The Palau Guell in Barcelona may look ordinary outside but wait until you step on inside. It’s splendid! Truly magnifique!
Barcelona is love not because of its 24/7 party scenes, but also because it has some of the most architecturally and artistically revered ancient buildings such as the Paul Guell Mansion.
I was in the city only for a few days and boy, there’s so much art around. And there’s no doubt that Gaudi rules above all other artists. In fact, Barcelona is also called “The City of Gaudi.” That’s how famous he is Catalan. His works are visible everywhere. Art was merely an excuse, I wanted to see Palau Guell – I wanted to see how how the wealthy aristocrats of the past resided in their designer mansions and how those very designers managed to create the residence of their dreams.
Ready? Let me take you inside.
The famous architect (not very famous when the mansion was being built) Gaudi was given the task of designing an exquisite and ostentatious mansion by Eusebi Guell – a one hell-of-a-wealthy business tycoon of the era – in 1885.
Basically, he wanted not just any building, but the one that could show off his wealth and appropriately accommodate his wealthy guests. He was a frequent party thrower, after all.
So, to meet his demands, Gaudi did something very unusual. He mixed three very distinct and unique styles and created a mansion with high vaulted ceilings, impeccable floor designs, and secretive peek holes that were all too ostentatious – just the way Guell wanted it.
All of what I saw in the mansion were indeed posing with their real respective origins: The Gothic, Islamic and Art Nouveau.
Of course, the whole mansion has a mesmerizing aura, but what really is jaw-dropping is the way the floors of the mansion are planned, despite the fact that the original area available for construction was only 18×22.
My self-guided tour kicked off from the first floor. As I entered the huge wrought iron gates that have been embellished with entwined whip-like structures, I was greeted by a beautiful vestibule and a staircase that lead to the upper floor. The staircase was lined by sandstone columns, but instead of climbing them to reach the upper floor, I started on the huge ramp that led to the basement. This was the place where the horses were kept when their owners left for the “party”.
After taking in the exuberance of the mushroom columns and the servant quarters in the basement, I began upward on the ramp and still upward on the stairs that lead to the upper floor; and thus, the main hall where the guests were received. This floor is also called the mezzanine floor and it also has the library and the workrooms that were used by Eusebi Guell and his employees.
After gawking at the magnificence of this floor, I headed towards the main floor or the Beletage. Here’s where the landlord lived with his family and here’s where the architectural exuberance reaches its summit.
What I saw on this floor were a tribune that shelters the entrances, stained glasses that filtered lights in immaculate colors, a salon (some 17-meter high) that depicted intricate murals and a parabolic ceiling with its tilted mosaics and fancy design, and chimney pots that, too, had the same fanciness.
The salon located here served as a social gathering and a service room. This makes the northern part of the floor, while the southern part has the dining room and other family-oriented spaces such as a billiard room, kitchen, washrooms, and pantry.
Today, Palau Guell is not anymore a mansion as it used to be, but a heritage site that has answers to the questions raised by Picasso on the work of Gaudi. UNESCO has already included it in its heritage sites’ list and I could definitely see why. It is indeed a beautiful mansion!
Saving Tips in Barcelona
With so many things to do and places to see, Barcelona can be overwhelming for a visitors. If you’re a kind of traveler who doesn’t like taking public transport and long queues at the ticket booth, I’d recommend you buy Barcelona Pass. This pass will take you to places that you shouldn’t miss in the city. Click here and see how much you can save.
I stayed in these two hostels in Barcelona: Urbany Hostel BCN Go and TOC Hostel Barcelona. I’d recommend both. They’re in good location and very accessible to the metro. In fact, they’re just across each other.There are also shops and restaurants all around the area. However, when it comes to comfort and amenities, I’d prefer TOC Hostel because the rooms are spacious and beds are sturdy. They have nice cafe and swimming pool, too!