<p>Explore Barcelona's Elite F1 party circuit.</p>
This May, the Santander 2014 Spanish Grand Prix (or Grand Premio de España), held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, will roar to life as champ drivers rev their engines around and over the track’s 66 laps (that would be a total of 307.104 km). Practice and qualifying sessions take place the Friday and Saturday leading up to the big Sunday race on May 11, so spectators should make a weekend of it, buy a three-day pass and enjoy the event and the surroundings alike! The F1 track, after all, is situated just northeast of Barcelona, the capital of Spain and one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations. With its stunning diversity of architecture ranging from medieval to modernist, world-class museums, lively bars and restaurants, indulge and savor the best Spain has to offer!
Here’s what to do for an unforgettable Grand Prix weekend.
THE MANDARIN ORIENTAL HOTEL
A five-star accommodation located in the center of Barcelona on the Passeig de Gràcia, the Mandarin is within walking distance of the famed Ramblas, a street that’s as popular with tourists as it is with locals. The hotel offers wonderful city views, a spa, indoor and rooftop pools and full amenities. The hotel’s restaurant, Moments, is renowned for its innovative cuisine and its world-famous chef, Carme Ruscalleda.
THE W HOTEL
"City Surfer/Barcelona, Spain" © 2010 Stephan Rebernik, used under a CC Attribution license
The W Barcelona, a five-star hotel designed by famed architect Ricardo Bofill, is located along the La Barceloneta boardwalk. Barceloneta, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, Port Vell and historic El Born neighborhood, is known for its sandy beach and vibrant nightlife. With the W’s luxurious rooms, rooftop bar and excellent spa, the hotel is a welcome retreat after indulging in the F1 festivities.
MELIA SKY BARCELONA
The Melia Sky Barcelona is one of the city’s tallest buildings, which means you’re ideally situated to take in Barcelona’s gorgeous views of cityscapes and ocean vistas alike. With its outdoor swimming pool, luxury spa and Michelin-starred restaurant, you’re bound to enjoy some of the best the city has to offer. The hotel also features an elegant bar, restaurant and nightclub.
EXPERIENCE THE RACE
"Sebastian Vettel" © 2011 Infiniti Global, used under a CC Attribution license
Gentlemen, start your engines. Experience the race up close; make like a racecar driver and zip around the F1 track yourself. The catch? There is none! All you need is an ordinary driver’s license and you can experience the adventure firsthand. You’re the boss. There are no rev limits. No speed limits. The Catalunya course is one of the only Grand Prix courses to offer this opportunity.
Barcelona is a city that never sleeps. The Spanish eat late, drink later and go to bed the next day, which is undoubtedly why Spaniards were clever enough to invent the siesta. Whether you’re a clubber or a lounge lizard, you’ll find your watering hole of choice among Barcelona’s many drinking establishments. Many clubs are free before one A.M., so we recommend barhopping through the Rambla and Barri Gòtic areas.
For a modern Catalan menu, the Michelin-starred ABaC is considered one of Barcelona’s finest eateries. The atmosphere is elegant and intimate with a total capacity of only 56. Its superb cuisine and ideal location make it a prized restaurant for those in the know.
One of the city’s funkiest bars, Aurora is decked out with red walls, has eccentric lighting and movies projected on the walls for a fun atmosphere. The fantasy surroundings make for a guaranteed great night out.
7 SINS LOUNGE
The bar’s signature color is red, the color most associated with passion and the deadly sin of lust. With its low lighting and extravagant furnishings, the lounge evokes 1920s decadence. Located in the city’s Eixample district, 7 Sins has an upstairs lounge bar renowned for excellent cocktails and bar downstairs with sofas and a rocking dancefloor. Local DJs mix up the music every night. And for those of you who’d like to make the occasion a little more exclusive, you can reserve a room at 7 Sins for you and your fellow VIPs.