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  • Live Like a Local: Things to See and Do in Tres Torres, Barcelona 

    Photo credit: CPGXK When you fancy getting off Barcelona’s beaten track, head on over to Les Tres ...

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  • Privilege and Prestige in Barcelona’s Primero Primera Hotel

    When it comes to a holiday destination such as Barcelona, it may seem tricky to come up with a new w...

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  • Inside the Luxurious Treehouse Suites at Chewton Glen

    By Katie Lee, Chic Collection Head of Travel: After years of working in the travel industry I had h...

    Read More
  • Belgraves London: Blending British Traditions and Experimental Art

    It’s that wonderful time of year again when London is illuminated by glittering Christmas lights a...

    Read More
Live Like a Local: Things to See and Do in Tres Torres, Barcelona 
Photo credit: CPGXK When you fancy getting off Bar...


Photo credit: CPGXK

When you fancy getting off Barcelona’s beaten track, head on over to Les Tres Torres – a serene neighbourhood in the heart of the Sarria district. By venturing out just that little bit further away from the city’s central artery, you will reap some fine rewards. This is a place where you will find elegant, traditional townhouses situated beside green parks and stylish plazas where locals go about their daily lives untouched by the influence of tourism.

Las Tres Torres is part of the wider neighbourhood of Sarria, which used to be its own municipality but is now part of the city of Barcelona. It still holds the feeling of a small village and a strong sense of individuality, as well as a glimpse into old Barcelona.

Take a stroll


Photo credits: CC | Santi

This is primarily a residential neighbourhood making it a peaceful space that is most likely a world away from the typical image of Barcelona as a buzzing metropolis. Yet the area is a great place to soak up authentic local culture, in particular the space around Mandri Street. Just take a stroll at any time of the day or night along this stylish, laidback boulevard lined with artisan and organic food and clothes shops alongside trendy restaurants and bars.

A stroll around the Sarria neighbourhood also affords the opportunity to enjoy some of Barcelona’s most traditional architecture, with quaint, narrow streets lined with centuries-old houses and shops. The former town hall is well worth a visit; make sure to stop and appreciate the sculpture at the front of the building.

Go shopping


Photo credits: Mercat Tres Torres | L'illa Diagonal

The food market is one of the original features of which locals are most proud and a destination that has served the local community for more than 100 years. Barcelona is a haven for foodies at the best of times and Sarrià Market offers a great way to experience the sights, smells and taste of a variety of traditional foodstuffs whilst rubbing shoulders with local families who have shopped at the market for generations. Many stallholders will even create dishes on-site and offer tasters – a memorable way to enjoy your visit!

The market building itself dates back to 1910 and still retains decorative period features, including a series of pillars that sit alongside huge windows and add to the ambience. Although it is much smaller, the Mercado de les Tres Torres has been in operation since the 1950s and is a lovely place to buy some fresh food. For a more modern shopping experience, head over to the L’Illa shopping centre on Avenida Diagonal. This really retains the colourful and wacky Barcelona personality thanks to its unusual architectural style – it’s built as a skyscraper but a horizontal one!

Relax in the park


Photo credits: Oh Barcelona | CPGXK | Parc Natural de la Serra de Collserola

One of the most enjoyable aspects of a stay in the Tres Torres neighbourhood is the fresh air and abundance of green space. The Turo Park is a pleasant stroll from the hotel and comprises a small and extremely charming enclosed space flanked by colourful flowers and towering trees as well as a landscape pond and intricate sculptures.

For a lovely place to while away an afternoon, the Parc de l'Oreneta is a beautiful urban woodland featuring traditional Mediterranean flora and fauna and listed species, as well as a miniature steam train and pony rides for the little ones. The higher parts of the park also welcome panoramic views over the city. Slightly further afield, you will find the gateway to Collserola Park from which you can explore the Natural Park on a relaxing cycle ride and appreciate even more dazzling city views.

Discover Gaudi’s lesser-known sights


Photo Credits: Teresa Grau RosVictor GomezOriol Gascón i Cabestany

One of the best attractions in the area is the Casa Bellesguard. Translating as ‘house of beautiful views’, this medieval-style, neo-Gothic structure was built by Gaudi in the early 1900s. It stands below Collserola and beside a viaduct on the site of an ancient castle that once housed members of the Catalan royal family. Its design was influenced by the traditional castle style and features towers, turrets, wrought iron elements and intricate mosaics, as well as Gaudi’s distinctive four-armed cross.

Another wonderful local attraction that was built by Gaudi is the Teresian College, a neo-Gothic style structure that the famous architect designed in line with the religious function of the college as a convent, school and boarding school. Built in the late 1880s, it features traditional symbols of the Teresian order as well as details that have come to be associated with Gaudi, such as parabolic arches. It reflects his modernist style and complements the artisan nature of the Sarria neighbourhood, which was introduced during the 19th century when the Catalan elite flocked to Sarria.

Where to eat


Photo credits: Dry Martini | Once Upon a TimeDry Martini

Reflecting its upper-class community, the restaurants around Tres Torres and Sarria offer world-class, entirely elegant cuisine. Tapas bar Montesquiu on Mandri Street offer delectable dishes which you can enjoy on the outdoor terrace whilst embracing the buzz of the area’s most happening street. For something a bit different, head further down Mondri Street to Once Upon A Time. This restaurant boasts shabby chic décor and an all-day menu offering local cuisine with French, European and Oriental twists. There are also many Italian restaurants in the area. Nonna Maria offers great traditional Italian fare while Restaurant Le Quattro Stagioni changes its menu throughout the year in order to offer the freshest seasonal cuisine.

Where to stay


Indulge your inner princess with a stay at the Primero Primera, a luxurious hideaway tucked away in the Tres Torres neighbourhood. Boasting privacy and relaxation in spades along with some of the largest rooms and suites in the city, this is a wonderful place to rest your head.

Privilege and Prestige in Barcelona’s Primero Primera Hotel
When it comes to a holiday destination such as Bar...


When it comes to a holiday destination such as Barcelona, it may seem tricky to come up with a new way to experience a city that has been so well trodden. Yet beyond the bustling Ramblas with its many hawkers and the famous beaches of Barceloneta, Barcelona offers a host of undiscovered treasures and it is these lesser-known sights that the movers and shakers in the travel industry are bringing to the surface. Amidst this ever-evolving city landscape lies Primero Primera, a boutique hotel that rests contentedly in the less-explored Tres Torres neighbourhood.


'The hotel was built five years ago and it pioneered a new concept in Barcelona at the time,' explains manager Alicia Cardomo. 'It was also a challenge in this area, where there are not many hotels of such high-star calibre. It offered a really different experience to anything I have seen before.'

It is this forward-thinking attitude that tempted Cardomo towards working at the hotel and Primero Primera is a destination that knows how to make the most of its surroundings. The Tres Torres neighbourhood is not one that many people will even have heard of but it offers a host of fascinating sights that are all beautifully concealed behind its wealthy, residential façade. 'There are many things to do but it is all very subtle,' explains Alicia. This all helps to retain the sense of the authentic and offer visitors the opportunity to experience Barcelona as a local, an experience over which previous guests to the Primero Primera have waxed lyrical.


Photo credits: Börkur Sigurbjörnsson | Daniel García Peris | Santi | Santi

Indeed, the beauty of the area is that it remains untouched by Barcelona’s tourist scene but still offers plentiful opportunity to enjoy the city’s true personality. Within easy walking distance of the hotel, you will find Mandri Street with its many restaurants, organic food stores, artisan bakeries and clothes shops. The hotel is also located beside Sarria - a part of the city that used to be a separate town but is now considered part of Barcelona.

'Sarria still retains the sense of the small village,' explains Alicia. 'It’s like old Barcelona, with a church that is really worth seeing, small shops and the Terrasian School which was built by Gaudi but is not very well known. There is also the Bellesguard Tower up the hill, another Gaudi structure. This is where they hold concerts in the summer and it’s wonderful to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy an experience just like the natives.'

The hotel’s roots are firmly established in Barcelona’s heart and spirit. Its name translates to 'first floor, first door' and it is behind this door that the matriarch and grandmother of the hotel’s founding family, the Perez-Salas, still lives today.

'Many generations of the family have lived here,' explains Alicia. 'There was a mother and father and eight children. They had a great influence on creating the establishment that is Primero Primera. They wanted to build the type of hotel they like to go to when they travel. One of the daughters did almost all of the decoration of the hotel which accounts for the very personal touch, another was involved in the construction and the refurbishment.'

hotel-primero-primera-barcelona-designThe Perez-Salas family is well know and highly influential across Barcelona; one of the sons, Luis, was a Formula One driver back in the 1980s and is a cult figure in the community. This just adds to the authentic experience, where every aspect of the hotel offers another way to soak up authentic Barcelona, to discover and celebrate everything that is beautiful about the city in a unique way.

The hotel also exudes a substantial dose of natural charm, thanks to the 1950s-era building within which it resides. Originally used as an apartment block, the building boasts acres of space. 'This is an unusual feature compared to many other luxury hotels in the centre of the city.' Each of the 30 rooms and suites is flooded with natural light thanks to the huge windows, and this abundance of space and light offers a soothing, serene ambience.

Every part of a stay here is an experience and this is exactly how Primero Primera was designed. 'Guests always talk about the atmosphere, the relaxing quietness, and how the service is so personalised as we are not a large property,' Alicia explains. 'Everyone feels very comfortable.'

To complement the experience, the hotel recruits staff with a great sensibility of their surroundings and Barcelona itself, as well as those who really embody the values of the hotel to offer guests an unforgettable experience. 'Just today, a guest entered our hotel and said that it felt like a spa,' explains Alicia. This is thanks to the comfort and sense of calm within the hotel that sits in stark contrast to the vibrant atmosphere and buzzing urban streets outside its doors.


Everything is designed to offer guests a sense of freedom, allowing them to move around the hotel. 'We want guests to feel as comfortable as if they were at home, staying in a relaxed place with good service but where they are not being bothered all the time,' explains Alicia.

Every guest is given their own key to the fitness room. There is also 24-hour self-service snacks and drinks and an honesty bar. A cosy library offers a collection of books on Barcelona as well as fiction novels, which guests can enjoy in the comfort of their room or by the roaring fireplace in the lounge. There’s even an outdoor pool, should you wish to soak up the atmosphere of the city in truly decadent style. And, after all, that’s what the Primero Primera is all about.

Inside the Luxurious Treehouse Suites at Chewton Glen
By Katie Lee, Chic Collection Head of Travel: Aft...


By Katie Lee, Chic Collection Head of Travel: After years of working in the travel industry I had heard a lot of great things about Chewton Glen, so I felt I should discover the hotel for myself and see what the buzz was about. I decided on a weekend in September and my friend and I made our way down to New Forest where Chewton Glen is located.


On arrival at the hotel we couldn’t believe how beautiful the surrounding area was and how pristine the gardens were! Before we had even walked through the door we were greeted by smiling, friendly staff that simply couldn’t do enough for us. We sat down in the lobby area waiting for a space to become available at reception. Our room was not quite ready yet so as it was a beautifully sunny day we made our way to the bar and sat outside in the sun. The food was delicious, as was the glass of wine, but it did help that it was a fantastic warm and sunny day!

We were booked into one of the hotel's classic rooms and were delighted when we had found we were upgraded to one of their treehouses! Well, I have to say, I have never stayed anywhere quite like it - stunningly chic is how I would describe the treehouse. It comprised of two bedrooms, the main of which looked out into the forest, a lounge, kitchen area and a fantastic bathroom. We opened the doors onto the balcony to discover two sunloungers and a Jacuzzi along with fabulous views of the New Forest.


That afternoon we went to the spa - Chewton Glen’s spa was voted in the top 10 of UK hotel spas by Condé Nast Traveller and it's clear to see why. As soon as you arrive you immediately feel relaxed with the scented candles burning. Just across from the spa is a beautiful herb garden, which I would highly recommend taking a wander around.

Having worked up an appetite in the spa, that evening we went to The Dining Room restaurant located in the main hotel. The food was fantastic and with over 40 wines to choose from, what more could you want?! A sommelier was also on hand to recommend which wine should be paired with the meal we had chosen.


In the morning, rather than going to the main restaurant for breakfast, the food is delivered through a hatch in the treehouse and it is waiting for you when you wake up. Well, I have never seen so much food for two people! Deliciously fresh croissants, fruit juice and yogurt amongst many other appetising treats!

After breakfast I had the pleasure of having a tour of the bedrooms in the main house. Every room was beautifully decorated and cosy and I can say that whichever room you book at Chewton Glen, you most certainly will not be disappointed!

Belgraves London: Blending British Traditions and Experimental Art
It’s that wonderful time of year again when Lond...


It’s that wonderful time of year again when London is illuminated by glittering Christmas lights and colourful window displays. I love Christmastime, as it always feels as if everything is wrapped up in festive magic and every light seems to shine that much brighter. It is with this Christmas spirit that I headed with my partner down to the Belgraves Hotel in London’s South Kensington, to enjoy a night in the five-star hotel that all the cool kids are talking about.

Boutique innovation

Let’s take a step back for a moment before we enter the world of Belgraves. This offering is part of the highly acclaimed Thompson Hotels brand that has already made its mark on a number of fashionable destinations – Miami, New York, Toronto, Los Cabos. Their ethos is impeccably conveyed – Thompson Hotels are at once stylish and fashionable, unconventional and unpredictable. This is a brand that is not afraid to experiment with all aspects of luxury accommodation whilst maintaining top-class customer service. Thompson Hotels are both a glorious place to holiday and a cosy, welcoming second home for locals.


Photo credits: Belgraves London

Belgraves is a location that prides itself on maintaining an awareness of what their guests really care about. Along these lines, The hotel has partnered with twin sisters Stefania Pramma, an exceptional accessories designer, and Valeria Napoleone, a prestigious art collector, to offer guests a wonderful experience in the hotel from the very first moment with a glorious Christmas display adjacent to the grand front entrance.

Designed in traditional crisp white and rich red Christmas colours, the installation takes in two silhouette-style white figurines – elegant gingerbread style figures holding hands with the phrase ‘Love Helps’ written across them. It is entirely distinctive and totally eye-catching, reflecting warm, loving Christmas feelings in a classic yet quirky way – the Belgraves way. As female figures, they can represent a mother and daughter, two sisters or two friends. It’s all designed to convey ideas of 'love and togetherness' in the true Christmas spirit while challenging conceptual artistic notions and inspiring discussion. It’s innovative, it’s festive and this sparkling display embodies the philosophy of Belgraves – as a hotel that pushes boundaries without overstepping them.

Slick and stylish


Photo credits: Belgraves London

Inside, Belgraves just continues to impress. You don’t even need to be an art lover to appreciate the hotel’s wonderful collection, which will catch the eye from the moment you enter. The hotel is just a stone’s throw from some of the city’s best art galleries, such as the Royal Academy of Art, and a stay here celebrates London’s position as one of the world’s most impressive art centres. Huge imposing double doors open into the entrance hall – a grand chandelier hangs above your head while an elegant staircase immediately to the right ascends to the bar area, which doubles up as a live art gallery. In keeping with the hotel’s extremely trendy image, the artwork is rotated throughout the year and takes in some striking pop and modern art pieces by acclaimed creators such as Damien Hirst.

Our guest room – a King Deluxe – provided a comforting cocoon away from the bustle of the city, truly encapsulating the meaning of the word ‘retreat’. Minimal, slick furnishings and soft, smooth woods offered a Swiss-inspired, slick edge while large comfy rugs and unique art prints gave the room some serious style points. A huge landscape mirror hung over the king size bed - a haven of soft, plush pillows and luxurious bedding. I could have happily slept in that bed for days.

Smokers welcome


Photo credits: Belgraves London

Belgraves is unafraid to give its guests exactly what they want, even if wider society is making it more difficult. The hotel’s chic, cosy smoking terrace is one of its hidden gems – accessible by a small staircase behind the first-floor bar, it features a warm atmosphere, hushed tones and a gorgeous, fairytale-land style décor. Ivy leaves snake up the walls flanked by lanterns, bathing the terrace in a soft glow. The huge corner sofa was extremely inviting and even the cigar smoke enhances the classy, seductive tones of the space. We saw more than a few guests indulging in a cigar from the hotel’s premium selection, which includes vintage Havanas.

Downstairs, in the main bar, the décor was confident and oozed class, befitting the stylish clientele who frequent the destination. Snug two-person booths offered a lovely place for a date night and a bit of romance, while vintage and modern one-, two- and three-seater furnishings comfortably sat side by side, complemented by luxurious fabric rugs and striking accents. Bookshelves lined the walls complete with thick tomes, all lit by mood lighting and the flicker of tea light candles.

Manhattan cool


Photo credits: Belgraves London/shinythoughts

The cocktails were to die for and truly befitted the hotel’s New York City-style image with a cocktail list that I could not have worked my way through during a fortnight-long stay. The entire area exudes a laidback Manhattan cool that is entirely intoxicating. The Lychee and Rose Martini was deliciously fragrant and light, although this only went some way to masking its lethal alcohol content. Soldiering on (all in the name of research), I followed it up with a Pink Fizz – a stylishly presented long drink consisting of gin, rose NV, sour-flavoured fruit juices and lime. There were lovely flourishes throughout – our meal was preceded by the presentation of a black slate tray with three glass jars containing olives, mixed nuts and popcorn – all very on-trend.

We enjoyed classic diner-style bar food with delicate touches - our sea bass ceviche starter came served in cubes on a bed of ice in a tall, thick glass. Red cabbage coleslaw accompanied the chicken burger, which was wrapped in a homemade brioche bun. My partner opted for the Bespoke Belgraves Burger – a stylish concoction of aged Beef Pattie with truffle mayonnaise and Ogleshield cheese. The food was hearty and full of flavour – we left feeling totally satiated.

The breakfast club

Thompson Hotels also pride themselves on truly embodying the essence of their location – 'a product of their environment.' As such, Belgraves provides flawless British hospitality and the service was impeccable throughout our stay. Having recently returned to my native city of London after a few years living in Barcelona’s sunnier climes, I have naturally found myself craving true British classics, and the Belgraves breakfast menu was happy to oblige. The restaurant, Pont St, is decorated in American diner-style. It’s both casual and refined, clad in blue, beige and brown tones with trendy features such as exposed brickwork.

My partner ordered the Full English, which arrived complete with perfectly fried eggs and bacon, free range pork sausages and juicy roasted plum tomatoes. Delicately flavoured field mushrooms and black pudding also featured, along with baked beans (Heinz, of course). The latter even had their own mini serving plate. I chose another British classic with a trendy twist - Clarence Court boiled eggs with sourdough soldiers. We also indulged in a tropical fruit platter, where fresh strawberries, kiwis, blueberries and blackberries were just some of the refreshing, palate cleansing treats on offer.

It’s a dog’s life

After a hearty meal, we spent some time browsing the incredible collection of coffee table books on display in the lobby. Vibrant tones and stylish pop art intermixed with long, low and luxurious seating – the ideal spot for a long read with a glass of wine and a subtle peek at the hotel’s stylish guests.


Photo credits: Belgraves London/Mark Bowler/Mawoo86

Further afield, it’s hardly a difficult task to entertain yourself. As a dog(s) owner, I often struggle to find luxury accommodation in enviable locations that are willing to accept my pets. I was delighted to discover that Belgraves is pet-friendly, and also just a short walk from Hyde Park where the pooches can stretch their legs and breathe in the smells of the capital. The hotel’s creature comforts would be very much appreciated by both humans and animals!

With Buckingham Palace, the Royal Albert Hall, the Science and Natural History Museums and the shops along Knightsbridge all within easy reach, London’s must-do list is easily ticked off via a leisurely walk or a short hop on public transport. The local Knightsbridge area has a wonderful mix of glamorous, designer shops and quaint, vintage-style shops, cafes and restaurants.

Belgraves London is the absolute epitome of the boutique destination hotel and a wonderful place from which to experience the city of London in all its glory.

Wandrlist insiders sharing their travel savvy!

Live Like a Local: Things to See and Do in Tres Torres, Barcelona 
Read More
Privilege and Prestige in Barcelona’s Primero Primera Hotel
Read More
Inside the Luxurious Treehouse...
Read More
Belgraves London: Blending British...
Read More