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    Barcelona: ‘calçots’ tours

    Calçots is one of the most delicious dishes in Catalonia. Although they are eaten everywhere in the area, they are originally from a zone in Tarragona called Valls. It was there that many years ago, a farmer tried digging up sprouting onions rather like Spring onions and roasting them on coals. Since then, the new way of cooking this field produce, has spread to every corner in the province and nearby surroundings and now we can find it even outside Catalonia.

    However, there is nothing better than eating calçots in Tarragona or Barcelona. In both provinces there are dozens of restaurants specializing in this traditional dish, which is mainly eaten in Winter. The Calçot harvest season begins right now in November and lasts until April, so if you are considering a culinary trip, it is best not to waste time but start looking for flights and accommodation: calçot season has started!

    The ideal tour is in Tarragona, the land where calçot originated, in the area of Valls where as a geographically protected site, (PGI) Valls’ Calçots are grown. Throughout the area known as Camp de Tarragona you can find the best and finest calçots ‘restaurants in the region, some of them serve this dish almost exclusively in season and they are an original delicacy. Not only because the product is of the highest quality and are harvested in the surrounding fields but because they prepare the accompanying sauce as no-one else can.

    Valls is so rooted in tradition that every year there is a prize for the best special onion sprouts and the best grower, some of which can be found in the town of Perafort and it is quite a sight to see how they are collected, cooked and then happily eaten. You’ll notice that eating them is not easy and you need to be correctly prepared: the sauce splashes and a lot of people choose to eat with a bib, which is also part of the experience.

    The sauce is a little like ‘romesco’ sauce and many people confuse them, but in Valls it has its own name: salvitxada. The ingredients to produce it are garlic, both raw and roasted, hazelnuts and powdered toasted almonds, dried sweet red peppers, roasted tomatoes, toasted bread soaked in vinegar and a little olive oil and salt. Everything is mixed and crushed or ground until it is a fairly compact and thick sauce in which the Catalan onion sprouts are steeped.

    In Tarragona, especially in Valls, preparing a good sauce is almost as important as cultivating this type of spring onions and those who manage to get the best salvitxada each season are celebrated. Just ask and you will be told which taverns and restaurants are most skilled in making salvitxadas.

    Leaving the area of Tarragona and Valls, which was the original centre for ‘calcots’, if you have the opportunity to go to Barcelona in the months of November, December or January you won’t fail to find a good place in the city to try this delight. In the Catalan capital there are places where the sauce is so carefully prepared and so tasty that it rivals that of Tarragona.

    One restaurant in Barcelona famous for its ‘calçotadas’ is Can Xurrades, where they accompany the menu of grilled meats. María Can Cortés is the place of which it is said that you can eat authentic Valls’ calçots in Barcelona, brought directly from the fields of Tarragona. In the Collserola, Can Martí, with its calçotada menus that are so huge that you will be amazed, is a typical old Catalonian tavern, which doesn’t fail to charm.

    Can Punyetes, where they are experts in traditional Catalan cuisine, is another must. You should also try some others like Ali Oli, Mussol and Can Manel, the latter in Sants and with the perfect atmosphere for organized calçotadas in a group. The Disbarat in Gracia, is one of the best and most valued by the locals. All offer calçots in season but in most of them it is best to make a reservation in advance.

    If you decide to take your gourmet break in Barcelona in the calçots season, try to book accommodation well in advance because at the weekends city hotels tend to display no vacancy signs during these months. You can choose a hotel or cottage in the suburbs, but our recommendation to take full advantage of the trip is to opt for one in the centre with comfortable services to make things easier. The Catalonia Hotels chain often makes special online offers for each of its hotels in Barcelona, like the Hotel Catalonia Ramblas, the Catalonia Sagrada Familia and the Catalonia Barcelona Plaza. The NH group also has several well-equipped city centre hotels such as Barceló, which has one of busiest, sought after hotels in Barcelona right now, located in El Raval and with a rooftop where you can enjoy unrivalled views of the whole of the Catalan capital.

    The key to Adults Only hotels

    An ‘Adults Only’ hotel should not be confused with a romantic hotel, a boutique hotel or a hotel for couples. Although all these establishments do have characteristics in common, each has some services that define it and make it unique in its category. Today we will discuss these differences and the key features of a hotel that is for adults only.

    In the case of an Adults Only Hotels (the English name by which they are generally known in the tourism sector) the main distinguishing feature is that these hotels are restricted to people over 18 or in some cases, older than 16. This limitation is imposed to safeguard one of its great attractions: to meet all those travelers looking for a place to unwind away from children and large families, noise, races and games.

    Who is looking for an Adults Only hotel?

    The usual adults only hotel guests are travelers of a certain age (an average age of between 35 and 45) who want to enjoy their accommodation in a relaxed atmosphere although they don’t say no to enjoyment, yes they are very choosy when it comes to the activities they choose: sports, fitness sessions, evening parties, special dinners, cocktails and all of this combined with the sea…

    They have an average purchasing power – generally high, and tend to take shorter holidays: travelers who take breaks at any time of year rather than those who book 15 days in summer. They are seeking a luxury fitness experience for 3 or 4 days in very specific destinations and always opting for hotels that offer them something more than mere accommodation.

    The keys to Adults Only hotels

    Although most of the services on offer are the same as those offered by family and couples hotels, these establishments are aimed at a very specific target group, with the needs and motivations of a very specific type of travel, with accommodation, facilities and specialist attention which in many cases, is new to the mass tourism sector.

    The Design.-  Adults only hotels care about increasing space, both in the communal areas and the rooms. They resoundingly favor modern designs and some even carry the signature of important contemporary interior designers. The Nordic-style, minimalist, Mediterranean-inspired, playful color combinations and combining furniture from different periods are the current trends.

    New services.- The vast majority of hotels have adults only fitness and spa areas. Some only with beauty and massage treatments, others with large fitness facilities with indoor pools, saunas, showers, aromatherapy and so on. Sport, with the integration of small gyms within the hotel- is also an important feature.

    The entertainment.- There are no poor quality shows, these hotels are committed to developing an adults only events agenda with an innovative and different program. Sushi nights washed down with a choice of the world’s gins; DJ sessions to liven up the sunset; theme parties on the beach; special dinners like barbeques; concerts of national bands or top level singers…

    The rooms.- Many offer only junior suites and suites. They are bigger, brighter, the best in the hotel, soundproofed, themed, decorated following the latest trends… Services are also high: Wi-Fi, computers or iPads in the room, your choice of bed-linen, bathrooms with whirlpool or Jacuzzi, furnished terraces overlooking the sea …

    The Gastronomy.- The restaurants and hotel bars for adults only stand out amongst what is on offer normally . It aims for a la carte and gourmet dishes or chef’s suggestions and also for up-to-date options like English breakfast or Sunday brunch. Asian cuisine and cocktails have become very popular in these hotels.

    Romantic for couples or friends…

    The confusion often created when speaking of adults only hotels is that it is understood that they are also hotels for couples and romantic hotels. However, as noted previously, not all hotels for couples are adults only, and therefore are also open to minors and couples with children but obviously the hotel is more geared to the needs and requirements of the adults than the concerns of the kids.

    With romantic hotels it is the same: a charming hotel or a romantic hotel may be perfect for couples and adults, often in locations or destinations which offer what those traveling as a couple want but are also a good option for those who are a couple with children.

    An Adults Only hotel is not solely a romantic hotel or a hotel for couples. There are adults only hotels aimed at young people looking for fun, adventure and the beach like the famous Sol Wave House in Calvia, Mallorca, one of the Sol Hotels chain Melià group designed especially for young surfers (it provides an artificial wave pool that has made it famous throughout Spain).

    Other adults only hotels are places to just go and discover unique places in the company of other people who travel alone. They are also hotels to go with friends in a group, at any age, to celebrate any birthday from 25 to 65. The only requirement is that you must be over 16 or 18, depending on the hotel.

    Destinations Adult Only

    There are adults only hotels throughout Spain and, in fact, they have proliferated becoming unstoppable in recent years, both in areas of beach tourism and major cities and towns. One of the places that has a large concentration of some of the best adults only hotels in Mallorca. Here you can find the gems of the hotel industry like the future IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Portals Nous, which opens to the public next summer as one of the most exclusive Adults Only hotels on the island. Another good example is the 4-star Garden Holiday Village, located in Playa de Muro, one of the favorite destinations for foreigners who come every summer to Mallorca in search of sun, sand, nature and absolute tranquility.

    The Canary Islands and, in particular, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Tenerife take the prize regarding adults only hotels. The Teguise area and Costa Adeje as well as Playa Blanca are the ultimate in getaways for adults who want to enjoy the scenery, good food and the incomparable calm of these special islands.

    What is on offer in Madrid is on the increase, incorporating truly original hotels, where services are devised to please adults, the select and sybaritic public. An example of this could be any of the hotels or chains Petit Palace and Vincci Hotels, like the recently released Vincci The Mint in the Gran Via area.

    Barcelona has been offering adults-only hotels where music events, meetings, etc. are organized. They have a more executive profile rather like those we mentioned in Madrid, but this is usual in the big city hotels.

    Huelva is curiously another destination noted for its Adults Only hotels. One reference, not only for its location but for facilities and services, is also one of the Garden Hotels chain: the Garden Playanatural Hotel & Spa actually on the El Rompido beach, one of the few pristine beaches in the south of Spain.

    The data:

    There is a website where you can find all kinds of Adults only hotels: Adults Only Holidays, where you can find all we have mentioned and more, including the special recommendations, reviews and the opinions of users throughout the world. The website is available in German, Spanish and English.

     

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