Introduction: Spain 2018- A Taste of Spain

Iberia Business Class Chicago (ORD) to Madrid (MAD) A340-600
Westin Palace Madrid
Around Madrid
Dining in Madrid
Hotel Arts Barcelona (A Ritz-Carlton hotel)
Enoteca Paco Perez (Two- Michelin Star Restaurant)
Around Barcelona
Park Hyatt Mallorca
Around Mallorca
Rafa Nadal Academy and museum
Dining in Mallorca
Iberia Business Class Lounge Madrid (International terminal satellite lounge)
Iberia Business Class Madrid (MAD) to Chicago (ORD) A340-600



As has been our summer tradition it seems, my wife, youngest son and I were off to Europe for vacation.  This year Spain was the selection.  We always try to choose a new country every year, 2013 was Ireland, 2014 was Paris, 2015 our baby was born this summer so we skipped, 2016 was London, 2017 was Italy.

We were excited for the adventure!  We planned for 11 nights and wanted to have a mixture of city and beach time for this vacation and Spain is perfect for that itinerary. We booked three business class flights from Chicago about 11 months prior to our trip on Iberia.

Iberia Business Class cabin

Smiles all around on Iberia Business Class

First stop on our trip was three nights in Madrid.  During our stay there we had lots of fun exploring the city and trying lots of food. We both had low expectations of Madrid but ended up being pleasantly surprised. We selected Westin Palace Madrid as our accommodation fo choice during our time in Madrid.  We could have used some Starwood points however we decided to pay for our three nights as we used our points for an upcoming future stay instead.

Westin Palace Madrid

Our room at the Westin Palace Madrid

Puerta de Alcala landmark

My son and I at Estanque Grande del Retiro

After our time in Madrid it was time to take the train to Barcelona for three more nights there. We bought two “Turista Plus” tickets for my wife and I for about $100 each and our son was free if he sat on our laps. It was a comfortable 3 hour train ride with stops in Zaragoza and Llieda before finally reaching Barcelona. The train got up to 300/KPH (or 186 MPH)!

My wife and son ready for the high speed train to Barcelona

Our three nights in Barcelona were spent at Hotel Arts Barcelona which was perfectly located right on the beach.  I will have a full review of this 5 star property and if we used points or cash (or both) later in this trip report.

Hotel Arts Barcelona

My son and I enjoying an early morning dip at the Hotel Arts Barcelona

We did a really cool personal private tour of the Sagrada Familia church and Park Guell both of which are Antoni Gaudi designed.  What an amazing church the inside was just as spectacular as the exterior and the exterior is still under construction but a masterpiece.

Amazingly beautiful Sagrada Familia church

Our son in Guell Park

We also happen to be in Barcelona on June 24th which is Saint John the Baptist Day in Barcelona which is a national holiday and there were fireworks all day long (and all night long too).

After three really nice days seeing Barcelona it was time to hop on our quick Vueling flight to the island of Mallorca! Our flights were about $40 per person for economy and we were running really late and barely made our flight. Our bag was also overweight but thankfully the checkin agent knew we were cutting it close and did not charge us.

Boarding our Vueling flight to Mallorca

We loved Mallorca and were happy to have five nights at the Park Hyatt Mallorca! We booked cash and points here thought it was a good value.

Park Hyatt Mallorca

Park Hyatt Mallorca pool

We spent tons of time at various different beaches that were amazing! I will detail some of the best ones later in the trip report.

Costa del Pins beach

I got a chance to hit some balls at the Rafa Nadal Academy with an instructor which was awesome and got to see all his trophies! I will have a separate post on how this was all booked and my overall impressions of the Academy.

Playing tennis at Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar

Trophies on display at Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar

After 11 nights it was time to say goodbye to Spain unfortunately.  We took an early morning 6:30am flight from Palma to Madrid (sucked having to get up at 3:30am) on Iberia Express.  Then we took our final flight on Iberia in business class back to Chicago.

Boarding our Iberia A346 in Madrid

Settled in on Iberia Business Class from Madrid to Chicago

We had a great time in Spain!  The only downside is our son had his worse behavior of any of our past trips.  He is nearing 3 years old and had some bad days/temper tantrums.  I think he was just jet lagged and off his normal schedule.  Overall we had a great time and had a great taste of Spain.  I know there are other areas like the Andalusia area that are definitely worth visiting so next time we will try to check that area out!

Stay tuned for further installments of our trip to Spain. Thanks for reading!



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