Barcelona & La Rioja

Old Nov 12th, 2010, 04:16 PM
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Barcelona & La Rioja

My boyfriend and I are working to plan a last minute trip to Barcelona and La Rioja over the holidays.

We are planning to rent a car and drive from Barcelona. How is driving in December? Is there snow? Last year we went to Tokaj in hungary over the holidays and while it was very cold and we would wake up to a dusting of snow we didn't really have to drive in snow.

I am mostly concerned with La Rioja, I would love to spend about 5 nights in the wine region and am willing to move around hotels to get different and unique experiences. I would love to stay in at least one Parador- what is the best Parador? I am looking for something very old and historic, hopefully a castle. What are other great places to stay in La Rioja. This will be my boyfriends first time in Spain so I want to make sure we can take advantage of some of the amazing accommodations.

Also- any help or secrets on hotels in Barcelona. We do not want to stay somewhere very expensive, and like boutique hotels and central locations so we can walk.

Thanks in advance for the help!!
sarabara79 is offline  
Old Nov 12th, 2010, 05:04 PM
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In Barcelona, have a look at Granados 83. It's in the Eixample, very central. I just found a rate of 105 euros per night in March. It's a fabulous hotel at that rate.
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Old Nov 12th, 2010, 05:51 PM
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Have you considered flying from Barcelona to Bilbao and then driving to La Rioja? If you can get a cheap flight it may not only save time but avoid some bad weather.

I wouldn't recommend the Paradors in La Rioja but there are some incredible other places to stay. If you plan to visit the bodegas you'll need to reserve in advance for most of them.

If you haven't seen Maribel's guides they have almost everything you need to know about these areas!

maribelsguides.com
CathyM is offline  
Old Nov 14th, 2010, 11:05 AM
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In Barcelona you should have a look at Banys Orientals. Have been on the Conde Nast list of the 10 most recommended hotels in the Mediterranean and the 50 most recommended in the world. 100€/night for a double. Ideal location in El Born with fabulous bars, restaurants and close to "everything" (Picasso museum, historical museum, Cathedral, the beautiful Santa María del Mar church, the famous Boquería food market, the Ciutadella park etc). 10 mins walk to both Plaza Catalunya and the Barceloneta beach.
http://www.hotelbanysorientals.com/
http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.c...s/el-born.html

In La Rioja, you might consider Parador Hotel Santo Domingo de la Calzada, not far from the Marqués de Riscal vineyards and winery. http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/sant...alzada.en.html

Marqués de Riscal: http://www.marquesderiscal.com/index.php?setIdioma=2

You should also consider the spectacular Frank Gehry designed Hotel Marqués de Riscal in Elciego. Not a historic building yet, but...
http://www.starwoodhotels.com/luxury...ropertyID=1539

Have a look also at close by Parador de Olite, in a 15th century castle. http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/para...b672ee55b3033c

About Olite: http://www.turismo.navarra.es/eng/or...so.aspx?o=2466

and the documentary about the fabulous flamenco dancer Sara Baras "Siempre Sara" is just around the corner
http://flamenko.es/es/actualidad/not...ara-baras.html
kimhe is offline  
Old Nov 14th, 2010, 11:25 AM
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I agree that Banys Oriental is in a wonderful place in the El born area of BCN. I haven't stayed there but it looks nice. And rates are definitely good. We stayed at Marques de Vellejo in Logrono this year. We found the town and the hotel excellent. Town is small enough to be easy to maneuver in but large enough to have plenty of things on offer, especially the Calle Laurel tapas area which is just down the street from the hotel.

The Rioja district in total is fantastic. See my trip report at http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...hern-spain.cfm which starts with our first time in Rioja.
JulieVikmanis is offline  
Old Nov 14th, 2010, 07:18 PM
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Barcelona Hotel=Condes de Barcelona
Great tapas rest=Cerveceria Catalana
also Costa Gallega
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Old Nov 14th, 2010, 10:50 PM
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I hate to put a damper on things, but it will be very quiet in the Rioja during the Christmas holiday season unless you plan on spending time with friends and family.
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Old Nov 16th, 2010, 12:22 PM
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You can click on my name if you want to read my trip report. We were in Barcelona in October & I give names of restaurants. I agree with sobster about Cerveceria Catalana. It was one of our favorite restaurants & we ate there twice. You will have to wait, most likely, but the wait is well worth it.
Kwoo is offline  
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