F1 2024 Insider's Guide No. 10 – Spain

19 Jun 24


F1 2024 Insider's Guide No. 10 – Spain

The Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is a fast, flowing and ferocious affair that will thrill motorsport fans everywhere. The highlight for many Spaniards here though will, of course, be seeing two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso taking to the track at his second home Grand Prix as an Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One® Team driver this weekend. Alonso always wins the hearts of the home crowd and this time should be no different. Barcelona is the perfect European city with beaches, architecture, food and lashings of culture. After the race head towards the millionaire’s paradise of Andorra. The Pyrenees Mountains offer spectacular drives and luscious boutique boltholes like the stunning Mas Sant Marc in the hills near Puigcerdà.

Up on the roof in Barcelona

Pools and secret gardens renewed

Barcelona’s best-kept secret is the jaw-dropping hidden villa on top of the recently transformed Grand Hotel Central. Brought to life by its visionary founder, Francesc Cambó, politician and dedicated patron of art and culture, Casa Cambó is simply a magical piece of history. It’s lost in time - and includes a library and a wondrous secret rooftop neoclassical garden that encompasses two floors and measures over 100 square metres. Although not fully open to guests, it can be explored on exclusive hotel tours.Grand Hotel Central’s exciting new Can Bo restaurant opens in September. The Kimpton Vividora’s roof is also spectacular with a pool and 360-degree view of the Old City. The restaurant here, Fauna, serves classic Catalan dishes to warm the cockles.

How to find joy in the journey?

Take the high-speed train to Madrid

High-speed AVE trains criss-cross the nation and get you to Madrid in no time. In the bustling, cultured capital you can eat amazing tapas, see art and luxuriate in beautiful parks. Hotel Montera is a swish boutique hotel with classy décor and the perfect place to stay. While Totem and Urso are twin sibling design hotels that epitomise the luxury-forward Madrid aesthetic and serve classic cocktails and impressive food. Madrid’s stylish Único is a grand dame of the city’s hotel scene while its doppelganger, Principal is a deliciously boho mixture of style and class that will wow.

What’s new in Barcelona?

Sailing and luxury

The 37th America’s Cup will be bringing the sailing cognoscenti to Barcelona from August to October. From the 15th floor of the luxurious new Torre Melina, a Gran Meliá Hotel, you can see down to the port. The pool and spa there have just opened too in time for the Grand Prix. And don’t forget to dine at the swanky new Erre & Urrechu. Lab 22 is a testament to Barcelona’s forward-looking future. This tech-forward district has a brand new design hotel, Lab22 at its heart. With a very trendy rooftop pool and bar offering iconic vistas. While you’re there check out the new pool and roof terrace at the NH Collection Constanza, which is another neat new opening in the city.

Where should I go next?


Head west to buzzy Lisbon, the hipster city that in some ways is eclipsing Barcelona and drawing in hipsters, tech CEOs and creatives. This historic city by the Tagus revels in its faded grandeur and seedy glamour. Stay in the design-led properties Vintage, with its retro decor and rooftop bar and Lumiares, classy, stylish and in the heart of the Bairro Alto. Or the glitzy Ritz with its imposing decor and rooftop running track. Lisbon has plenty of chi-chi beach resorts nearby like Cascais, which will appeal to F1 fans as a kind of ‘Mini Monaco’ filled with yachts and well-heeled holidaymakers.

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