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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
Sweet dates

Desserts and sweets have an extensive trajectory in the national cuisine. Pastry is linked to Christian religious celebrations, as is the case of the Holy Week in Seville.


HISTORY OF PASTRY IN SPAIN

Each culture that has inhabited the territory has left its mark on the traditional sweet recipes. The first cakes date from the time of the Roman Empire, when the precious honey from Hispania is mixed with wheat flour for sweet preparations.

Afterwards, the Arab culture encourages the Spanish pastry-making with the sugar cane importation (in the East sugar cane was refined since the 9th century) and the use of nuts (such as almonds) in many cakes.

With the discovery of America, spices such as cinnamon, vanilla and coffee are introduced. But the ingredient that revolutionizes the European pastries is the cacao coming from Mexico. The first to use it are the Spanish confectioners who add sugar to compensate for their bitterness. Quickly, chocolate becomes an essential recipes ingredient, much appreciated socially.

María Luisa Restaurant

In the 18th century, the national confectionery is influenced by the modern pastry started in France (with the development of puff pastry). At the end of the 19th, the proliferation of specialized stores open to the public and the new machinery development contribute to the popularization of sweets.

Mercer Barcelona Breakfast

THE SWEETEST CALENDAR
Nowadays, the confectionary specialties are very assorted according to the geographical area and are closely linked to the Christian religious celebrations. Throughout the year, visitors can taste a variety of typical sweets, but Christmas and Easter are the dates with the greatest number of sweet preparations in the whole country.


THE SEVILIAN HOLY WEEK ‘TORRIJAS’
The ‘torrija’ is one of the Holy Week stars in Seville. This traditional sweet dates from the 15h century. The base of the ‘torrija’ is a slice of bread (traditionally bread from previous days) soaked in milk or wine, which is later coated in beaten egg, fried in a pan with olive oil until browned and finished bathing in honey, sugar or cinnamon: As simple as delicious. Don't miss our recipe!

SEE HOME-MADE 'TORRIJAS' RECIPE



María Luisa Restaurant


At the María Luisa Restaurant of the Mercer Sevilla, the chef makes a dessert of home-made ‘torrijas’ with honey bubbles and mango sorbet. 

Both at Mercer Sevilla and Mercer Barcelona desserts and sweets are also protagonists of our kitchens, as with them we try to surprise our guests and share our culture and local traditions.

Mercer Barcelona

Andalusian Patios

The Andalusian patio constitutes the common space by excellence within the popular architecture of Southern Spain. This architectural characteristic was consolidated by Romans, Arabs and Christians, over the centuries.

ROMAN PATIOS

In the patricians or wealthy Roman families homes ('domus'), there used to be a pond for rainwater collection (the 'impluvium') located in the center of an opened courtyard (the 'atrium') where rooms ('cubiculas') were distributed. The Roman Hispania courtyards used to be in marble, surrounded by columns and decorated with small statues and greenery.

MUSLIM PATIOS

The Muslim patios model was developed in the Al-Andalus from the 10th century. It was originally from the Eastern Countries, where houses were traditionally decorated with plants, flowers, fountains, canals or wells, as a symbolic representation of the ‘Garden Paradise'.

SEVILLIAN PATIOS

Seville has monumental courtyards examples as the ‘Patio de los Naranjos’ (Orange Tree Courtyard) in the  Cathedral; or the historical and impressive patios at the ‘Real Alcázar’; or the ‘Palacio de Las Dueñas’ patio where the Spansih poet Antonio Machado played in his childhood...

LIFE IN THE PATIOS

The patio represented the heart of the house, in which the family social life was structured, with dances, songs, meals, parties and celebrations. The house was organized around this interior courtyard. Being an opened air space, the patio helped the conditioning of the house: during the day, light entered in the house interior areas, and at night, the fresh air circulated to the adjacent rooms. Some houses had different patios which were used for the private owners life, the family and the domestic service.

Besides the daily life around the courtyards, they were also used for folkloric celebrations or spring festivals, such as the ‘courtyards festival’ in Córdoba or the ‘Fiesta de las Cruces de Mayo’ (My Crosses Festival) in Seville.

THE MERCER SEVILLA COURTYARD

There are many Sevillian patios styles. Beyond the classic Andalusian patio, there are modern concepts that are faithful to tradition. This is the case of the Mercer Sevilla courtyard.

Mercer Sevilla

The hotel is set in the old ‘Casa Palacio Castelar’, a 19th century small bourgeois palace renovated by the renowned Sevillian architects Cruz y Ortiz. It preserves original elements of the palace as the spectacular Andalusian central patio -the soul of the Mercer Sevilla- around which the 12 hotel rooms are located.

Mercer Sevilla

It’s an interior beautiful courtyard with marble floor and covered by a spectacular dome bathing the space with natural day light and harmony. Surrounding the patio, guests are astonished by the arches, the majestic marble staircase and high ceilings from the ancient palace noble floor.

Mercer Sevilla

A walk through La Rambla

Located just 8 minutes walking from Mercer Barcelona, La Rambla runs 1.2km: A pleasant tour from Plaça Catalunya to the sea. More than 78 million people a year stroll along the most famous street in the city.


"The street where the four seasons of the year live together, the only street on earth that I wish it would never end". [Federico García Lorca, Spanish poet]


HISTORY OF LA RAMBLA

The demolition of Barcelona walls which surrounded the city began in the 18th century. La Rambla (which for centuries was just a torrent of water to supply the city) is urbanized and transformed into a promenade in which the Catalan bourgeoisie built up beautiful palaces as their main residences. The locals turn La Rambla into the new main city axis, in which one could rent a chair and contemplate the spectacle of life.


POINTS OF INTEREST: LA RAMBLA FROM NORTH TO SOUTH

CANALETES FOUNTAIN

'Canaletes' refers to the waterway which supplied water to the city (15th century). The current fountain was created for the occasion of the Universal Exhibition (1888). According to the legend, whoever drinks water from this fountain is destined to return to Barcelona. Another peculiarity is that F.C. Barcelona supporters celebrate Barça’s victories around this fountain.

MOJA PALACE

This neoclassical style manor house was built in 1774 by the Marquis of Moja, where one of the entrance doors of medieval Barcelona used to be located. Declared Heritage of Cultural Interest, nowadays it’s the Catalan Heritage House.


PORTAFERRISSA

A public fountain of drinking water to supply the city was placed in one of the access doors to the fortified city (the 'Porta Ferriça' or Iron Gate) and it became very popular among the neighbors. Today, both the fountain and the street keep the name of the old door that was decorated with iron bars (unit of measure of the time). Nowadays on the ceramic tiles of the current fountain scenes from the everyday life of that time can still be seen.


LA BOQUERIA MARKET

From the 13rd century, merchants installed their stands in this location of La Rambla (they did it outside the walls to skip the goods entry tax to the city). The market opens in the 19th century on the emplacement of an old convent ('Sant Josep' or Saint Joseph). Nowadays it’s the largest local market in Catalonia with more than 200 merchants and one of the most emblematic points of the city.


BRUNO CUADROS HOUSE

Inspired by the modernist style that was beginning to be fashionable at that time, the architect Josep Vilaseca refurbished this building and the Bruno Cuadros umbrella store located on the ground floor in 1883. Also known as 'Umbrellas house' it brings an oriental touch to the eclectic Ramblas.


JOAN MIRÓ MOSAIC

Miró’s pavement was inaugurated in 1976 at 'La Boquería' Square on the Rambla. One of the main international abstract surrealism representatives, Joan Miró designed the mosaic as a greeting to travelers arriving by sea. The work has no protection and Rambla visitors walk daily on its pavement, expressly indicated by the artist.



LICEU THEATRE

The 'Liceu' is one of the most important opera houses in the world. Since 1847 it has been the stage of the most prestigious works. It has also been the meeting place of the Catalan upper class (in the lower floors of the theater), while the less opulent classes shared their opera passion on the upper floors. After its fire in 1994, it was rebuilt by incorporating notable technological improvements which made it one of the most modern theaters in the world.



'PLAÇA REIAL'

A year after the beginning of the “Liceu” construction, the Royal Square urbanization starts where the old Capuchins Convent used to be located. Important families of the time chose this square as their new residence. Currently, it has a more bohemian and crowded atmosphere.

GÜELL PALACE

Eusebi Güell (an important industrialist, politician and patron from Barcelona) orders Antoni Gaudí the construction of his new family residence (1886). The result is a unique mansion adapted to the private and social needs of the Güell family. The modernist palace was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.



COLUMBUS MONUMENT

Located at the confluence of La Rambla and the “Port Vell” (Old Harbor), Columbus Monument was built for the occasion of the Universal Exhibition (1888). It measures 57m high and an interior lift allows you to go to its viewpoint. Columbus's finger points out to the sea (initially it was said that it pointed out to America, which is located in the opposite direction).



Other points of interest in La Rambla, near the Mercer Hotel Barcelona: Virreina Image Center, Wax Museum, “Bosc de les Fades” (Fairy Forest Café), Santa Mònica Art Gallery, Maritime Museum and Aquarium.

"Van Gogh Alive" arrives at Seville: A journey of the senses through the geniur life and work.

For the first time in Spain, "Van Gogh Alive" - the most visited multimedia exhibition in the world - arrives at Seville from February, after visiting 30 cities and 4 continents.

“The vibrant colors and vivid details of Van Gogh's work are truly breathtaking”

This exhibition is a multisensorial experience invites you to enter the artistic world of Vincent Van Gogh (1853 - 1890) the universal Dutch painter, one of the main exponents of post-impressionism, who painted around 900 paintings and made more than 1,600 drawings.

“Forego all preconceived ideas of traditional museum visiting, change how you engage with art.”

The exhibition approaches the artist in a completely new way, breaking the conventional exhibition model and allowing visitors to interact with the pieces: Light, color and sound help to see the painter works and life through the senses.

"Visitors will be able to see ‘The Starry Night’ constellations or the windmills of his landscapes move, and see how ‘Wheat Field with Crows ‘birds take flight."

Projections and more than 3,000 large-scale recreated images transform the space and envelop the viewer in an authentic multimedia ambiance focused on audiences of all ages: Floors, ceilings, walls and columns give life to Van Gogh's work from completely new and unique perspectives.

When: From February 1st to April 15th 2018

Where: Pabellón de la Navegación (Isla de la Cartuja), Sevilla

Hours: From 10am to 9pm (1 hour passes)

More information

Interview with Rafa Liñán, Executive Chef at Mercer Sevilla

On the occasion of María Luisa Restaurant first anniversary, we interviewed chef Rafa Liñán.


The hotel Mercer Sevilla opened the doors of its María Luisa restaurant one year ago. Since then, the young Sevillian chef Rafa Liñán is in charge of the hotel's kitchen: A year full of challenges that we talk about with the chef.


With only 32 years old, after his time at the Heineken Hospitality School in Seville, chef Rafa Liñán starts his "learning trip". His training goes through kitchens of Hacienda Benazuza (Seville), Zaranda restaurant (Majorca), Calima (Marbella), Casa Alta (Seville) and Cambio de Tercio (London). And after two years in England, he returns to Spain to participate in the opening of the Estimar (chef Rafael Zafra restaurant in Barcelona) and Heart Ibiza (the Cirque du Soleil and Adrià brothers project). The last stop of his trip is in his region, at The Mercer Sevilla restaurant, “María Luisa”.

Mercer Hotel Sevilla

How do you feel having returned home to cook?

I’m happy and excited to return home with the knowledge acquired from all the great chefs and colleagues with whom I have worked during this time [he has collaborated with chefs as Rafa Zafra, Fernando Arellano, Dani García, Javier Padura, Lucas Bernal and Alberto Criado]. And whising to continue to imbibe new stories and experiences.

What kind of cuisine offers María Luisa's menu?

It’s a cuisine based on flavors of our land, Andalusia characteristic flavors, respecting and pampering the product, trying to offer the highest quality and proximity products as possible. The menu, directed by Rafa Zafra, aims to reinvent or, better said, rediscover the traditional Andalusian recipes, contributing new techniques to the cuisine we already know.

María Luisa Restaurant

So... Tradition or avant-garde cuisine?

In this point, I believe that both worlds go hand in hand at María Luisa restaurant. We try to respect the tradition to the maximum trying to doing it by it using more avant-garde techniques that provide a different touch but without losing the essence of the dish.

Where does the inspiration come from?

The inspiration comes from the raw material, from the local product, as well as from the traditional Andalusian recipes books. This is the starting point of our work.

You love Andalusian proximity products...

Having such excellent products in Andalusia as veal, olive oil, mushrooms, etc. we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work with them and proudly display our land. For example, bread is served daily from Bollullos town, fish and seafood are brought directly from Huelva and Cádiz: Conil, Isla Cristina, etc.

What dishes would you highlight from María Luisa's menu?

The Al-Andalus Style lamb with cauliflower couscous, the Aracena mushrooms with their jelly and starry eggs, or the Rota style sea bream. These are three dishes that clearly define our intentions: Traditional flavors, proximity products and avant-garde techniques. And they surprise the diner.

Let’s talk about the diner… How is the restaurant customer?

Our customer is everyone who loves good food and drink, open-minded to enjoy something different: Both guests staying at the hotel and other Seville visitors, and of course the Sevillians.

Mercer Hotek Sevilla

What’s the difference between Maria Luisa and other restaurants in Seville?

We offer a different service, in various spaces of the wonderful hotel, which is worth coming just to see its architecture and design... It’s like a “three acts” experience: A drink-aperitif and a series of snacks in the Cocktail Bar, the main dishes in the restaurant and finally we serve our “petit-fours” and coffees in the patio. We guide the diner through a gastronomic tour of the Andalusian flavors.

You are innovators...

Luckily, more and more colleagues are innovating and risking in Seville, and we are part of this group that wants the Sevillian culinary culture to evolve in this line, without losing the heritage of our flavors.

María Luisa Restaurant

Where does your passion for cooking come from?

My relationship with the kitchen begins in my own house, where I lived the love for the good table and good dishes to enjoy together in a family ambience.

An essential ingredient in your kitchen...

A good olive oil and local wines (fino, manzanilla, etc.), of course.


María Luisa Restaurant

Calle Castelar, 26. Seville (Spain)

Tuesday to Saturday, from 13.30 to 15.30h and from 20.30 to 23.30h

Closed Sunday and Monday

See Menu

The best of the Gothic Quarter, a few minutes walk from the Mercer

The Gothic Quarter, original core of the primitive Roman Barcino and medieval Barcelona is still nowadays the heart of the city. Its streets, squares, palaces and monuments overflow history and legends.


Located in the heart of the Gothic Quarter, the Mercer Barcelona has a superb location to discover some of the main city attractions, by going for a pleasant walk and enjoying the neighborhood’s atmosphere.



Barcelona Cathedral

Just 4 minutes walking from the hotel, you can find the Cathedral of Barcelona, also known as the "Seu" or the "Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia" Cathedral (the city’s patron). It was built for over 150 years, between the 13th and 15th centuries. The current facade was built for the Universal Exhibition of 1888 following the neogothic style. The Cathedral is one of the best city examples of Gothic architecture.

Curiosities: Did you know that the Cathedral’s gargoyles have fantastic animal shapes?


Roman wall

The foundation wall (1st century BC) surrounded the Roman Barcino, with 4 access doors that coincided with the main streets that crossed the city from end to end, with moats and some defensive towers. In the 4th century, Barcino is fortified again. The second Roman wall, stands in front of the existing wall, with 16 meters high and 76 defense towers. This new wall turns the city into a stronghold and allows its defense until the Middle Age. The remains of the wall and its towers are visible in different sections of the Gothic, such as the "Ramón Berenguer el Gran" square, next to the Cathedral.

Curiosities: One of the Roman wall defense towers is located inside Mercer Barcelona.


Plaça Sant Jaume

"Plaça Sant Jaume" (Saint James Square) is the political Barcelona center, with both palaces: the "Generalitat" (Catalonia autonomous government) and the City Council. It is worth to access from "Carrer del Bisbe" (Bishop Street) and not to miss the "Porta del Bisbe" (Bishop Door) the only of the foundation wall 4 doors that is still preserved, the beautiful Cathedral cloister or the emblematic "Pont del Bisbe" (Bishop Bridge) that connects the Catalonia Government Palace with the Catalan Presidents ancient residence, designed by the architect Joan Rubió i Bellver, Gaudí’s disciple.

Curiosities: Under this bridge there is a mysterious skull: The legend tells that those who cross back that bridge looking at the skull, will be granted a wish.


Plaça del Rei

"Plaça del Rei" (The King’s Square) is a magnificent testimony of the medieval period. This small square houses important buildings, such as the "Palau Reial Major" (Royal Palace) which was one of the Catalan Counts main residences between the 13th and 15th centuries, the "Mirador del Rei Martí" (King’s Martin Tower) with nice city views, the "Santa Àgata" Royal Chapel built in the 14th century on the Roman wall and the "Palau del Lloctintent" (Lieutenant Palace) from the 16th century, with a beautiful Renaissance courtyard.

Curiosities: In the square subsoil there are impressive archaeological remains of the Roman era, which can be visited in the City History Museum.


Plaça del Pí

Surrounded by two lively squares and in a medieval and bohemian atmosphere, stands the "Basilica of Santa Maria del Pí" (Saint Mary of the Pine Tree Church). It’s a Catalan Gothic style construction. Its rosette from the 14th century, the largest in Catalonia, was destroyed in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War and rebuilt a few years later. From its bell tower, open to the public recently, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city.

In front of the church stands the building that houses the “Casa del Gremi dels Revenedors” (old medieval shopkeepers' guild). Its beautiful facade has the sculpture of Saint Michael (guild’s patron), as well as the oldest engraving in the city.

Curiosities: From "Plaça del Pi" (Pine Tree Square) you can go to "Petritxol" Street to taste the best hot chocolate in town.


Plaça Reial

The "Plaça Reial" (Royal Square) is the most popular portico square in the city, in which the Three Graces fountain, the lampposts (one of Gaudi's first works in Barcelona in 1879) and the characteristic palms stand out. Once occupied by important Barcelona families, today is one of the most mythical and vibrant city points, both day and night.

Curiosities: Next to this square, on "Carrer del Vidre 1" (1, Crystal Street), you will find "Herboristeria del Rei" (King’s herbalist shop), one of the oldest shops in Barcelona: Founded in 1818 and renovated in 1857 when its founder was named "Queen's Chamber Herbalist" and "Official supplier of the Royal House" by the Queen Isabel II.



The historical heritage of Barcelona's Gothic Quarter is impressive. And for its unbeatable location, the Mercer Barcelona, enables you to stay a step away from them all.

Gastronomic Autumn in Seville

At María Luisa Restaurant we know that the best way to celebrate the Andalusian gastronomy is by sitting at the table.


Coinciding with the change of the season, María Luisa Restaurant at the Mercer Sevilla launches new lunch and dinner menus, with dishes based on the local tradition and focused on the product.


NEW LUNCH MENU

As a novelty for the autumn, María Luisa Restaurant proposes a new midday menu with a series of cold dishes, fried foods, Sevillian dishes and Andalusian specialties. The young Sevillian chef Rafa Liñán has created an informal, fresh and varied menu based on popular southern recipes.

María Luisa Restaurant

For starters diners can choose, for example, a homemade Russian salad with tuna belly or "salmorejo" and continue with fried marinated anchovies with lemon and coriander, battered prawns or Iberian ham croquettes. Among the stews include the pork cheeks with creamy potato or spinach with chickpeas and cumin, among others. María Luisa also serves local classics such as the black pig fillet muffin or the fore rib sandwich with Iberian ham and Padrón peppers.

María Luisa Restaurant

Finally, you should leave room for dessert, with delicious options as honey fritters with orange marmalade or strawberries with cream and goat cheese ice cream.

See Lunch Menu


DINNER AT MARÍA LUISA

When night falls on the Sevillian Arenal district, the María Luisa menu become more sophisticated. Dishes with an Andalusian flavor, selected product from the garden, land and sea, and an original presentation result in an unforgettable dinner at the Mercer Sevilla elegant setting.

María Luisa Restaurant

Among other specialties, dinner guests can enjoy the tomato from Los Palacios, the carpaccio of prawns from Motril, small langoustines from Huelva, marinated foie-grass, wild see bass, spicy marinara lobster, Iberian pork, or Al-Andalus style lamb.

See Dinner Menu


MARÍA LUISA RECIPE


Among the new cold starters, María Luisa's menu incorporates the "ratte potatoes", a delicious potatoes, avocado, shallot, tomato and capers salad, garnished with alioli, whose recipe we share with you, so that you encourage to do it at home! Bon appétit!

SEE RECIPE


María Luisa Restaurant

Tuesday to Saturday, from 1.30 to 3.30pm and from 8.30 to 11.30pm

Closed Sunday and Monday

Tel. + 34 95 422 30 04

restaurante@mercersevilla.com


Modernist Barcelona

THE 'MODERNISME'

After the Second Industrial Revolution developments, a new trend emerges in several European countries (French Art Nouveau, German Jugendstil or English Modern Style, among others). In line with this European movement, Modernism appears as a cultural movement that seeks to modernize Catalan society.

In spite of developing in multiple disciplines (painting, sculpture, decorative arts, music or literature), its most outstanding application is architecture, which experiments a real transformation between 1885 and 1920, particularly in Barcelona.



ITS CONTEXT

Between the middle and the end of the 19th century, Barcelona witness the demolition of the walls that surrounded the city, the urbanization of extramural grounds, the creation of the Eixample district and the celebration of the Universal Exhibition in 1888. The city is in full transformation. Publishers, printers, newspapers, entities and associations proliferate. And with this economic and urban development, a new industrial well-off, enlightened and modern bourgeoisie grows.

The Eixample new district is fashionable and its main lane (the Passeig de Gràcia) is chosen by the bourgeoisie to fix their residences. Architecture becomes a sign of status: Having a modernist house allows standing out in social circles. As a result, the city becomes a hive of construction by the hand of the best Catalan architects. Some of these bourgeois end up being architect admirers, friends and patrons, as the Count Güell and the architect Gaudí, who will collaborate for decades in several projects.



CHARACTERISTICS OF MODERNIST ARCHITECTURE

Modernism is a heterogeneous movement in which each artist has his personal style, but all agree on the will to break with traditional esthetic rules, reject the poor and industrial architectural style of the first half of the 20th century, creating new forms far from the academicism and placing Barcelona at the height of new European trends.

"Originality consists of returning to the origin; be original is to returns to the simplicity of the first solutions." (Antoni Gaudí)

The artistic renewal is based on the creative freedom, the symbology and the profusion of details in the decoration. The new architectural concepts are inspired in nature (organic and colorist forms) and movement (curved and asymmetrical shapes). The use of new post-industrial building materials (such as iron structures) coexists with traditional techniques and crafts (such as blacksmith or glassmaker). New solutions of space, light and interior design are born.



WORLD HERITAGE

In this new city, lively and wealthy, young architects find the ideal setting for developing, free, modern, personal and creative new forms of expression. The legacy of the modernist architecture includes more than 100 works of outstanding local architects such as Josep Puig i Cadafalch, Lluís Domènech i Montaner and Antoni Gaudí, main representatives of Catalan Modernism.

Some works have been listed by Unesco as Cultural Heritage of Humanity: The Palau de la Música Catalana or the Hospital de Sant Pau by Domènech i Montaner, as well as the Palau Güell, Park Güell, the Vicens, Batlló and Milà Houses or the Sagrada Familia Nativity façade and crypt by Antoni Gaudí.



MODERNIST CURIOSITIES

THE 'GOLDEN SQUARE'

Eixample district (as the bourgeois residential center of the time) concentrates most of modernist buildings. Known as the 'Golden Square', this area is included in the 'Modernism Route', a journey through the modernist architecture that runs through the central Barcelona streets. The main axes of this itinerary are indicated on the pavement by red flower-shaped tiles (called 'panots') similar to those created by the architect Puig i Cadafalch for the carriage yard at the Amatller family house and later used to pave many Barcelona streets.



THE ‘BONE OF CONTENTION’

Inside the ‘Quadrat d'Or’, on the Passeig de Gràcia section between Aragó and Consell de Cent streets, architects Puig i Cadafalch, Domènech i Montaner and Gaudí built the houses for the Amatller (1898), Lleó Morera (1902) and Batlló (1904) families, respectively. Inhabitants of Barcelona named this section as the ‘Bone of Contention’ due to the impossibility of determining which of these spectacular houses was the most beautiful, as well as the supposed rivalry between these outstanding architects.



In short, these and other sensational modernist buildings remain an essential part of the Barcelona personality. The Mercer Hotel Barcelona Guest Relations Department will be delighted to organize a private tour with official guide for you to discover the uniqueness and genius architecture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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