Around Barcelona

Introduction
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


Around Barcelona

We booked a guided tour of some of Antonio Gaudi’s masterpieces. Our hotel set up the tour guide for us and we ended up meeting her in our hotel lobby.

We did need to pay for our own cabs while going from destination to destination.  Our first stop was of course the Sagrada Familia. The exterior has been under construction for many, many years and there are lots of cranes on the structure working to help complete it.

 

When you get near the structure you see why its taking so long. Its very ornate and detailed and Gaudi designed the building with many curves and circles instead of straight lines.  Continue reading

Review: Enoteca Paco Perez

Introduction
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 Mallorc
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


 

Enoteca Paco Perez

Enoteca Paco Perez
Enoteca Paco Perez entrance

On our last evening in Barcelona we dined at Enoteca Paco Perez, the two Michelin starred restaurant residing in the Hotel Arts Barcelona. We booked our reservation online a few weeks ahead of time. A credit card is required to secure a reservation.  We booked the earliest available time since we were dining with our two year old son.


Enoteca Paco Perez

Upon arrival we entered to an empty restaurant and were greeted warmly and we were offered to choose a table of our choice.  However due to our party being larger than two we were not allowed to select a table outside on the patio.  We then selected a nice semi private corner table


Enoteca Paco Perez seating Continue reading

Review: Hotel Arts Barcelona

Introduction
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


 

Hotel Arts Barcelona

Hotel Arts Barcelona

My family and I stayed three nights at the Hotel Arts Barcelona during our stay in Barcelona.  The hotel offers elegant luxury right near the beach. We booked a lead-in room through our Virtuoso advisor.


Hotel Arts Barcelona lobby

Upon arriving to the lobby we were welcomed by a greeter right in front of the elevators who escorted us to the reception desk and handed us off to another handler who welcomed us and offered us some welcome champagne which we gladly accepted.


Hotel Arts Barcelona reception desk

The hotel was just about full and I asked for any upgrade potential.  She said can’t upgrade us tonight but could for the last two nights which we accepted.  I assumed this was to some sort of suite but it was just to a “better view” room which we honestly didn’t care about and could have just stayed in our original room all three nights. Continue reading

Dining in Madrid

Introduction
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


 

Dining in Madrid

Botin

Dinner at Botin aka the oldest restaurant in the world.  Botin was established in 1725 and the Guiness Book of World Records officially recognizes it as the oldest running restaurant in the world. So for the novelty factor we had to try it one evening for dinner.

Earlier in the day on our walking tour of Madrid we got to go inside earlier in the day before they opened up. Ernest Hemingway had a favorite table in the back, upstairs corner of Botin.

We had our concierge at the Westin Palace call about 2-3 hours before and we were able to score a table for the early seating. They have two seatings:  7:30pm and 9:30pm if I recall correctly. Continue reading

Around Madrid

Introduction
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


 

Around Madrid

During our time in Madrid we did quite a bit of exploring.  We did a “free” tour through Leaf Madrid one day which gave us a great lay of the land. The tour was about 2.5 hours around Madrid. Our guide was very nice and informative. Telling us about the different areas of Madrid and the stories behind them. At the end of the tour you decide how much you want to pay- we decided 30€ was fair.

Another great way to take in the city was through the double-decker bus tours.  We do this in many cities as its relaxing and it shows you some of the cities highlights. It was roughly 50€ to have a bus pass for about 1.5 days in our case.

I also woke up early and it was amazing to walk through the city before it got hot and busy. It was very comfortable to take a 6:30am walk and see the city “wake up”. Continue reading

Review: Westin Palace Madrid

Introduction
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


 

Westin Palace Madrid

Westin Palace Madrid
Westin Palace Madrid exterior

The Westin Palace Madrid was our accommodation of choice for our three nights in Madrid. We were greeted by a bellman and doorman upon arrival in our Blacklane Mercedes-Benz van. The ride from the Madrid airport is only about eight miles or about 20 minutes depending on traffic.  Our bags were gathered and we were welcomed in to the reception desk.


The Westin Palace Madrid entrance

Upon first appearances the hotel felt elegant, grand, and a bit antique (in a good way). The hotel is over 100 years old and has 470 rooms and 51 suites. Continue reading

Review: Iberia Business Class Chicago (ORD) to Madrid (MAD) A340-600

Introduction
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


 

Iberia Business Class Chicago (ORD) to Madrid (MAD) A340-600


Our Iberia plane parked at the gate

We arrived to Chicago O’hare airport much later than anticipated due to our bus running late.  By the time we arrived at the checkin counter there was absolutely nobody in line at all!  That was amazing. We walked right up and were checked in. I asked is everybody else already checked in, where is everyone?  She said yup most everyone is checked in. So we were one of the last people checked in for this flight.

We were allowed access to an American Airlines lounge but honestly I am not sure which one and frankly we didn’t have time to access it as we needed to head right to our gate.
Once at our gate the first groups were all lined up and ready to board. I wanted to be one of the first to board but there were already 10+ business class passengers lined up ahead of me however I saw the line for family with small children and hopped in there, so we were the first business class passengers to board. We were boarding Iberia’s June 17th flight IB6274 departing at 4:25pm.


Iberia A340-600 business class

I had been having some slight anxiety to board this flight for the first time in a while due to Continue reading

Introduction: Spain 2018- A Taste of Spain

Introduction
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


 

Introduction

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. Continue reading

Review: Andaz Mayakoba

Introduction: New Years Trip to Riviera Maya
Review:  Andaz Mayakoba


 

Andaz Mayakoba

My family had a lovely seven night stay at the Andaz Mayakoba over New Year’s Eve 2018!  Our driver dropped us off after a 40 minute drive from Cancun’s airport. We were greeted at the entrance by two Andaz representatives. One assigned to grab our bags and one to welcome us inside.

The entrance inside the main lobby of the Andaz Mayakoba is named The Sanctuary.  The Sanctuary is designed to mimic a Mexican cenote’ with its large opening up top and the water feature below.

We were welcomed inside and invited to have a seat in The Sanctuary.  Our Andaz Mayakoba checkin representative informed us we will do the check in seated and he would bring over a few mezcal welcome beverages for us to enjoy. Continue reading

New Year’s Trip to Riviera Maya

Introduction: New Years Trip to Riviera Maya
Review:  Andaz Mayakoba

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Happy New Year everyone!

For the first time in several years I decided to take off the week of Christmas and thought “why not take a vacation after Christmas to end the year?”

So in Mid July I started looking for locations for our vacation.  This is the highest demand time of year to travel and prices are sky high! After looking around I decided to just take a “simple” trip to to Riviera Maya as we enjoy Mexico and have not been to the Yucatan Peninsula in several years.  This would be our son’s first time to Mexico and I cannot believe Mexico would be his FIFTH country visited at only two years old. Continue reading