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Chef Xavier Lahuerta returns to Mercer Barcelona kitchen

When Jean Luc Figueras -Executive Chef of the Mercer Barcelona- passed away in 2014, Chef Xavier Lahuerta (Barcelona, 1975) takes over the gastronomic direction of the Hotel, succeeding one of his mentors for over a year. Then, Lahuerta decides to embark on a new stage of gastronomic exploration. Now he returns to the Mercer with a new look.


Let's move to your origins. Tell us about your first influences...

Throughout my childhood I saw my two grandmothers work in the kitchen. This made that at the age of 16 I clearly knew what my profession would be. My grandmothers knowledge and passion were the starting points.

How was your career?

My generation has been behind the Michelin starred Chefs with the goal to learn from them while working on their projects. In my case, I worked in some of the best restaurants of Catalan cuisine for 20 years, with great teachers like Xavier Pellicer, Santi Santamaria, Carles Gaig, Ferran Adrià, Carles Abellán and the unfortunately deceased Jean Luc Figueras, with whom I started working at the age of 17. During this time, I was Sous Chef, Chef or Executive Chef at El Bulli, Can Fabes, Abac, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Projectes 24, Rocamador, Grupo Azafrán, El Cercle or New Paradis.

Chef Xavier Lahuerta at the Mercer Barcelona

Then came a professional turning point...

During this first professional period I was developing signature cuisine, Catalan cuisine with French influences following the trail of these great chefs with whom I had the pleasure to collaborate. But there was a time when I decided to stop, reflect on a new mindset and expand my horizons. I think it’s highly recommended, if not essential, to stop and observe. During this time, I made several trips in which I learned new aspects of gastronomy that have allowed me to renew my kitchen, making great quality leap.

What world cuisines have influenced you the most during these trips?

I have traveled a lot to Mexico. For example, in the Mercer Restaurant menu, one of the entrees is the violet roasted carrot that we serve with “poblano mole”. It’s an example of the Mexican cuisine touches in my cookbook. I am also fascinated by the Asian gastronomy, I use several Asian ingredients and techniques, such as the croaker in sashimi also included in the current Mercer menu.

You are an intuitive chef...

Yes, I am a restless, dynamic and intuitive person. In my opinion, it’s necessary to leave the comfort zone, go beyond, expand the limits, be an entrepreneur and bet on new challenges and projects. I try to leave my mark of quality in our gastronomy, being authentic and connecting with people. In this sense, I was recently named as the culinary order member by the "Chaîne des Rôtisseurs" (oldest gastronomic association in the world).

Chef Xavier Lahuerta at the Mercer Barcelona Restaurant

What does it mean for you to return to the Mercer Barcelona kitchen?

Returning to the Mercer is like coming back home. I’m taking the challenge of being in the Barcelona Gothic Quarter with excitement, in a historical building shaped in part of the old Barcino Roman wall, a space with a strong personality and a great reputation in the city. I was one the moments that had made the chef I am today, I am delighted to return and develop my project here.

Mercer Restaurant Barcelona

How would you define your gastronomic proposal at the Mercer?

We offer a combination of traditional recipes with avant-garde techniques and local high quality products. In the Mercer Restaurant menu, we take care of dishes balance, based on few ingredients and well prepared. This are natural and healthy proposals for make our dinners live an emotional experience.

Chef Xavier Lahuerta gastronomy at the Mercer Barcelona Restaurant

A gastronomic memory

I remember the feeling of enjoying eating in a restaurant and not leaving the table trying not to lose any detail, like a stage play.

Your favorite dish

It is difficult to choose a dish when my greatest pleasure is to enjoy eating! But to say one, it would be a dish that brings me knowledge and reflection, feeling and passion, especially that one which makes me feel alive. My favorite dish is “the land and the sea”.

Your favorite restaurant

Many, not only one! It’s hard to choose only a restaurant due to the infinite offer that exists nowadays. Depending on the moment and with whom you share it. But a classic that never fails is “Casa Alfonso”, a restaurant opened since 1934 in Barcelona.

An unavoidable ingredient in your kitchen

Quality is the ingredient in our kitchen must always have, not only from products but also the human asset to feel and work with them.



Mercer Restaurant

Calle dels Lledó, 7. 08002 Barcelona

Reservations: Tel. +34 93 310 74 80 · Email: restaurante@mercerbarcelona.com

Seville, at Giralda’s feet

Giralda is without any doubt the main character of Seville’s historical center, an authentic visual show that hides remarkable history.

THE CATHEDRAL OF SEVILLE

Declared a World Heritage Site, the Cathedral of 'Santa María de la Sede' (known as Seville’s Cathedral) is the gothic temple with the largest surface in the world and symbol of the Andalusian capital. The Cathedral was built on the ancient largest Mosque (12th century,) of which the old minaret -current Giralda- and the Patio de los Naranjos (Orange Trees Courtyard) are preserved.

Seville Cathedral

Symbols par excellence of Seville, the Cathedral and the Giralda are set in the heart of the city, just in front of the EME Catedral Hotel and just 500 meters away from the Mercer Sevilla.

EME Catedral Hotel

THE GIRALDA

The Giralda is the watchtower of the bell tower that ends the Cathedral of Seville. Its construction began in the 12th century inspired by the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech.

The lower two thirds of this tower belong to the minaret of the old Mosque of Seville, the upper third is a construction added in Christian times to house the bells (13th century). And on the summit, stands the “Giraldillo” (16th century).

Giralda’s name comes from the vane that crowns the tower popularly known as the Giraldillo ("that turns with the wind"). This sculpture called "Triumph of the Victorious Faith" (the victory of Christianity over the Muslim world) is made in bronze and weights more than a ton.

RECORD NUMBERS

With its over 100 meters, the Giralda was for centuries the tallest tower in Spain and one of the highest in Europe. In addition, it became and still is a fingerprint in the configuration of the skyline in Seville, being its tallest building until the recent construction of the Pelli Tower. With a total of 24 bells, it is considered the Cathedral with the most bells in Spain.

For some years, a replica of the Giraldillo is located in the Prince Cathedral Gate, which allows visitors to admire all its details up close.

Seville Cathedral

NEST OF CULTURES

Witness to Seville’s, the Giralda represents the harmonious combination of the different architectural styles of the various civilizations that left their print on the building.

The Giralda is composed by two main parts: The first one of the tower is the Muslim one, when the Caliph Abu Yaqub Yusuf ordered the construction of the minaret of the Almohad mosque, in the 12th century. Later in the 16th century, the Christian part was added with the bell tower and the statue that symbolizes the faith, designed by the architect Hernán Ruiz. To these bodies are added the lilies (with a jug of bronze lilies in each of the four corners) and a last Renaissance segment.


INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THE GIRALDA

The restoration work has allowed to reveal the original reddish color of the Giralda. In Murillo’s paintings, the Giralda was already shown in that color, which started to vanish due to the pass of time and several restorations made in the 18th and 19th centuries
Did you know that La Giralda has no stairs? That allowed the sultan to climb up on his horse while contemplating the views, 35 ramps were arranged.
One of the Giralda purpose throughout its history was as a lightning usage, that announced events or celebrations (as it’s done in modern skyscrapers!).
From the viewpoint, you can contemplate the whole city, and at the foot of the Giralda, the Patio de los Naranjos and the imposing Cathedral of Seville.

Seville Cathedral

Mercer Hoteles expands its portfolio managing the renowned Hotel EME Catedral in Sevilla

With this new addition, the group specialized in the luxury market sums up eight establishments, three of them under renovation, and will achieve a portfolio of twelve hotels in the following three years.


Currently the company is redefining the luxury hotel industry in Spain with an innovative approach that is perceived in each of its properties. Mercer Hoteles commitment is to create hotels where the hospitality takes place in historical settings, signed by great architects, accompanied by an outstanding service and haute cuisine.

MERCER HOTELS UNTIL TODAY

The company was born in 2005 with the Mercer House Bòria BCN opening, set in an 18th century palace in the Barcelona Born District. Four years later, the Mercer Hotel Casa Torner i Güell opened in a Modernist building located in Vilafranca del Penedès (Barcelona).

Mercer House Bòria BCN y Mercer Vilafranca

In 2012 the first 5-star establishment of the chain was inaugurated. The Mercer Hotel Barcelona is located in the heart of the Gothic Quarter. The Mercer Hotels flagship occupies a medieval palace on part of the Roman wall of Barcino and was restored by the prestigious architect Rafael Moneo (Pritzker Prize). 

Mercer Hotel Barcelona

In 2016 a new opening takes place in Sevilla. The Mercer Sevilla is an innovative 5-star hotel located in the Casa Palacio Castelar, a 19th century bourgeois palace in the historical Arenal district. Architects Cruz and Ortiz are responsible for the hotel renovation, responsible of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum rehabilitation within other projects.

Mercer Hotel Sevilla


This autumn of 2018 sets the beginning of an ambitious expansion project for this Spanish hotel chain that starts with the incorporation of the renowned EME Catedral Hotel in Seville.

EME CATEDRAL HOTEL

EME Catedral Hotel opens its doors in 2008, being the first hotel in Seville combining history and modernity, with the impressive background of La Giralda and the Seville Cathedral (the largest Gothic church in the world), in the picturesque Santa Cruz district, city’s old Jewish quarter.

EME Catedral Hotel Sevilla

EME is placed in a historic building, originally composed of 14 defined typical Sevillian houses from the 16th century, which restoration result is a modern and young hotel, with a design that reflects the contemporary Sevillian lifestyle.

EME Catedral Hotel Sevilla

Due to its excellent location and unique views over the Cathedral and the Giralda, the hotel's terrace quickly becomes popular among Sevillians, becoming a must do along these ten years.

EME Catedral Hotel Sevilla

From December 2018, the EME Catedral Hotel management passes into Mercer Hoteles hands. So during 2019, the hotel will experience a series of updates to adapt it to Mercer Hoteles standards, respecting the identity and character of the building.

Without losing the Mercer Hotels luxury and sophistication characteristics, the new EME marks the starting point of an innovative hotel concept, more vibrant, young and urban.

“Services will also be adapted to contemporary luxury. The spa, the panoramic restaurant or the cocktail bar will take a new main role”, explains Amanda Molina, Mercer Hoteles Projects Manager. “The interventions in the hotel will be light, decorative and especially respectful with its architecture, surroundings and history. This will allow maintaining its doors open during the process”.

 

Welcome EME Catedral Hotel!
Mamen Bonet, Pastry Chef at the Mercer Barcelona

We interview Mamen Bonet, Pastry Chef at the Mercer Hotel Barcelona who creates the treats that surprise our guests every morning...


Bringing together the tangible with the intangible to transform the stay of each guest into an unforgettable experience: This is the philosophy of Mercer Hoteles. In this sense, the Mercer Barcelona pays special attention to the breakfast service where every detail is taken care of to make each morning a gift for the senses.

Mercer Barcelona


Breakfast is served daily from 7.30-11.00am in the unique setting of the Mercer Restaurant, with part of the original Roman wall of the ancient Barcino city as a backdrop. In spring and summer seasons, guests can also enjoy breakfast at the Orange Tree Courtyard, an oasis of absolute tranquility in the heart of the Gothic Quarter.

Mercer Barcelona


Mamen Bonet (Barcelona, 1985), Pastry Chef at Mercer Barcelona, is in charge of the 5-star hotel gourmet breakfasts. Since she joined the Mercer's kitchen, this young baker has added a series of delicious novelties to the breakfast buffet: An assortment of small pieces of art -both sweet and savory- freshly made every morning to make guests fall in love. Mamen is a discreet professional who prefers her creations to speak for herself. Her key principle is "work, work and humility". We chatted with her to discover the sweetest details of Mercer Barcelona.


Why did you decide to work in pastry?

Actually, it was like “to let myself flow". When I was studying Fine Arts, I realized that I wanted to be a cook, so I studied Hospitality and Pastry at the Hofmann School in Barcelona where I lay the foundations of everything I currently know.

Mamen, tell us a bit about your trajectory until you reached Mercer Hoteles...

While I was still, studying at Hofmann School, I did two stages: At Mugaritz and Celler de Can Roca. After that, when I finished my studies, I went to Akelarre again as a stagier. At this point I realized that I wanted to specialize in pastry... First I did an internship in the Dolç Pastry from Yann Duytsche and from there I went to work in several bakeries like Melissa (Athens), Pomme Sucre (Gijón), Moulin Chocolat (Madrid) or Baluard (Barcelona).

How would you describe your profession?

It is often said that pastry is the sweet and measured version of cooking. For me it’s also "a bottomless pit" of tests, knowledge and amusement. Actually, it’s magical to be able to make clients happy or surprise them through your work and the pastry is often associated with happy moments...

Mercer Barcelona

What are your creations at the Mercer Barcelona based on?

I’m basically inspired by the classic pastry cookbook, as well as recipes from my previous experiences that seems delicious to me and from creations of other pastry chefs who share their work in books or social media. And I also like to investigate on my own and try new ideas.

What attributes should have a good pastry chef?

A good pastry chef must have the same characteristics as a good cook: He/she must be disciplined, orderly, responsible and a good colleague. In addition to this, I think it's important to be curious and to learn a bit more each day.

Mercer Barcelona


What do you like most about your job?

I love working with doughs and chocolate (of course!), making fruit tartlets and petit fours. All my elaborations are handmade as pralines, chocolates, brioches... I like to have time to fuss over everything I do. I try to pay attention to details so that guests have a good memory of sweet moments at the hotel. 

What are your favorite ingredients?

I love working with good raw materials. I really enjoy working with chocolate (I also love to eat it!) and all its utilities or subtleties. I am also a fruit lover (such as raspberries, pineapple or apricot) and nuts (especially hazelnut and pistachio).

What do you think a good dessert should contain?

Balance and sobriety, especially in sugars, fats and jellies use.

What is the essential utensil in your work?

In pastry there are many indispensable utensils, but I think that brain, hands and a good oven are primary...

Mercer Barcelona

A cake...

I like the coulant and a good strawberry cake!

Recommend us a patisserie...

The bakery where I learned: Hofmann!

Seville neighborhoods

The historical and monumental Seville has different picturesque neighborhoods, each one with its own different personality.

By taking a walking tour through the different neighborhoods, the traveler will discover the city’s history and evolution, as well as local traditions and the happiness of living in Seville: The color and magic of Seville is in its neighborhoods.


1. Old town: The three monuments of Seville declared World Heritage Site

Less than 10 minutes walking from the Mercer Sevilla, are the Cathedral, the Royal Palace of Alcázar and General Archives of the Indies.

St. Mary Cathedral was built above an old mosque. Its famous bell tower (“La Giralda”) and its cloister (the Orange Courtyard) stand out. A few meters from the Cathedral, there is the imposing Royal Palace of Alcázar and its beautiful gardens (known as “the monument of monuments” and chosen as the setting of Game of Thrones). And next to them, the General Archive of the Indies collects an exceptional documentation of the Spanish overseas territories administration.



2. Santa Cruz: Tapas around the old Jewish Quarter

Mateos Gagos Street (from where you can enjoy a great view of the Cathedral), the lively atmosphere on the terraces around Santa Maria Blanca Street, picturesque Santa Cruz, Doña Elvira or Los Venerables Squares, or the historical Callejón del Agua (“Water Alley” where the water that supplied the Royal Palace of Alcázar’s gardens circulated in the past) are only some of the beautiful sights in this neighborhood, but the best option to discover Santa Cruz is to be as they say “go on with the flow’’.



3. El Arenal, facing the Guadalquivir River

After the discovery of the Americans (1492) and for several centuries, the Arenal was the main port for commerce between Spain and the New World. Nowadays, it’s a monumental and cultural district.

Between San Telmo and Triana Bridges, it’s worth to enjoy the Guadalquivir River bank (Columbus Avenue), the Golden Tower (primitive Arab bastion and current naval museum) or the Royal Maestranza bullring and have a drink along the river bars or the centenary neighborhood taverns (Garcia Vinuesa Street). Next to the Triana Bridge, at the ‘Lonja del Barranco’ Market, gourmet tapas are served in a building designed by Eiffel.



4. Triana neighborhood

Crossing the Triana Bridge (10 minutes walking from Mercer Sevilla) the visitor reaches the opposite river bank and the most cheerful and popular district of Sevilla, with the “Mercado de Abastos” (Supplies Market), the Ceramics Center or the Sailors Basilica. And one should defenitely have tapas in Betis, Asunción or Castilla Streets. These are just some of the recommendations in a neighborhood in which it’s better to get lost and, above all, to enjoy.

Javier García -Mercer Sevilla Guest Relations Manager- gives us some tips to enjoy "tapas" around Triana: At "Blanca Paloma", "La Primera del Puente" or "Taberna Paco España" the visitor will eat and feel like a local.



5. South, the Seville of the Ibero-American exhibition (1929)

The Maria Luisa Park is the oasis of the city with 34 hectares of green land ideal for walking in the shade. The Museum of Arts and Traditions of Seville is set in the impressive Mudéjar-Pavilion (one of the old pavilions in which the Ibero-American Exposition was housed). And in front of the Park, the monumental Plaza de España (“Spain Square”) invites you to take a charming boat ride.



6. Center, around the City Council

The shopping area is located around the Plaza Nueva (“New Square” where the city council is also located), Tetuán Street and Sierpes Street (where you will find “La Campana” confectionery, founded in 1885 and famous for its delicious ice creams and patries).

In the same area there is the Palace of the Lebrija Countess (with “the best pavement in Europe” due to its Roman mosaics collection) and the “Metropol Parasol” space (the largest wooden structure in the world, designed by Jürgen Meyer and with a beautiful city viewpoint).



7. The ‘Macarena’ and its walls

La Macarena is a traditional, genuine and devoted neighborhood. You must visit its epicenter Bécquer Street where the Macarena Basilica is located, as well as the remains of the old city wall (from 11th and 12th centuries).

Cod fritters by Le Bouchon, enjoy our homemade recipe

Discover the cod fritters recipe by Le Bouchon, the Mercer Hotel Barcelona gastrobar specialized in tapas and local dishes.


Located on a quiet street in the historical Barcelona Gothic Quarter, Le Bouchon is the gastrobar of Hotel Mercer, nestled in part of the old Barcino Roman wall: A unique location right in the heart of Barcelona.

Le Bouchon

It’s a local restaurant opened not only to hotel guests but also to any visitor wishing to spend a nice gastronomic time: Whether enjoying an appetizer or an informal lunch or sharing a diner with a nice bottle of wine.

Le Bouchon

The menu offers some canned appetizers from La Cala Albert Adrià, cold meats and cheeses, as well as a variety of homemade dishes, perfect to accompany by a glass of wine from some of the main national appellations.

Le Bouchon

“Bravas” spicy potatoes, croquettes, crunchy chicken nuggets, Andalusian style squid, fried peppers from Padrón, cod omelet, eggs with Iberian ham or meatballs with cuttlefish, among other typical dishes, can be enjoyed in an informal and relaxed atmosphere.

Le Bouchon

Among Le Bouchon tapas and dishes, today we introduce the delicious cod fritters with roasted garlic dressing (“allioli”): Made with wild cod from Iceland ('Gadus Morhua' from Perelló 1898), they are crispy on the outside, spongy on the inside and served with a special sauce. 

We share our recipe to encourage you to make them at home!

SEE RECIPE


Gastrobar Le Bouchon
Monday to Sunday, 12.30 - 16.00h and 18.30 - 23.00h
Calle dels Lledó, 7
08002 Barcelona (Spain) 
Tel. +34 93 310 74 80

Gaudí and Barcelona

"There's no reason not to try something new just because nobody has tried it before." Antoni Gaudí

After the industrial revolution and its technological improvements, Barcelona experiences an important economic and urban development. By the end of the 19th century, it’s a renewed and wealthy city, where young architects find the perfect setting to develop new, free, personal and creative expression forms: A legacy of more than 100 modernist buildings, among which those of Antoni Gaudí (Reus 1852 – Barcelona 1926), innovative architect and standard of Catalan Modernism.


ANTONI GAUDÍ, LIFE AND WORK

Antoni Gaudí was born in a family of artisans (boilermakers), in Riudoms (a small town in the province of Tarragona), until he moved to Barcelona to study architecture. He collaborated with several architects of the time to finance his studies and soon developed his first solo projects, such as the lampposts of the Plaza Real.

"I do not know if we have given the title to a madman or to a genius, only time will tell." Elies Rogent, Director of the Barcelona Architecture School (1878)


“VICENS” HOUSE

The Vicens family -which owns a ceramic factory- commissioned its second residence refurbishment to a newly licensed Gaudí. That was the architect first building in Barcelona (1878) and he already showed his creative freedom and his personal contribution to the aesthetic renovation. Considered an advance of Catalan Modernism, the “Vicens House” opened to the public in 2017. 

“GÜELL” PALACE

In 1886 Gaudí received the first important commission of his career. Count Güell -entrepreneur, member of one of the most influent families in Barcelona and Gaudí’s admirer, friend and sponsor- requested him the construction of his new house near La Rambla. Gaudí designed an ultimate palace in all aspects (space, light, volume, ornamentation and symbolism that he would develop in his following works).


“GÜELL” PARK

Again Güell relied on Gaudí to design a residential area for wealthy families in the land acquired by the entrepreneur on Barcelona outskirts(1900). The complex had to have around 60 homes in an immense garden with panoramic views, but the project failed due to its location far from the Eixample (the bourgeoisie trendy district). Despite this, it quickly becomes popular among Barcelona people, who visit the park for social events. After Count Güell death (1918) his heritors sold it to the city council to convert it into a public park. Park Güell reflects Gaudí’s naturalistic period: Architecture and nature are integrated in more than 17 hectares, with wavy, colorful and symbolic forms. 

“Everything comes out of the great book of nature” Antoni Gaudí

At the beginning of the 20th century, Gaudí has a great recognition among the Barcelona bourgeoisie and his continuous works are real apartments for the Calvet, Batlló or Milà families.


“BATLLÓ” HOUSE

Textile entrepreneur Josep Batlló acquires a sober building in Passeig de Gràcia and orders its refurbishment (1904) to the architect of the moment. Gaudí creates a family house of 8 floors, cheerful and colorful, with wavy forms and blue tones, and with a spectacular façade with balconies. Impressed by Gaudí’s work, Batlló recommended him to a friend, for whom Gaudí would eventually build the Casa Milà (1906).


“MILÀ” HOUSE 

The Milà well-off family wanted to express its position by building an innovative, luxurious and large-scale housing building on the site acquired in the trendy Passeig de Gràcia Street. Again, Gaudí is inspired by nature to design slightest detail of this unique building impossible to summarize. Administrative problems with the city council and divergences with the Milà family delayed the work, but didn’t stop the architect to express his artistic maturity. 


SAGRADA FAMILIA

In spite of everything, the most complex work of his career and in which he invests 43 years of work (especially at the end of his career) is the Sagrada Familia. In 1883 Gaudí was appointed architect of the Sagrada Familia expiatory temple. He assumes and redesigns the project started by another architect, making it much more ambitious. Due to his deep religious beliefs, the architect aims to create the perfect temple. 

“People from all over the world will come to see what we are doing” Antoni Gaudí

The Sagrada Familia is revolutionary in many ways, such as its structure, height, the constructive resources employed and its symbolism. It represents the artistic fullness of the architect, his naturalistic period culmination and the synthesis of all his previous works.

This temple is a Barcelona sign of identity and the Modernist architecture greatest exponent, world-wide recognized. Based on the Gaudí original plans, its completion is planned for 2026 coinciding with the centenary of the architect death. 


In 1926, a tram runned over him in Barcelona accidentally. Initially, passersby were confused thinking he was a vagabond (at 73 years of age, he has an austere life fully devoted to religion and his work), although days later the city pays homage to him in a multitudinous funeral. His crypt is located in the Sagrada Familia, the temple to which he dedicated his life.

Pioneer of the artistic avant-gardes of the 20th century, this genius is one of the most studied and admired figures of architecture of all times. Seven of Gaudí's works have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In the 21st century, Barcelona can’t be conceived without the legacy of its most universal architect.

Mercer Hoteles Guest Relations Team

We interview the Guest Relations Managers regarding the customer service at Mercer Hoteles

MERCER PHILOSOPHY

Location, architecture, design, gastronomy and above all, the excellence of a service exclusively focused on exceeding our guest highest expectations. Mercer Hoteles takes care of the smallest detail to turn each guest stay into a memorable experience: A way of understanding customer service by which Mercer Barcelona and Mercer Sevilla have become a luxury hospitality reference in both cities.

Mercer Barcelona
GUEST RELATIONS, GENUINE DESIRE TO SERVE OUR CUSTOMERS

Joan Manel Salamanca and Javier García are Head Concierges of Mercer Barcelona and Mercer Sevilla respectively. Both are professionals with large experience as Guest Relations and “Les Clefs d'Or” members (International Association of Hospitality Concierges). 


What does the Mercer Service consists of?

JOAN MANEL (JM): The Guest Relations department manages any requirements (legal and reasonable) that the guest has before, during and / or after their stay at the Mercer. This global and expert service is one of the main Mercer philosophy pillars. We give a close, professional and trustworthy service for guests to enjoy a relaxed and memorable stay. 

Mercer Barcelona


Do we find the same level of service in all Mercer 5*GL hotels?

JAVIER (JG): Of course! Both at Mercer Barcelona and at Mercer Sevilla, guests will find the same service standards. Being boutique hotels with few rooms, we have the opportunity to provide a completely personalized service. Not only Guest Relations but all departments are focused on offering excellence.


How does the Guest Relations Department work?

JG: We contact the clients before their arrival because many times they need prior attention, as a private car, a restaurant reservation or tickets to a monument or show in the city. On the first day of the stay, we introduce ourselves personally for whatever they may need. And after the departure, we keep in touch with many guests...

Mercer Sevilla

What do you do to keep up to date with the city latest news? 

JG: We love our city and we are interested in everything that happens there. And obviously, we have our information sources got over the years (friends, colleagues or contacts).

JM: I agree with Javier. We try to have a wide network of professional contacts, plus the information we get from press, blogs, Social Media and “Les Clefs d’Or” Association.


Tell us about a special moment or a curious story...

JM: An important achievement is that guests remember us. For example, last Christmas I received a postcard from guests from USA who remembered us even several months after their stay... and invited me to visit them. This is a very special detail!

JG: From my side, during the last “Feria de Abril” (April Fair), I met by chance a couple who where staying at the hotel (a little disoriented) and took them to my private stand, to eat ham, drink wine and even dance some “sevillanas”.


What is it like working with guests at a 5*GL boutique hotel?

JG: The Mercer Hoteles team reason to be is the client total satisfaction. In this sense, our main goal goes beyond fulfilling their demands. Our purpose is to exceed their expectations, surprise them, make them “fall in love” or make them feel at home, perceiving they have a "friend" or "allied" in the city, willing to support them during their visit. And all this, with a professional, unpretentious, sincere and discreet service.

JM: I think that guests who decide to stay at a boutique hotel are clients who expect a direct, calm and personal treatment from the hotel team. 

Mercer Sevilla

What is the best thing about dealing with guests?

JG: Dealing with guests is a task as demanding as rewarding. We love to see that guests are happy when they leave the hotel, because they enjoyed their visit. It’s also nice to read guests reviews on TripAdvisor, of course, customers who appreciate our work and recommend us to their friends and family. 

JM: Exactly, a customer who becomes a prescriber of our brand is a great reward. The best feeling is to check how some guests return to the hotel year after year. 


What do you like the most about your job?

JM: I like to share my city and make other people see it "through my eyes", by creating wonderful experiences.

JG: Definitely what I appreciate the most is the human touch and the multiculturalism.


OUR GUESTS REVIEWS ON TRIP ADVISOR
The best thing about the hotel? The incredible staff! [USA]
The only thing that could compete with the building is the staff: they were without exception first class in their attentiveness and helpfulness. [United Arab Emirates]
Even before our arrival at the Mercer we were contacted by Guest Relations with a request to personalize our stay. That was only the beginning of the incredible service we received at the Mercer. We've stayed at many five star hotels and his service is by far the best ever. [USA]
Some of the most accommodating, professional and service oriented personnel we've ever enjoyed! [USA]
Of all the boutique hotels we have stayed at many locations around the world, the Mercer is a standout high achiever. This reflects the professionalism and warmth that all the staff provided throughout our stay. The Mercer is a leader in luxury boutique hotels. [Australia]
Perhaps the best feature of all is the incredible staff. We could not have felt more welcomed and really missed some of their faces when we returned home. [USA]
Service and staff attitude is close to perfection: They give you the feel of the comfort of home but at the same time show the professionalism of a house of this category. [China]
Everything about this hotel was excellent except the staff which was superb. [Canada]
The staff is some of the best in the hospitality industry. [USA]
Palace-Houses in Seville

Seville has several dozen stately palace-houses, great past and present lineages residences.

With the discovery of America (1492), the port of Seville becomes a strategic enclave for trade with the Indies. This represents an important economic development as well as a cultural and artistic transformation, known as the “Sevillian Golden Century”. Some of the most prosperous families, enriched by trade with the New World, commissioned the construction of beautiful manor houses in which they set their new residences (XV-XVI centuries). Currently there are about 25 palace-houses in Seville, some of which remain private residences.


1. “LAS DUEÑAS” HOUSE

Founded by the Pineda family in the 15th century and owned by the Duchy of Alba since the 17th century, the house occupies the space of the old monastery of “Santa María de las Dueñas”. In the 19th century, the Palace is converted into a neighbor's house. One of the dependencies is rented to the parents of the Spanish poet Antonio Machado (who was one of the 1898 Poetic Generation main exponents), who was born and spent his childhood here. Years later, the palace becomes a witness to the Dukes of Alba illustrious guests such as Jacqueline Kennedy, Grace Kelly or Rainier de Monaco. Its buildings and courtyards range different architectural styles and stands out for its historical value and its collection of paintings, tapestries, sculptures, photographs or furniture.


2. “PILATOS” HOUSE OR MEDINACELI DUKES PALACE

Built in the 15th century, it is owned by the Duchy of Medinaceli. Its history is as important as its heritage value. Courtyards, gardens, galleries, fountains, columns, plasterwork, tiles, pavilions, halls, furniture, together with a large collection of classic art and a series of bullfighting paintings by Goya, constitute the largest of all Sevillian palace-houses. Declared a Property of Cultural Interest and Spanish Historical Heritage, this house has been the scene of productions such as "Lawrence of Arabia" (1942).


3. “LEBRIJA” COUNTESS PALACE

Built in the 16th century, it passes through different owners until in 1901 it is acquired and restored by the Countess of Lebrija (illustrious lady and archeology lover). Considered “the best paved palace in Europe”, it stands out for its collection of Roman mosaics (especially those that cover the central patio floor), its arts collection, as well as a library with 4,000 volumes. This Renaissance palace is a Cultural Interest and Spanish Historical Heritage Property.


4. “LA ALGABA” MARQUISES PALACE

This Renaissance palatial residence was built in the 15th century by the Marquises of La Algaba, and it is one of the Sevillian civil Mudejar style best exponents. During its history, the building has different owners and it was intended for different uses (theater, neighbors' house and summer cinema), until it is acquired and rehabilitated by the Seville City Council, to house the Mudéjar Art Center of Sevilla.


Mercer Sevilla

5. CASTELAR HOUSE-PALACE

Another of these Sevillian architectural treasures is the Casa Palacio Castelar, located in the historic center and in which the Mercer Hotel Sevilla is located. It is a bourgeois small palace dating from 1880, carefully restored by the Sevillian architects Cruz and Ortiz. The Mercer Hotel Sevilla preserves the original structure around the central courtyard or patio, the marble staircase or the high ceilings in the rooms situated in the "noble" floor of the old palace-house.

Mercer Sevilla

Don’t miss the secrets of El Born, Barcelona’s most trendy neighborhood...

El Born district -one of the Barcelona’s most cosmopolitan areas- is less than 5 minutes walking distance from the Mercer Barcelona. Monuments, palaces, museums, galleries, restaurants, terraces, shops, fashion and design: We find out some of its secrets.

Originally, this was a sailor and craftsman neighborhood of humble families settled outside the Barcelona’s wall. From the 13th century, aristocrats and merchants -enriched by maritime trade- settled their residences in beautiful palaces. The neighborhood became the city economic center until the 15th century. The 'Santa María del Mar' basilica construction (14th century) consolidates the Born identity.


THE 10 SECRETS OF THE BORN DISTRICT


1. Catalan Music Palace

Built for the 'Catalan choral group' by the architect Domènech i Montaner (1905) and defrayed by popular subscription, the 'Palau' became part of Barcelona's symbolic heritage and the city’s cultural and social life setting. Declared World Heritage (UNESCO), this impressive modernist building and its excellent acoustics are a reference in the international artistic scene.


2. Picasso Museum

More than 4,200 works form the most complete collection in the world of Picasso's youth works. Inaugurated in 1963, the museum reveals the artist's link with Barcelona. Works are shown in chronological order, along 5 palaces of Catalan civil gothic style (13th and 14th centuries): Exceptional content and continent for one of the most important museums in the city.



3. Santa Maria del Mar 

Built in only 55 years (14th century), it’s the only church in pure Catalan Gothic style. Known as the 'Cathedral of the people', the history of this Basilica is linked to the Born neighbors, who contributed to the construction of their basilica, with their own money and mostly with their work. For example, in their free time, dock unloaders ('bastaixos') used to load stones destined to the church from the 'Montjuïc' quarry, one by one. In fact, a tribute to this 'bastaixos' can be observed in the church main door.

Curiosity: The story of this wonderful basilica and the neighborhood was immortalized in the novel 'The Cathedral of the Sea' written by Ildefonso Falcones, whose book we recommend you to read.



4. Paseo del Born

Delimited by the old Born market (now the Born Cultural Center) and 'Santa Maria del Mar' Basilica, the promenade has 14th-century buildings, trendy terraces and bars, designer shops and a lively atmosphere. In medieval times it was tournaments and jousting of knights (which give the neighborhood its name), celebrations and fairs.



5. El Born Culture and Memory Center

This cultural space is integrated into the Born old market building (1876). Its exterior structure is an example of the iron architecture. Its interior houses an imposing archaeological site excellently preserved: A testimony of neighborhood life and city history, from Roman times to the early 18th century. Exhibitions and cultural activities take part in the offer of this singular center.



6. France Station

Inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII on the occasion of the International Exhibition (1929), this modern station needed to live up to the expectations of the first line that would connect Barcelona with France. The elegant lobby and the metallic structure of the routes (one of the main exponents of the modernist iron architecture in Barcelona) stand out.

Curiosity: This station has often been compared with the Parisian 'Gare d'Orsay'.



7. Citadel Park

At the end of the 19th century, due to the industrial development, the city demanded a large green space for public use. Built on the Citadel old fortress terrain, the park was inaugurated a few years before hosting the Universal Exposition (1888). Currently, in addition to its biodiversity, the Park stands out for its sculptures, waterfall, band-stand and buildings such as the old Citadel Arsenal (nowadays the Catalan Parliament headquarters), the Geology and Zoology museums, the Greenhouse and the Barcelona zoo.


8. Triumphal Arch

Built at the main entrance of the Universal Exhibition of 1888 (Citadel Park), this monument of 30 meters high and classical proportions symbolizes the respect of the city towards the nations participating in the Exhibition. The Triumphal Arch represents the gateway to Barcelona’s progress in the late 19th century.



9. 'Santa Caterina' Market

Built on the grounds of 'Santa Caterina' old convent, it was the first covered market in Barcelona (1848). In 2004 the market is refurbished by Miralles and Tagliablue architects. The current market stands out for its undulating roof and its mosaic inspired by Gaudí.

Curiosity: During the works, old convent archaeological remains appeared in the market subsoil.


10. And our Concierges advices!

Joan Manel Salamanca and Xavier Sanchís, Concierges of Mercer Barcelona and 'Les Clefs d'Or' members, are a city great connoisseurs. They reveal some of their favorite places in the Born distric:

“If you travel with children, we recommend you to visit the Chocolate Museum (Calle Comerç 36). If you want to relax, we suggest you to book a water circuit and a massage at 'Aire Barcelona' (Paseo Picasso 22). And if you fancy a real Barcelona aperitif, you should go to 'El Xampanyet' (Calle Montcada 22). But in any case, this historic district can be enjoyed simply by walking and discovering the medieval guilds of the street names. We especially like the 'Plaza de las Ollas' [Pots Square] where ancient kitchen utensils artisans were settled.”
Mercer Barcelona Concierges

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