually a little too big for me, but I still took a bath. My head kept getting submerged. I think this would be the perfect tub for somebody over 5’5!

MO Bathroom 2

Macarons, fruit  and water wer waiting in our room on the first day. The fruit and water were refreshed every day – unfortunately the macarons were not.

MO Barcelona Macaron

Every morning we ate breakfast at Blanc, the hotel’s restaurant on the bottom floor. It was a great little spot with many comfortable chairs where they served afternoon tea later in the day.

MO Blanc

The food was amazing! Our first morning I ordered an Eggs Benedict to go with the buffet but afterwards realized that the buffet was enough for satisfy all of my morning wants. There were delicious fresh squeezed juices in orange and grapefruit (of course) but also pomegranate and mango.  The buffet even had dim sum, next to generous spreads of Iberian ham. Yum.

MO Breakfast Buffet

MO Meats

Another favorite place we loved in the Mandarin was the Banker’s Bar, which was located on the lobby level. It was a very stylish, relaxed place to have a drink and they had some amazing cocktails. We even spent a few ours of our New Year’s Eve festivities here and it was the perfect spot!

If you go, please ask for Mariano and his special gin cocktails. The food was also very good, with many tapas selections.

MO Bankers Bar

MO Bankers Bar 2

Overall I really enjoyed our stay at the Mandarin Oriental and was really glad to have chosen it, especially for a first time visitor like myself. I think anybody would have a wonderful time at the hotel, it had flawless service, great food and of course a perfect location. And it was a fantastic place to spend the holidays and especially New Year’s Eve, there were many parties all around the street but our room was nice and quiet when we returned.

One of my favorite aspects about the location of the Mandarin Oriental was how close it was to several Gaudi sites, including my favorite, Casa Batlló. It was so wonderful being able to walk by this beautiful building several times a day. It was just a block or two away from the hotel.

Gaudi House

On our second day we bought tickets to go see the inside. Here are some of the highlights.

This was a mushroom stove and seating area – the audio guide explained that there were two benches, one for a young “courting” couple and the other for their chaperone.

Gaudi Mushroom

A beautiful ceiling.

Gaudi Ceilings

And a hallway – I loved this space, so bright and full of light.

Gaudi Vents

The roof, which was arched like the back of a dragon!

Gaudi Roof

My husband also pointed out that Gaudi’s architecture and design was so modern and influential that even our sink at the Mandarin Oriental seemed similar to this one built more than a century ago. Top photo is from Casa Batlló, bottom is from our room at the Mandarin.

Gaudi Bathroom

MO Sink

I know many architecture buffs are very familiar with Gaudi so you must forgive a novice’s enthusiasm. I really loved this house and really thought that the family that was able to build this must have been so lucky. It would be my dream to build a space like this one day, I love unique houses.

Here is another Gaudi site that I’m sure many of your are familiar with, the Sagrada Família.

Gaudi Sagrada

Gaudi Sagrada close

The final sight that I wanted to share is one that’s probably less well known. While walking over to our dinner one evening, we passed by a museum that had a huge mammoth in the window. Since Mr. Feather and I are both huge animal lovers, we had to stop by and see what it was all about! And we learned that we had found Barcelona’s very own Mammoth Museum.

Museu Mamut

The entire museum was dedicated to animals from the ice age, like the mammoth and saber-toothed cat. The museum encouraged you to actually touch a lot of its items, and I imagine it’d be a great place to take children.

Mammoth Museum

There were also some animals from the ice age that I didn’t know about, like a giant deer that had antlers on the side of its head!

Mammoth Deer

All in all it was a great little museum and I’m so glad we found it. If you are in Barcelona and have the time, I’d definitely recommend a little detour here. The museum was never crowded as well. The staff was actually a little surprised that we had found it – they said they didn’t get as many tourists versus locals. So hopefully we can help spread the word.

I hope you all enjoyed the second part of my Barcelona trip report. The next and final installment will center around one of my absolute favorite aspects of Barcelona – the food! Thank you as always for reading!

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  • irene
    January 14, 2013 at 8:09 am

    I LOVE Barcelona! And the MO is indeed very centrally located. I was tempted to stop by again earlier this month but decided to check out Amsterdam.

    If you like indie/foreign films, Biutiful has a poignant view of Barcelona (similar to Crash and LA).

    • Katherine
      January 14, 2013 at 9:21 am

      I’d love to revisit Amsterdam again – I’m sure it was worth it!

  • Cindy
    January 14, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Barcelona looks absolutely amazing! I’m feeling very jealous of everyone’s adventures haha

  • adele
    January 14, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Great photos! I’ve only ever been to Barcelona on a hen do, so didn’t get to do any sight-seeing…a good enough reason to go back!!
    Happy Monday Hun xoxo

  • Tabitha
    January 14, 2013 at 9:34 am

    I’m mesmerised by the sink, it’s lines are absolutely beuatiful and…the water didn’t run off the sides? I can’t imagine how that worked!

  • Lindsay
    January 14, 2013 at 10:15 am

    That looks like an amazing trip! I’ve been dying to go see the Gaudi spots since high school, when I did a research report. You give the best travel reviews!

    • Katherine
      January 14, 2013 at 10:51 am

      You are much more educated than me, I didn’t have any clue as to who Gaudi was in high school. I hope you can go, I think you would really enjoy it Lindsay!

  • Atiqa
    January 14, 2013 at 10:30 am

    For my next international trip, I am really focused on heading to Spain. These pictures detail the architecture and overall feel of the place quite nicely! That buffet looks incredible too!
    Looking forward to your food post as that is also my fav!

    • Katherine
      January 14, 2013 at 10:50 am

      I loved Spain so much. I am already wishing we could go back soon!

  • Marlene @ chocolatecookiesandcandies
    January 14, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Ahh….this brings back memories. Can’t wait for the food post!

  • Hera
    January 14, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    I have a special piece of memory from Barcelona too, we went to those exact places that you guys went, visitor’s must I guess, and my DH asked me to try this scampi shrimps alive from St Joseph “La Boqueria” market. Nice hotel btw 🙂

  • Irina
    January 14, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    One of my favorite cities! Every streetcross is amazing:) Did you like Barceloneta??

    • Katherine
      January 14, 2013 at 3:05 pm

      Hi Irina we loved it! It was amazing and is one of my favorite cities now too!

  • Annabelle
    January 14, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Gorgeous! And I always feel like it’s hard to go wrong with the Mandarin Oriental in any city; such nice hotels.

  • natasha
    January 14, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    WOW! Great photos!

    xo, tasha
    twenty-something blog

  • Christine Brightside
    January 14, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    Next time you travel to BCN, you should try the W hotel at the beach! Awsome place, incredible… But I’m a sucker for W hotels anyway, no matter where 😉 love your travel posts!

    • Katherine
      January 15, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      I heard great things about the W – also the Arts 🙂 I’d love to stay at either during one of the summer months!

  • Cheryl
    January 15, 2013 at 2:43 am

    I love Barcelona and Gaudi´s works are simply amazing! Next time try visiting Montserrat, a very old monastery by the mountains located outside of Barcelona. It´s beautiful. 🙂

    • Katherine
      January 15, 2013 at 9:48 am

      Oh I would love to go there, I read about it 🙂 I hope we can go back soon.

  • Geraldine Looker
    January 15, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Exhilerating and stunning. Fabulous pictures. I love Barcelona. Makes me want to be whisked away once more to explore what I didnt see the first time around.

  • Chic 'n Cheap Living
    January 16, 2013 at 6:11 am

    Thanks for the hotel review Katherine! It looks pretty awesome and any place that gives macarons on the first day is a winner. That and any place that serves jamon and dim sum. I went to Barcelona when I was 16 (wow a lifetime ago!) and would love to return (jamon and Tickets are a big part of that!)
    I loved Madrid as well for the gardens and museum. You would love the Reina Sofia museum!

    Chic ‘n Cheap Living

    • Katherine
      January 16, 2013 at 9:31 am

      Oh I would love to go to Tickets! It was closed when we were there 🙁 Thank you for the Madrid recommendation, I want to go back and do a more comprehensive tour of Spain one day.

  • MIndy
    January 16, 2013 at 6:57 am

    One day… I will visit Barcelona, but for the time, I am sitting here loving all your pics!!

  • Fleurette
    January 18, 2013 at 2:06 am

    Ahh, I want to stay here at some point. I just went to Barcelona for NYE, it’s mye favorite city and can’t wait to go back again. I visited the Mandarin hotel last summer to check out the restaurant but it was unfortunately closed on a Monday. Breakfast buffet with dim sum?? That’s heaven!

    • Katherine
      January 18, 2013 at 9:14 am

      So nice to hear from you my friend! Yes breakfast with dim sum…in Europe!

  • Jessie
    January 22, 2013 at 7:10 am

    I am a great noob. Staring the upper and lower (sink) pictures and I still can’t relate it. Where is the similarity here?

    • Katherine
      January 22, 2013 at 8:18 am

      Hi Jessie, you aren’t a noob, lol! I think it’s just the simple white structure combined with the shallow basin…at least in my opinion…which is definitely one of a noob!

  • Chrisy
    January 22, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    So excited to have found your blog and posts about Barcelona as my husband and I are headed there in April! Now I must ask, did you do any shopping damage there!? 🙂

    • Katherine
      January 22, 2013 at 7:47 pm

      Hi Chrisy, unfortunately very little so I don’t have too many recommendations! Here is the one store I found on our street that I loved:

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