Sharp - - GUIDE -

ARCELONA ISN’T TRY­ING TO be new. The Cata­lan city is deeply, un­flinch­ingly rooted in its own his­tory — it seems to con­vulse out­wards from its Gothic cen­tre, claus­tro­pho­bic wind­ing al­leys slowly giv­ing way to Belle Époque grand av­enues. The city does not do trends. It does ev­ery­thing its own way. Even its at­tempts to in­no­vate over the years have been typ­i­cally weird and off-the-rails: the city’s most fa­mous ar­chi­tect, An­toni Gaudi, was a mas­ter­mind of sur­re­al­ist non­sen­si­cal­ity — and Barcelona has stayed in that gen­eral mind­set for most of the past cen­tury. The city os­cil­lates be­tween high cul­ture and rau­cous par­ty­ing, united by a uni­ver­sal ad­mi­ra­tion for food and drink — tapas are cheap and ev­ery­where, up­scale and down, as are beer and ver­mouth. It’s a city of ar­chi­tects and artists, beach bums and drinkers. Even if you think you know Barcelona, there’s al­ways a new cor­ner to turn down, a new bar to stop at, a new party to find. Or rather, not new — just un­like any­thing you thought you’d seen be­fore.

Bout of the place, the ho­tel is within walk­ing dis­tance to just about ev­ery­thing. In Barcelona, there are two modes of eat­ing: tapas and the Adrià brothers (that’s Miche­lin-starred chefs Al­bert and Fer­ran, who run the

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