By Linda Coffman
Bed Down in the Med
Hotel Majestic, Barcelona
Olde World charm is one of
the alluring attractions of a European holiday. However, some cruise travelers
report their dismay at discovering pre- and post-cruise accommodations that are
just "olde" and lack the charm... somewhat akin to Pompeii after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Itís often impossible to
determine whether the multiple stars or diamonds awarded to a hotel in Athens, Greece are an
indication that the same standards prevail as in a similarly rated hostelry in
As a rule, my vacation of
choice floats and I prefer exploring Europe on a cruise liner rather than on a
land-based tour. My husband is just the opposite, happier with the earth beneath
his feet and just as happy to hop from city to city on buses, trains, or
automobiles. Compromising, we take cruises but with a twist. Pre- and
post-cruise hotel stays in embarkation and debarkation ports add to our
relaxation and afford the time to for more than just a glimpse of the airport
and a wild taxi ride to the pier.
Leaving from Miami we can be
assured of comfort in any number of name brand hotels and resorts, but what
about foreign ports? Personal experience has taught us that things are different
across the pond. Europeans regard a bidet as a bathroom necessity but generally
fail to provide guests with washcloths. Go figure. Itís one of lifeís
Overcoming jet lag is no
pleasure in a tiny cavern without air conditioning as we learned in a
ďbusinessĒ class hotel in Brussels. We quickly discovered that our American
sensibilities are best satisfied by taking the recommendations of cruise lines
and staying at the hotels they use, either booked as a package or independently.
One of our all time favorite
pre-cruise stops is Barcelona, Spain. A busy cruise port, Barcelona is a stylish
and cosmopolitan city and the beautifully renovated Hotel
Majestic reflects the cityís chic ambiance. The cool modern lobby with
crystal chandelier, marble floors and columns, and intriguing contemporary art
collection is as welcoming as the front desk staff. After a long plane ride,
check in approaches a cure for jet lag.
Above ground level, executive
rooms and junior suites are similarly decorated but an upgrade to the suite
rewards you a whirlpool tub and separate shower. A hair dryer and toiletries are
pretty standard fare but washcloths were a pleasant and unexpected surprise. Oddly, they werenít replenished once we used them. Terry
cloth robes, ample closet and storage space, a personal mini-safe, honor bar,
and balconies overlooking the heart of Barcelona add to creature comforts. All
accommodations include laptop computer and Internet connectivity and cable
television. Junior suites have a personal stereo as well.
The Majesticís early
morning breakfast buffet offers a hearty way to start the day and a few laps in
the rooftop pool after a day of strolling Las Ramblas and shopping on Passeig de
Gracia is a pleasant way to enjoy a stunning view of the city. Soothe sore
muscles in the complimentary steam bath or sauna located in the adjacent rooftop
Warm wood paneling and soft
music make the Bar at the Majestic an inviting spot for late night libations
after dinner in the elegant Restaurant Drolma. If dressing for the evening
isnít in your travel plan, order up a sumptuous feast from room service.
As in most European hotels, ice isnít readily available but room
service will cheerfully deliver it upon request.
tradition since 1918, the Hotel Majestic offers hospitality in a historic
setting with all the modern conveniences demanded by todayís savvy travelers.
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