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At Crowne Plaza Barcelona we believe in a better world. Which is why we have brought to you the different iniciatives and projects that year after year we collaborate in!

Crowne Plaza Barcelona isn’t just a hotel in the Condal City. It is also a firm that throughout the year supports different actions based on social, cultural and sustainable values to look after the world that surrounds us. Here are some of our initiatives that took place during 2017!

These projects are carried out throughout the whole year as we firmly believe that by playing a small part we will together achieve important changes in the environment and our society. The list is long, so let’s go for it!

 

What social actions have we carried out at Crowne Plaza Barcelona?

Regarding social activities, we focus mainly in projects to fight hunger and dehydration.

Crowne Plaza Barcelona received the Rotary Club certificate for having donated 2.350 solidary menus throughout 2016 under the initiative “Alimentos para Necesitados” – A.L.P.A.N (Foods for Needed) who also belongs to the club. Furthermor,e we collaborated with the catalan initiative “La Fam no fa vacances” (Hunger doesn’t get holidays), where we collected 175kg of food to help the most needed during the summer. “BCN Comparteix el menjar” (Barcelona shares their food) belongs to Nutrició sense Fronteres, another initiative in which we participated by providing hotel meals to social dinings.

We also participated with “Restaurantes contra el hambre” (Restaurants against hunger), a solidary initiative by “Acción contra el hambre” (Action against hunger) together with the Spanish Hostelry Federation, fighting against childhood malnutrition. Crowne Plaza joined the Project by providing 2€ per each dish consumed at the hotel’s restaurant El Mall.

Oxfam Intermon Trailwalker in Girona: for the second year in a row, part of Crowne Plaza Barcelona’s team joined this 100km trailwalk collecting more than 1.500€ to donate to this organization. An action put together for women and girls that each day have to walk for hours in the search of safe drinking water. We also cooperated with the program “IHG shelter in a storm” by IHG in an organized “Nordic Hike” in Montjuïc, to support the fight against the effects of natural disasters.

oxfam-crowne-plaza-barcelonaIntermón Oxfam Trailwalker

igh-crowne-plaza-barcelonaIHG Foundation – Nordic Hike

 

All of this without forgetting about the toiletries that each of our rooms has, all of which are 100% fair trade.

 

How about cultural initiatives?

During Christmas a big part of Crowne Plaza Barcelona’s team donated their gift sets to the neighbourhood of Poble Sec, to a catalan NGO “Bona Voluntat en Acció” (Good Will in Action) which works to erradicate poverty in the fourth world. Aside from that we also gave toys to the little ones of this same area, because Santa doesn’t forget about them! We collaborated with this organization in another project “Hotel Tapa Tour”, where they organized a tapas tour and all money went directly to the cause.

lotes-navidad-cpbDonation of Crowne Plaza Barcelona’s staff gift sets

regalos-navidad-crowne-plaza-barcelonaToys for children in need in the neighbourhood of Poble Sec

 

The “Interhotel Games” are Charity Olympics where several 4 and 5 star hotels participate to collect funds. This 2017 the money was destined to “Nutrición sin Fronteras” (Nutrition without borders) and their project “Barcelona comparteix el menjar” (Barcelona shares their food).

Crowne Plaza Barcelona was the main sponsor at their charity event “Cena Solidaria Esclat”, a charity dinner where all funds were destined to professional integration and personal development of people with cerebral paralysis.

Regarding the big screen, Crowne Plaza Fira-Center also collaborated with the 4th Edition of the Asian Cinema Festival in Barcelona, organized by Casa Asia, who gave out a honorary prize to the movie “Redha” for the treatment and sensibility towards autism. Related to this illness, to celebrate the International Day of Awareness about Autism we illuminated our main façade in blue and joined the campaign #ConnectatAlBlau (#connectedtoblue).

Furthermore, our El Mall restaurant participated in the latest version of the Barcelona Restaurant Week with an elaborated tasting menu. Included in the price was a solidary euro which was then destined to ”Menudos Corazones Foundation”, a music therapy project for pediatric ICU’s.

 

In terms of energetic efficiency and sustainability, what have you done?

tesla-crowne-plaza-barcelonaTesla chargers for electric cars

 

We obtained the IHG Green Engage Level 1 Certificate, which means that all of our hotel’s facilities are designed under sustainable parameters and accredits us for one of the best practices in matters of saving energy and costs.

We also received the Quality Ecoleader Certificate Platinum Level by TripAdvisor that promotes the reutilization of bedding and towels, the use of energy-efficient bulbs throughout the hotel, a cautious control of the use of A/C and heaters, recycling… among many other aspects.

As in the tourism of Barcelona, we also contributed with our grain of sand by participating in the initiative “Barcelona Sustainable Tourism” where different projects are carried out related to sustainability, environmental and socio-economical matters surrounding the city’s tourism.

Our latest news regarding energy efficiency is that since last October we have added in our hotel two Tesla chargers, the number one company in premium electric cars, which are free to use and completely compatible with any electric vehicle from hotel’ guests.

 

As you can see this is a summary of the actions that we have been contributing with at Crowne Plaza Barcelona throughout 2017, and there will still be more. Most important of all, we are determined to keep on participating in solidary actions that fight for social causes, equality, the environment and culture, as we strongly believe in our values and the kind of world we want to be living in.

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Barcelona welcomes another year the Fiestas de la Mercè, but what is the origin of this local celebration?

The Virgin of la Mercè is the most popular patroness of Barcelona, because for those of you who didn’t know, yes we have more than one! Together with the Virgin Eulalia, co-patroness of the Condal City who for many centuries was the only one who had this figure, they are the metropolis patronesses.

And you might be wondering, how come Barcelona have two patronesses?

The history that links these two figures goes back to beginnings of the 4th century when the roman emperor Diocleciano ordered to persecute the Christian faith that was threatening the cult to the Roman Empire.

The legend tells that Santa Eulalia revealed against the persecution towards Christians in Barcelona and her punishment was devastating. Emperor Diocleciano’s men captured and tortured her until Santa Eulalia finally died, after resisting being put inside a wineskin filled with shard elements and was thrown down a steep street of the city without compassion or regrets.

Santa Eulalia was finally crucified, however she managed to impress all the spectators with her bravery during the punishment, where something incredible happened… As the legend tells, right at the moment of her death her soul rose flying from her mouth in the shape of a white pigeon.

The history and courage that Santa Eulalia showed shocked the entire city of Barcelona in a way that made her a heroine and the Condal City named her patroness of Barcelona.

Centuries later in 1687, something happened that completely changed the course of the city’s history. A terrible locust infestation arrived in Barcelona and the locals desperately prayed to the Virgin of la Mercè for her to save their streets, promising that if she did they would name her patroness of the city. Santa Mercè saved Barcelona from the locust catastrophe and in 1868 Pope Pio IX named the Virgin of la Mercè patroness of the Condal City, completely eclipsing the existing patroness Santa Eulalia.

However fellow devotees of Santa Eulalia weren’t very happy with this decision, as they weren’t forgetting about the sacrifice that their early patroness had done centuries before. So that is how finally both virgins became patronesses of the city at the same time.

From that moment onwards the celebration of Santa Mercè on the 24th of September gained more and more spotlight. With the arrival of democracy on the 20th century this local celebration was proclaimed as the most popular and renowned in the city, as it united all of Barcelona’s neighbourhoods together that until the moment had been independent from one another.

Nowadays the fiestas de la Mercè are still one of Barcelona’s most popular festivities as they also represent the closing of the summer. However, the day of Santa Eulalia has also got its’ celebration day on the 12th of February, also known as Barcelona’s winter celebrations, in honour of the first patroness who has dethroned from her limelight in Barcelona.

There is an anecdote that legend tells that every 24th of September, the day of Santa Mercè, it rains in the Condal City. The popular culture believes these are Santa Eulalia’s tears, who cries in grief for having been delegated from her role and eclipsed by the Virgin of la Mercè.

No one knows the absolute truth about the drops that fall during these days, but if you are planning on celebrating this festivity in September plan beforehand to bring an umbrella with you before going out to the streets. You will never know if Santa Eulalia will let her tears drop over Barcelona or if it will simply end up raining…

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Are you staying in Barcelona during this Summer? Here are some cool plans to do!

Summer is always the perfect time to enjoy doing what you love: travel, visit your family, spend more time outdoors… Big cities seem empty, however it’s only an appearance! During the Summer many people still go to work and keep on with their day to day which is why we have decided to bring together some of the best plans to do in Barcelona during this Summer, for those who want to make the most of their time in the city!

 

Beach, water sports or swimming pool
One of Barcelona’s most valued treasures is the sea. Lucky us, specially during the Summer! The fact that we have the Mediterranean Sea so close allows us to do all sorts of water activities: paddle surf, windsurf, swimming, sailing, etc. However if getting in the sea is not really your cup of tea you can always play volleyball in the sand, beach tennis or simply sun bathe to soak in those sun rays while reading a book. To sum up, just like in many other cities Barcelona also has local and private swimming pools, another great option to feel refreshed!

 

Mountains and parks
Not only does Barcelona have the sea but we also are very close to the mountains. Even though they aren’t the highest of this region they are the perfect escape to go outdoors into nature. The area of Tibidabo, carretera de les Aigües or Montjuïc are perfect places to go to and enjoy being outside the city for a couple hours. If you prefer to stay in the urban area you can always go for a walk to Parc of Ciudadela, Parc of Montjuïc or any other green area in the city.

 

Music festivals
When the warm months roll in it is almost impossible for a day to go by in Barcelona without music. Summer festivals are some of the best summer days for locals and tourists: Barcelona Beach Festival, Cruïlla Festival, Música als Parcs, Circuit Festival, Jardins of Pedralbes Festival, summer concerts at Poble Espanyol or BAM are some of them. If you love music you should definitely take a look at some of them!

 

Activities and shows
The cultural offer in Barcelona is amazing, both during daytime and at night. There are all kinds of activities for everyone: open air cinema, tours around the city, museums, parks, exhibitions, nightlife… and the list could keep on!

 

Local neighbourhood festivities
Three of the most known local festivities in Barcelona that take place during the Summer are Fiestas of Gracia, Fiestas of Sants and Fiestas of Sant Roc. They are all local festivities that honour each of the three neighbourhoods in the city and that will welcome with open arms all visitors where you will enjoy popular local food, concerts, “castellers”, famous Catalan dance “sardanas”, magic and alternative shows… The streets simply fill up with people and fun.

 

To sum up, these are some of the coolest plans to enjoy in Barcelona during the Summer. In addition, Crowne Plaza Barcelona will open very soon the 173 Rooftop Terrace, the terrace in Montjuïc with the best views in Barcelona.

 

There is no longer any excuse to make the most of this city!

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San Juan’s Eve, a night of magic and tradition

San Juan, Saint John’s Eve or Sant Joan, is one of the most expected popular celebrations in Spain of June and the Summer time in general. The eve of the 23rd of June marks the beginning of the Summer, the endless days of sun, holidays, free time and watching sunsets from a rooftop. It is also a day of meeting with friends and family and getting to share this popular tradition, which is why we decided to bring to you in this post some of the most famous traditions on the year’s shortest night in Barcelona and surroundings. Had you heard of any of them?

 

Fire and bonfires
Fire is one of the main characters during San Juan’s Eve, which already reveals part of this night’s traditions. This midsummer night is all about making bonfires, especially at the beach. The tradition dates back to centuries ago when there was a belief that fire symbolized the welcoming of Summer solstice.

Another tradition that still lasts through time is the thought of fire’s light and heat to drive away evil spirits, as well as extending the amount of hours a day to give the Sun more strength, as from this night on the days start becoming shorter and shorter until Fall arrives.

 

Make a wish whilst jumping over a bonfire
It definitely is a risky activity, not suitable for minors and only to be considered if one is fully aware of the situation and its’ risks. During the night of San Juan many are brave enough to challenge the fire and jump over the bonfire while making a wish at the same time. If it becomes true or not, that’s only a matter of luck!

Get a taste of the “Coca of San Juan” and toast with a glass of cava

The “Coca of San Juan” is one of the highlights of June 23rd. This dessert consists of a pie made out of flour covered with glazed fruit and sugar. To go with the pie it is very common to toast with a glass of cava, a traditional sparkling wine from the provinces of Barcelona and Tarragona.

 

Fireworks
Fireworks are also a must on this summer night of celebrations. Explosions filled with colour and spark light up the night sky forming all sorts of shapes and forms and the sound of the firecrackers will be heard from far away. An authentic performance.

 

Swimming in the sea at night
If you celebrate San Juan’s Eve around the coast one of the most magical traditions on this night is to go for a swim after midnight when the sea is completely dark or waiting for the sun to rise, welcoming the next day.

 

Music and dancing
Almost everywhere you go on this night you will find streets and beaches filled with people celebrating and concerts and music going on. Those who make their bonfire will very probably be dancing around the fire. Those who don’t, will probably also be dancing under the moonlight.

 

Burn what is no longer useful
Like we mentioned at the very beginning fire is one of they key elements of the night of San Juan. Many people will follow the tradition of bringing with them what is no longer useful and throw it into the fire to burn. Furniture, paintings, clothing… or even last year’s school books!

 

Now that you’ve learnt a bit more about some of the most typical traditions of San Juan, are you in to join any of them?

 

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Books set in Barcelona to read this upcoming Sant Jordi

On the 23rd of April one of the most popular festivities in Catalonia takes place: Sant Jordi, their patron saint. What in other places is celebrated as the World Book Day, in Cataluña there’s a different tradition, a combination of culture and romanticism. A special day dedicated to couples, lovers, roses and books as the main characters.

In Barcelona’s case, streets become decorated with roses, books stalls and people who don’t want to miss out on this special day. Many writers join the streets to sign their books, whilst bookshops open their doors to show readers the best novels up to date. You can find as many genres as you can imagine but just because Barcelona has so much to offer, we have decided to list the best books that set their stories in the Condal City.

 

Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones
2006

Cathedral of the Sea has been one of the latest sensational best sellers there has been with their story based in Barcelona.

Falcones, the writer, after documenting himself in the city’s history, recreates the moment in which the Santa Maria del Mar basilica, located in El Born (or La Ribera) started being constructed back in the 14th century.

The history is set in the medieval times, a period in history where the Condal City lived a moment of fortune and success. The novel tells how the fishing neighbourhood of La Ribera decided to start one of the most ambitious architectonic projects at the time: Santa Maria del Mar, a basilica which would soon become the biggest religious marine temple of the time.

The book travels around some of the outskirts and neighbourhoods of the city such as Plaza Sant Jaume, where today you can find the Generalitat government and the town hall, and also Pla de Palau, the square that back in the day was Barcelona’s most famous as it was located next to the sea and was the door to the city.

 

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
2001

Carlos Ruíz Zafón makes the most of the Condal City to create a mystery-romantic story throughout several areas of the Catalan capital: Tibidabo Avenue, Las Ramblas, Plaza Real or the Gothic area are just some of the recurring sceneries.

The Shadow of the Wind is contextualized in the mid-20th century when you could still breathe some of the last splendours of Modernism until the post-war days.

This novel by Carlos Ruiz Zafón intertwines branches and secrets all together, focusing the whole narrative on Daniel Sempere, a boy who one day finds a cursed book at the Cemetery of the Forgotten Books. Since the moment Daniel reads the first page, he finds himself immersed among mysteries, love stories, intrigue and riddles. Without a doubt, the Shadow of the Wind has been one of the most outstanding best sellers of the recent times.

 

Last Evenings with Teresa by Juan Marsé
1966

With Last Evenings with Teresa, Juan Marsé takes us away from the touristic areas of Barcelona to talk about other neighbourhoods that throughout time have been forgotten. More specifically, Marsé’s story is centred in El Carmel, a quarter which in its’ origins was distinguished by being one of the most insecure and neglected of Barcelona.

The novel is based on a love story between two young adults, Teresa and Manolo, more known as Pijoaparte. Teresa is the daughter of a Catalan bourgeois family and Pijoaparte is a local of El Carmel. She is a bit blatant but with financial means and an “easy life”, whilst he is a mischievous boy who struggles in his neighbourhood and aspires to achieve a higher social status.

Last Evenings with Teresa wanders through all sorts of areas of Barcelona: from the high part of the district of Gràcia, to Turó de la Rovira or Plaza de Sanllehy as some examples. Everything is described with a very subtle sharpness doing a small recall to the tease that helps Marsé criticize the Catalan bourgeois of the times.

 

In Diamond Square by Mercè Rodoreda
1962

In Diamond Square is without a doubt one of the most renown novels set in Barcelona. The title refers to a square located in the Gràcia district, a neighbourhood where most part of the story takes place.

The narrative is contextualized in Barcelona during the Republic, war and post-war times and handles with care the story of how Natalia, also known as Colometa, lives her marriage. Many of the situations described in the book can be extrapolated to the majority of women at the time: doubts, uncertainty, submission, obedience, naivety, joy or happiness among some of the feelings that arouse while you read the novel.

 

The City of Marvels by Eduardo Mendoza
1986

The City of Marvels portrays in a very reliable way the evolution of Barcelona during the World Exhibitions that took place in 1888 in Ciutadella and in 1929 in Montjuïc. Both exhibitions transformed and made the Condal City known to the rest of the world, hence the name of the novel.

Mendoza takes us to that Barcelona generation that evolved to an industrialized society and economic prosperity. The sceneries that appear in the novel are several: Moll de la Fusta, the walk and the monument of Colón, the fountain of Montjuïc or the chimneys of Poble Sec as some of the iconic elements of Barcelona that come up during the story.

 

These are some of the novels set in Barcelona although the list could keep on. Barcelona inspires and makes you fall in love, so are you ready to join us and read one of our recommendations set in Barcelona?

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