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Copyright © 1995-2003 
Linda Coffman

Bed Down in the Med
Hotel Majestic, Barcelona

By Linda Coffman

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. It’s 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 Athens, Georgia.

Hotel Majestic, Barcelona

Hotel Majestic, Barcelona
Junior Suite

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. It’s one of life’s cultural mysteries.

Overcoming jet lag is no pleasure in a tiny cavern without air conditioning as we learned in a “business” 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 city’s 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 weren’t 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 Majestic’s 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 health club. 

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 isn’t in your travel plan, order up a sumptuous feast from room service.  As in most European hotels, ice isn’t readily available but room service will cheerfully deliver it upon request.

A tradition since 1918, the Hotel Majestic offers hospitality in a historic setting with all the modern conveniences demanded by today’s savvy travelers. 

Explore Barcelona & other Mediterranean Ports of Call with

Put on the "Ritz" in Lisbon

A favorite guidebook:

Dk Eyewitness Travel Cruise Guide to 
Europe & the Mediterranean

The most useful guidebook I've found for European ports of call