Different destinations for an unpredictable year

Routine is surely the worst enemy of our time. In other posts in this blog we have given you ideas to make your day to day more fun and entertaining, but today we want to cross a few borders. We want to propose that you give yourself the opportunity to live real adventures, far from the comfort of your home, your city and your country, in places and cities that everyone should visit at some time in life.


We have prepared you a list of different places to know, which are not necessarily difficult to access, but which guarantee incredible experiences.


Crater Lake, Oregon, USA

On the west coast of the United States, in Oregon, you can enjoy nature as in few other parts of the world. One of the must-see destinations if one day you pass through this wonderful state is Crater Lake, a lake located in a crater whose water is a blue that is impossible to describe with words.


Ubud, Indonesia

Ubud is one of Asia’s premier spa destinations, the perfect place to try the famous Balinese massages. But it is also the cultural and artistic center of Bali, and in it there are endless museums and galleries. Relaxation and culture in equal parts.


Island of Samothraki, Greece

More well-known in Spain as the island of Samotracia, this small island located in the north of the Aegean sea – very near of Turkey – is a different corner of Greece, an island that has nothing to do with the Cyclades. The peace that is breathed in Samothraki will make you consider many things of your day to day.


Ljubljana, Slovenia

Known by many as a “little Prague”, Ljubljana is surely the great unknown of the European capitals and there is much to discover, such as its Castle and the Cathedral of St. Nicholas. A perfect city to escape at any holiday in 2017.


Playa Blanca, New Mexico, USA

Dunes made of gypsum crystals. That’s what you find 25 km southwest of Alamogordo, at more than 2000 meters above sea level, in New Mexico, in the southern US. A unique natural spectacle in the world.


Goa, India

If you are traveling in India and want a few days of sun and beach, Goa is the ideal destination. Located on the west coast, about 400 km south of Bombay, it also houses magnificent churches and convents which have been declared World Heritage Sites by Unesco since 1986.


Or maybe, at the end, you do not go to any of these places, but we’ve got you to remember all the trips you have pending. Go anywhere you want, but make 2018 an unforgettable year!

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New year, new life (but truly)

You don’t need to dissimulate: with the entrance of the new year, we ALL have thought that we should change some habits to lead a healthier life, physically and spiritually. At these times, planning to do things a little better is the most normal thing in the world. But, unfortunately, it is also very common for all these goals to end up in NOTHING.


However, at Crowne Plaza Barcelona we have detected that if we fail achieving our goals is because in general we are too ambitious. Maybe we have to assume that we will never go 4 days a week to the gym, that we do not like tofu and that we weren’t born to read Proust. Perhaps we have to set more realistic goals.


Thinking about all of this, we have come up with a list of small daily gestures which we have called “Healthy 24 hours”. Because if you look, there is time to do everything since the time you get up until you go to sleep!


  • Have a glass of water with lemon just getting up.
  • Say good morning to your neighbor.
  • By mid-morning, eat a few pieces of fruit. Those that you like the most! We aren’t in this world to suffer.
  • Keep your workplace somewhat tidier, which is proven to perform better.
  • Ask a colleague to warn you each time you find yourself in front of the computer and the curvature of your back is defying the laws of physics.
  • Call that friend you haven’t seen for a while.
  • Run for 30 minutes, no more, as at this point you will not become an elite athlete.
  •  Tell your brother something nice, it doesn’t cost so much.
  • Visit the White Wellness Spa and give yourself a relaxing time just for you.
  • Actually, if you stop and think about it, on winter nights a vegetable dish feels great. Or not?
  • Go to bed earlier and read for a while (first ask your partner to turn off the light after 15 minutes because reading, as a sleeping pill, is infallible).


Maybe you can’t do everything we propose, but do something! The best way to lead a healthy life is to be happy with yourself and it is very difficult if you let yourself be overcome by laziness.

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The best jokes for surviving after-dinner chitchat

Christmas… the time of year when we stay at home, spend time with our family, do good deeds, and, let’s face it, try to survive the after-dinner banter at the table. There are all kinds of after-dinner conversations: noisy, boring, absurd, tense… but they all share one thing: they’re never-ending.

So, to help you survive the after-dinner chitchat common to this season, we’ve come up with a list of jokes that may help to tone down the atmosphere and make your loved ones chortle:

For starters, here are some one-liners to break the ice with:


– My brother’s been riding a bike since he was 3.

– Wow, he must have gone pretty far by now!


– Me and Carlos were going to…

– No son… “Carlos and I were going”

– How do you mean? What happened to me then?


A man goes to visit a seer and knocks on the door:

– Knock knock.

– Who is it?

– Not much of a seer, are you?


Since it’s dinner time, here’s this one: “How does Batman’s mother call him to dinner? [To the tune of 1960’s theme] Dinner dinner dinner dinner dinner dinner dinner dinner Batman!!!”.

Or we can resort to the classic jokes that begin with the famous, “Do you know the one about…?” Here’s one we like:

”Do you know the one about two guys sitting around and one says to the other: -Do you know what the people of San Sebastian are called?” -“Well, not all of them, no…”

And on a final note, here’s another classic that’s particularly apt for when you’re going to visit your in-laws for the first time on Christmas Eve: “


– Hi, how are you? Nervous?

– Yes, a little…
– Is this your first time?
– No, I’ve been nervous before…”


As we know, at all family gatherings there’s always someone who starts telling jokes, most of them terrible. So our advice is that you start telling your jokes first: with a bit of luck you’ll impress the family jokester and he won’t dare start telling his own. And if you’re not big on jokes, you’d better start practising your fake laughter…


We’ll leave you so you can start working on your jokes. Or your fake laugh.


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Tricks for pretending you like a present when you don’t

Everyone spends Christmas in their own way. Some prefer family gatherings, others run from any kind of commitment, and still others seek the warmth of the southern hemisphere, or would rather swap quiet meals at their grandmother’s for an adventure on the other side of the world.


But there’s one thing nobody can avoid: every Christmas we all receive a present we don’t like. Those really kitsch or weird gifts that leave us speechless or lead to rather uncomfortable situations. To avoid those moments, Crowne Plaza Barcelona has drawn up a list of ways to pretend you like such gifts:


  • The trick that provides the best results is to have a few comments up your sleeve. And to rehearse them beforehand, so as to utter them with the required enthusiasm:

– “Why, I was looking for individual place mats on the Internet just the other day!”


– “I can’t believe it! How could you possibly have guessed I needed coffee mugs with photos of kittens on them?

  • Of course you can always resort to a loud guffaw, followed by a “Nice one!” which is what our grandparents’ generation used to do.
  •  Sometimes you don’t even need to open your mouth. If we just look at the person who gave us the present lovingly after opening it, smile and give them a hug, we will have overcome that awkward little moment in style.
  • Another old trick is to pass the buck and let someone else do the talking. Once you’ve opened the present, you turn to your nearest relative and ask them, with a broad smile, “How about this then?”
  • And for those of you who want to do humanity a favour by helping put an end to that incomprehensible habit of gifting flannel pyjamas with teddy bears all over them, if that’s what you’re given, we recommend that you try them on right then and there. With a bit of luck they’ll stop giving us the blasted things once they see what we look like with them on.


And if none of those tricks work, you can always drop by the Crowne Plaza for a relaxing time at The White Wellness or to sip a leisurely cocktail at our Scrupples Bar: anything and everything you need to calm your nerves is right here at the Crowne Plaza Barcelona.


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Crowne Plaza Barcelona, a committed hotel

Those of you who know us are aware we strive to make your stay here at the Crowne Plaza as comfortable, relaxing and peaceful as possible. What you might not know is that we also devote part of our time to social and environmental causes and when you stay at the Crowne Plaza Barcelona, you too are helping to further all these initiatives.

Ever since we opened our doors, we have sought to be different by being committed to our milieu and to a collective social awareness. That is why we regularly help out in the struggle against various forms of social injustice, and why we take pride in being an eco-friendly hotel.

What kind of causes do we work with?

Our El Mall restaurant has taken part in many food-collection drives and other initiatives to prevent child malnutrition. Acting in collaboration with “Restaurants against Hunger”, we recently added a new dish to our menu and are setting aside part of the proceeds from it to Action against Hunger. Every Monday we also work with ALPAN (Food for the Needy), a Rotary Club project that donates food to soup kitchens.

We’ve also taken part in other projects to ensure food is not wasted, such as Nutrition Without Borders’ “BCN Shares Food” programme, whereby we donate the hotel’s food leftovers to soup kitchens. Another initiative is La fam no fa vacances (Hunger doesn’t go on holiday) in which last year, acting in conjunction with @Fira Barcelona, we collected a total of 175 kg of food with the help of the hotel’s entire staff.

In addition to those food-collection initiatives, last 11th November the Crowne Plaza Barcelona hosted the Esclat 2016 Solidarity Dinner, the proceeds of which went to Esclat’s Association for People with Cerebral Palsy. We have also joined forces with the “IHG Shelter in a Storm” programme, which organised a cycling and walking tour of Montjuic to aid efforts to address the effects of environmental disasters. Walking a little farther, a team of Crowne Plaza employees played their part for the Oxfam Trailwalker drive, held in Girona in 2015. We are also involved in many other solidarity projects too numerous to mention in a single blog post.

The sustainable management of the Crowne Plaza Barcelona is another of our major concerns. That is why, thanks to the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) Green Engage programme, all our facilities are designed and managed following sustainability parameters, which enable us to track the environmental impact of our activities down to the last detail.

In short, at the Crowne Plaza Barcelona we believe small actions generate great changes, and we strive to help as much as we can to make this world fairer and more sustainable.

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4 apps to make your life easier

“I get up, take the kids to school, go to the office, drop by the supermarket on the way home, collect the laundry I put out to dry yesterday, have dinner, do the dishes and fall asleep on the sofa reading the same chapter for the fifth time. I get up, take the kids to school…”

We know we’re not telling you anything new by stating that daily routines can be exhausting. What may not be so familiar to you, however, is the slow movement, a cultural trend that encourages us to cut back on our frenetic lifestyle and take time out to relish everyday activities like going for a walk, eating or socialising.

But let’s get to the point, since we don’t have all day. What we wanted to talk about today specifically concerns 4 apps that have joined the slow movement and are designed to make your life easier:


  • There’s no denying that grocery shopping is a very personal thing. Wouldn’t you trust a mother who’s been doing it forever, though? Well, that’s exactly what Deliberry is all about. All you have to do is place your order on your mobile and in less than an hour you’ll have your groceries on your doorstep, with the brands and fresh produce you asked for, all selected by a shopping mum.
  • Everyone has their little obsessions, but one of the least exciting household chores has to be doing the laundry (and of course drying, ironing, and folding it…) That’s the idea behind Washrocks, a new take on doing the laundry: it picks up your stuff at home and brings it back squeaky clean a day or two later. A fast, clean job.
  • Whatever you want, wherever you want it, all in less than an hour: that’s the idea behind Glovo. This app will bring whatever you want right to your home or office: anything from noodles or chocolate to a bouquet of flowers or a set of coloured pencils. That way you can save time and concentrate on doing whatever you enjoy doing when you’re not busy running errands.
  • Ever noticed how brilliant we are at avoiding any kind of cleaning work? Funny how we can think of a million better things to do than rolling up our sleeves and grabbing a broom. Well, now you can think about everything and anything under the sun if you order a cleaning service called Clintu that lets you give free rein to your endless cleaning-free creativity.

And if what you’re hankering for is some nice, slow time out to unwind and pamper yourself, the Crowne Plaza Barcelona has everything you need to relax and recharge your batteries.

So join the slow movement as fast as you possibly can! Life becomes easier when we tone down the pace a little.

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What does autumn sound like?

We often talk about the colours of autumn and how the yellowing treetops turn into the brown of fallen leaves. Or the smells of autumn – the smell of wet soil, for instance– which permeate parks and woods after the first rains. But what about the sounds of autumn? What do October, November and December sound like?


Discover the soundtrack of autumn this October with our list of options for listening to and enjoying the season’s sounds. Does that sound good to you?


  • If it starts to rain, which is pretty likely in October, you can snuggle down with a blanket at home or in one of our suites and listen to the pitter patter of the rain on the windowpanes. Nothing’s quite as relaxing as the sound of rain!
  • Come on, own up: after summer’s over you’re really quite partial to staying at home on a Friday night once in a while. Don’t feel guilty about it though, because it can be a good time to get into a sound you hadn’t heard for months: the sound of the popcorn you’re gobbling as you watch a film.


Autumn’s definitely a season to take in with all your senses including your ears, because it’s only common sense to enjoy every last detail of what life has to offer.


Now October’s almost here, listen to what autumn has to say!

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Fend off the heatcold of October

”Following today’s balmy summer temperatures, a cold wind from the north is expected to sweep through the peninsula tomorrow afternoon…” the weatherman warns us. Meanwhile, there we are in front of the wardrobe wondering if we can afford to put that sleeveless dress on for another few days or whether we should dive straight into the blazer and ankle boot season.

What should I wear?

This never-ending question prompts us to share a pennyworth of advice with you with a list of tips for fending off what we’ve decided to call the heatcold of October.


  • When Socrates said “I know that I know nothing” he was probably referring to autumn weather. So the best thing to do to avoid being caught unawares by temperature changes is to carry a light jacket, a shirt or a scarf in your bag for “just in case” purposes.


  • This is not goodbye! Don’t put your slinky summer togs away just yet, as there are lots of ways you can keep combining them: Shorts and boots, T-shirt under a sleeveless dress, a halter and a jacket…


  • In search of the perfect pullover. Not too thick, not too light. And when you find it, don’t sweat over it! Take several in different colours and make it your autumn must.


  • Add an extra touch to your lightweight autumn look by leaving your ankles bare: all you have to do is turn up the bottoms of your skinny jeans and hey presto, you’ve set a comfortable, cheap and easy trend.


So that’s our autumn survival manual. Don’t forget though, that there are things you can do all year round regardless of the weather, such as sprawling all over our comfy King size beds or taking a dip in the welcoming waters of The White Wellness.

Now autumn’s here… don’t let the heatcold get to you!

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Summer is all about attitude

Going back to office hours, traffic jams, diets, having to face your boss or the neighbour’s gossip… Does it always have to be like that, or can coming back from holidays be a chance to start over?

At the Crowne Plaza Barcelona we believe summer is an attitude, so we want your return to be full of opportunities for you to keep that summer smile even when there’s no sunshine.

Here are some ideas to make sure that no matter what, you’ll find the inspiration you need to feel like you’re still on holiday, even if only for a while:

  • Get spruced up for a sophisticated evening out at the Bar Scrupples: You don’t need an excuse to put your best togs on and step out wearing a sophisticated attitude too. With friends, your partner… it’s up to you as long as you do away with your routine!
  • Get yourself a gleaming white bath robe like the ones you find in hotels: What could be better than wrapping yourself up in a soft white hotel bath robe? A simple detail like that can make you feel like a million dollars, so don’t hesitate to get yourself one and relive your “hotel moment” at home!
  • Make a dash for the nearest spa: It doesn’t take much time and you don’t have to go far to feel you’re getting away from it all –a visit to a spa brings back that summer vibe as soon as you step into it. What do we recommend? At our The White Wellness spa you won’t have to wait for the holidays to feel like you’re taking a break.
  • Summer’s over, but the beach is still there: If summer is an attitude, the beach is the perfect place to bring it on. It doesn’t matter if the temperature’s not ideal; you can still enjoy the beach and a lot more! Take your mat and do some yoga, go for a romantic stroll, let the waves mesmerise you… Visit a beach you’ve never been to, like some of our own favourites: Platja dels Muntanyans (Torredembarra) for instance, or the Playa de las Rocas Blancas (Sant Pol de Mar).
  • Go shopping as though you were on holiday: Your local supermarket isn’t going anywhere, so why not do some shopping somewhere where apart from finding fresh, quality goods you’ll be in for new sights and flavours too? The Mercado de l’Abaceria (Gracia) or the Obbio organic supermarket are a couple of good options.

Join the Crowne Plaza Barcelona’s summer attitude, relax and let yourself be surprised. Keep trying new things, and give yourself a treat too. If summer makes us happy, why let it end so soon?

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Tips on things to do with your holiday souvenirs

When we travel we often keep little souvenirs of the things we come across on the way: the ticket for a show we went to see, a postcard, the leaflet of the tour we went on, etc. That’s why we’d like to offer you some ways of triggering memories of the wonderful trips we’ve taken on our holidays once we get back home. Here are ten tips:


1. Keep all your ticket stubs and little travel souvenirs in a decorative glass jar. That way every time you look at the jar you’ll be reminded of the trip you took.



2. Make a globe and draw dotted lines showing the places you visited.


3. Use a photo album to paste all the little things you picked up along the way: stickers, the drawings you made, etc.


4. Make your own picture postcard book. Send yourself a postcard every time you go on a trip to evoke memories of the places you visited.


5. You can also put sand in attractive glass bottles with a label showing when and where you collected it.


6. Frame a map of the world and stick representative photographs of your trip on each of the countries you’ve visited.


7. Use maps of your travels to cover books or anything else that comes to mind.


8. Create your own calendar with the photographs you took on your travels.

9. Get your photographs printed and frame them. The chances are you’ll have taken a photo or two that would make any travel photographer envious!


10. Get the best photograph of your trip stamped on a mug. Your collection will grow with every trip you make.


Whatever ways you choose to keep your mementos, remember the most important thing is that your trip is now part of you and you’ll never forget it, wherever you may have been.

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