Saturday, 25 May 2019

WestJet spreads its wings east.......New Spanish service starts

Photo WestJet
The WestJet transatlantic expansion continues at a rapid pace, on Friday the Canadian carrier started a service between Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN) and Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ). 

This is the airlines first route to Spain and marks a massive improvement in connections between Canada and Spain and ideal for European business and leisure travellers access to the greater WestJet network through the airline's Toronto hub.

"This flight between Barcelona and Toronto complements our existing Toronto-London (Gatwick) service in providing our guests with another non-stop flight to a popular European tourism and financial centre," said Arved von zur Muehlen, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. "In addition, Europeans looking to travel to Canada this summer now have even greater access to the greater WestJet network through our Toronto hub. We look forward to welcoming our guests on board today and providing them with a truly caring Canadian experience throughout their journey."

"We are thrilled to celebrate the launch of another great option for travellers to Europe with WestJet's new service to Barcelona," said Hillary Marshall, Vice-President Stakeholder Relations and Communications, Greater Toronto Airports Authority. "More choices for international routes are some of the ways Toronto passengers can count on Pearson to provide connectivity to global destinations that meet their business and leisure travel needs."

The three-times weekly service is operated on WestJet's Boeing 767 that includes the airline's updated Premium and Economy cabin service. This summer, with the addition of Barcelona, WestJet will operate to five European cities including London, Gatwick, Paris, Dublin and Glasgow.

Three-times weekly
10:05 p.m.
11:50 a.m. +1
May 24, 2019
Three-times weekly
1:20 p.m.
4:15 p.m.
May 25, 2019

Where to stay in Barcelona?

Barcelona is a captivating busy metropolitan and cosmopolitan city with a wonderful history, culture, shopping and entertainment, that if you are anything like me - no visit will be long enough.  Once you have strolled along La Rambla, marvelled at Gaudi's Sagrada Família, Casa Milà and Casa Batlló, taken in a performance at the Liceu, or a match at the Nou Camp then you'll always long to return.
The Torre de Collserola                                                                            Photo Torre de Collserola

There are so many other sites to see in this vibrant city of contrasts, including the Roman and Medieval walls, the Fabra Observatory, Castell dels Tres Drago, Can Framis Museum, the really odd Torre de Collserola and the imposing Arc de Triomf. Other than some lovely beaches, the city also has around 60 parks, which are a great place to relax, kick back and perhaps a picnic or just people watch and let the ambience and atmosphere overtake you and enrich your wellbeing. 

Jason's favourites.
Hotel Indigo Barcelona - Plaza Catalunya
The Hotel Indigo Barcelona - Plaza Catalunya, is located in the heart of the downtown action, just steps away from the Gothic Quarter.  The world of Modernista architecture surrounds the hotel, including Antoni Gaudí’s iconic Casa Batlló and La Pedrera. There are wonderful exteriors of townhouses, bakeries, markets and pharmacies flaunting the intricate floral decoration and curving lines characteristic of the style. 

The hotels guest rooms are excitingly furnished and decorated, with bright colours, vibrant murals of Gaudí landmarks that echo the neighbourhood.  To help you feel at home, the hotel provides top class toiletries, plush bathrobes, Wi-Fi and Nespresso coffee machines. They are really comfortable and well thought-out, that it might be hard to leave for more city exploring, shopping or eating!

Great little pool and palm-shaded garden offers an oasis of relaxation after a hard morning or days touristic explorations - or indeed, like me a bit of shopping too. The hotel's restaurant - DDQ, is really good, serving mostly Catalan cuisine with a twist and a level of care that you just don't usually see in hotels these days.

Crowne Plaza Barcelona - Fira Centre
The Crowne Plaza Barcelona - Fira Centre is perhaps more of a business hotel than a leisure one, however, no matter why you're staying you are sure to get a lovely warm welcome and super comfortable rooms.  

It is a modern hotel in the city centre just five to ten minutes' walk from Plaça d'Espanya and Poble Sec metro stations. Admire the Montjuïc Magic Fountain, a seven-minute gentle stroll from the hotel, or take a metro ride to central La Rambla for shopping, people watching and bars.  Oh and the Centre Comercial Arenas de Barcelona shopping centre is about a ten-minute walk from the hotel. The Fira de Barcelona Montjuïc exhibition centre is seven minutes' walk away.

Start the day with a buffet breakfast in the L'Aria restaurant, later in the day you can fill up on Mediterranean style cuisine in the El Mall restaurant, which is open for lunch and dinner.  Oh and you simply must make sure you leave some time for a morning, or afternoon to chill and relax at the small pool with a simply majestic view. 

Other great places to stay in Barcelona.

Holiday Inn Express Sant Cugat.
Holiday Inn Express Sant Cugat, is a good base from which to explore Barcelona and the surrounding areas.  It is located near the Sant Joan Train Station (S2) and next to the AP-7 motorway. The hotel’s location in Parc Empresarial Business Park makes it a great pick for business travellers on a budget. Thanks to the good public transport system, the hotel is ideal for also visiting Barcelona’s famous attractions.

Hotel The Serras
Hotel The Serras is a luxury 5-star boutique hotel that only has 28 rooms that are stylish and spacious.  It is a sleek property, popular with the 'trendy' in crowd which may delight some, while turn off others.  It has the exclusivity of a private club, yet open to all - if you can afford the room rates. 

Head here for the Michelin star Chef Restaurant featuring Catalan specialities in a delicious selection of Mediterranean tapas, prepared from fresh seasonal ingredients sourced from the local market just around the corner. The C. Rooftop Terrace offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea and the new Marina of Port Vell. 

More information and prices can be found here.  

Hotel Duquesa de Cardona

The Hotel Duquesa de Cardona is another exclusive boutique style historic hotel, which is located in front of the port of Barcelona. It's less than 5-minutes walk to La Ramblas and the Gothic quarter.  So you can't really go wrong with this as a base for a weekend or longer stay in this Spanish playground. This is also a great pre or post cruise spot that offers lovely rooms, super unobtrusive service and of course, those unforgettable views over the harbour and of the city from the pool deck. A lovely historic taste combined with modern facilities makes this a perfect choice. 

Holiday Inn Express Barcelona - Montmelo

This is a basic hotel is perfect for the Grand Prix Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. It is about 30 minutes to the city centre and all the other major attractions.

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