Category Archives: barcelona

My Year in Travel – 2013

This year was a great year of travel for me, hitting some brand new destinations and revisiting some of my old favorites. BUT, for me, the VERY BEST thing about this year in travel are all the wonderful people who I met or was reunited with in various locations around the world. My travels wouldn’t be anything without the people on my journey.

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January saw me in NYC and meeting friends old and new – who knew how important they’d all become in my life over the course of this year. I count my blessings for you.



In January I also skied in Verbier, Switzerland and absolutely loved my time with the legendary Warren Smith. I truly hope to see him again in 2014.


Rounding out January, I went to Copenhagen for the very first time and got to reconnect with a travel friend, Christoffer. I loved the cool capital city of Denmark.

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February saw me catching up with a dear travel buddy, Anita, in Montreal, Canada for the very first time. We had a ball doing all kinds of wintery fun things like staying in an Ice Hotel and going to Igloofest.

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March was my month for Barcelona & Costa Brava, Spain. I was thrilled to meet up with a fellow traveler, Brian, in Barcelona and was lucky enough to see him again in London in November.

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Going to Costa Brava was an incredible experience. I love that area of Spain and really cannot get enough, especially of the coast. But, the people on this trip really made it the very best. I can’t imagine a more fun press trip.

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April found me in back in NYC. I always love my NYC trips because I get to catch up with very special friends like Jeff & Craig – 2 of my favorites!!

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May saw me in my favorite, Miami. I cannot get enough of this city. While I had my usual fun of beach, pool, dinner, drinks and dancing, I particularly enjoyed working with the fantastic luxe swimwear company, Orchid Boutique, during this trip. Talk about a great collection as well as a staff of kindred spirits!

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June was an incredible month chalked full of fun things. Kicking off in Toronto for a conference with so many of my favorite fellow travelers, I actually wonder if we’ll ever be able to beat our #RWTBEX time here. I love you all so much!

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I also got to spend a bit of time with one of my most lovely traveling partners, Mrs. O, Ana. I was able to show her a bit of Americana in the amazing seaside town of Newport, Rhode Island. We had a ball doing Newport the luxe way.

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Wrapping up my June, I had an incredible visit to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. What a great girls weekend we had there and our host, the Bahia Hotel and Carlos, made my trip 100% amazing. Cannot wait to return.

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July found me back in Euroland – one of Lola’s favorites. Although, this was a “repeat” journey of sorts, I did manage to do a few new things. One of which was going to the Henley Royal Regatta.


Post-UK was a return visit to Prague and Budapest. Two of my favorites that I’ve never visited in the summertime. Absolutely stunning! So was hanging out with friends made on a previous trip. Always nice to share a beer with good people.

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August took me back to Montreal once again and NYC. This trip was extra special because of the time well spent with lifelong friends and a last visit with a friend that would soon depart. Anita, Montreal will always make me think of you fondly. I love you and that city so much.



September took me to two cities I wanted to know better. First was Seattle with my newly found soul mate, Erin. There is nowhere I wouldn’t go with this girl. And we both wanted to celebrate happy moments, like our dear friends, Captain & Clark’s wedding!

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Toward the end of September, Erin and I were reunited again in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. I like to think of it as the city of sisterly love! We had a blast discovering different neighborhoods of Philly & laughing with each other all the while.

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October I was lucky enough to be reunited with 2 of my favorite traveling partners again, Ana & Mary Anne along with Mary Anne’s BFF Maxine, for a GLAM LA girls weekend.

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November was a busy fun month with a visit back to the UK for a conference and reconnecting with so many fun friends from around the world. I’m so glad our paths cross from time to time.

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Followed up by a quick jaunt to France and Amsterdam for more girlfriend fun. I wouldn’t choose to travel any other way. Traveling with Ashley, Ana & Mary Anne was the very best.

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And I managed to squeeze in a last minute trip back to NYC with my girlfriends and once again be reunited with some of my favorite people.

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In December I finished off my year of travel back in Miami to celebrate Erin’s birthday. I cannot think of a better place to end my year. It is my happy spot and it was made so much better being there, laughing and enjoying life, with two of my travel besties, Erin & Esther.

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Maybe you see some common themes in my travels. Repeat places, repeat friends, repeated silliness and smiles. Traveling is my lifeline and a huge part of my heart as are all the people I meet along the way. My world is better for all of you. Here’s to many more reunions on the road and good times ahead in 2014! Happy travels…

XO – Lola


Filed under amsterdam, barcelona, budapest, cabo san lucas, copenhagen, costa brava, henley-on-thames, london, los angeles, miami, montreal, new york, newport, philadelphia, prague, seattle, toronto, travel, verbier

Explore Barcelona on a Budget


Barcelona is one of the most popular destinations for short vacations and city breaks in Europe. It’s no wonder really, from beautiful architecture and history to spectacular scenery and beaches, the Catalan capital has it all.

It would be easy to jet off to Barcelona and come back penniless but it’s also possible to explore this Spanish city on a shoestring budget – as long as you know where to look. Before you book, make sure you don’t blow the little cash you have on getting there. You’ll want all the spending money you can get so find budget flights here and keep more cash in your pocket.


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Barcelona isn’t known as Gaudi’s city for no reason at all – it’s full of some of his most famous work. If you want to get up close and personal with Sagrada Familia and Casa Batllo, take a walk around the city. If you want to avoid spending on tours, follow the Ruta de Modernsime – marked by red symbols on the ground.

To market, to market

One sure way to blow your budget is to head to the many designer boutiques, but that’s not to say you can’t enjoy a shopping trip. Take advantage of the market stalls lining Las Ramblas and the indoor market, Boqueria Market. You’ll be able to soak up a bit of the atmosphere as you peruse the fresh produce and handmade crafts.


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When in Rome (or Spain) it would be rude not to follow the local customs. Fortunately for you, the Spanish make excellent hosts and some bars will even serve up free tapas when you buy a drink. It’s harder to find in the city, but there are a few bars which are still willing. If you can’t find free tapas, it’s still one of the more budget-friendly dining options as you can order a selection to share with friends.

Free entry

If you like a bit of culture, you’ll be pleased to hear that the majority of the museums in Barcelona are free to enter at specific times. The National Museum of Art is free on Saturday afternoons, while the Picasso Museum is free on the first Sunday of the month. Plan your trip around the free admission times and explore the city for nothing.


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After you’ve exhausted the city center, it’s time to move to the coast. Barcelona’s beaches are one of its biggest attractions with millions of people visiting every year. Whether you just want to top up your tan, try out a new water sport, or kick back with a cocktail, the beaches are a must-see and will only cost you a little investment in sunscreen!


Filed under barcelona, spain, travel

One Day Stay: Barcelona, Spain


Barcelona is a city full of a Gothic and Modernist architecture on the Mediterranean Sea and is considered the second capital of Spain. Known for its quirky, cosmopolitan and hip style, Barcelona has a lot to offer including amazing nightlife. From a cozy & traditional Spanish bar to a hot, happening club, this is just one of the reasons Barcelona is a perfect place to go for a ‘One Day Stay’. You will find history, arts and a culture unique to the Catalan region of Spain plus fab places to shop, dine and drink. Barcelona is also a great hopping point to many other adventures, be it in Spain or elsewhere.


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This visit to Barcelona wasn’t Lola’s first and that certainly makes it seem easier to go to such an outstanding city and not stay long. I’d say any excuse to go to Barcelona is worthwhile BUT, to me, a big part of any trip is the choice of where you stay. Your ‘home away from home’ can largely set the tone for the rest of your time, in my opinion. I always say, if you choose wisely all else will fall into place AND for me, this is W Barcelona. To be honest, I could have never left the property and found everything I was looking for during my time in Barcelona. A hip & cool scene, good food, great cocktails and dancing – W Barcelona has ALL OF THIS under one roof, on a beach, touching the Mediterranean Sea. Honestly, can you picture a more perfect place for moi?! No, I didn’t think so. Completely LOLA APPROVED! Like all that is unique in Barcelona, the architecture of W Barcelona is a sight to behold. Known as ‘The Sail’, I think it looks like a gorgeous wave rising from the sea heading for the beach ahead. With just under 500 rooms, W Barcelona offers 9 different room categories, 3 restaurants, 2 bars and 1 club plus the FAB spa by Bliss. Rooms are bright, crisp & clean with all kinds of amenities special to the property. Standouts for Lola are the W Insider services available to all guests, the Whatever/Whenever philosophy, 24 hour room service AND the hot pink sequined wall!! 😉


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Barcelona is notorious for being a late night city with a great club scene SO one must do that when they have limited time in Barcelona to get a feel for the place. W Insiders suggested Privé Barcelona as they have very exclusive access and are specialists in cocktails. (Very Lola – hello VIP) They also have a great dance floor! Privé is a premium club with loads of style. Accommodating up to 350 guests, I liked that the club wasn’t overly crowded and overwhelming as many clubs can be. If you dare to dance, you will be under 500 color diamonds with the latest technology in RGB independent lights that’s only available in 3 clubs in the world: London, Shanghai and now Privé Barcelona. The music starts pumping at 1am and lasts til 5:30. I think I managed a respectable 4:30am my evening there. I really loved Privé Barcelona. The drinks, the DJ’s tunes, the cool crowd all = a great time. Will definitely go back there when next in Barcelona.


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While I enjoyed many a tasty cocktail during my short visit in Barcelona (Negroni at WAVE and gin & tonics at Ura & Privé Barcelona) my favorite spot that really added to my time was a simple stand on the Barceloneta boardwalk. It was such a gorgeous day that particular Sunday in Barcelona that there wasn’t much left for choices of a walk-up and walk-away drink. I went for a caipirinha and it was soooo delicious. Maybe it had something to do with the surrounding scenery of the marina, beach, music and people BUT to me, it was the best tasting drink of my whole time in Barcelona and probably the least expensive too.


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When I asked W Insiders to set up dinner for some friends and me in Barcelona on Saturday evening, one place they suggested was Ura. I always look for the hip & cool and thought it best to ask the experts, which is EXACTLY what W Insiders are. Ura was described as having a festive young atmosphere with delicious food from the north of Spain. AND, bonus, it turns into a great spot for after dinner drinks later on. I can completely attest to this as our reservation was for 9:30 and the place was practically empty but by midnight tables were being carried away to make room for the throngs of people looking to see and be seen. I thoroughly enjoyed the warm & casual atmosphere of Ura and found the food wonderful as well as the cocktails. Ura even had a fun magician going from table to table to keep things lively. Truth be told, this is something I’m typically not fond of but at Ura it completely works by just adding to the jovial vibe. This is one Barca resto I would recommend to anyone.

PS – I really feel as though I should give an honorable mention to Eclipse at W Barcelona as well. Up at the top on the 26th floor, it’s a GREAT club scene that I enjoyed quite a bit as well. Well done W Barcelona, well done you.



Filed under barcelona, hipster hotels, one day stay, spain, travel

how i traveled to five major cities in 18 hours

and not just 5 cities – five major cities in four countries!


on my way to Spain in March i ran into some trouble. for one, there was a massive overnight snowstorm on the East Coast that waylaid everything. at first, this actually seemed to be a good thing as i underestimated time to clear off my car and drive the snowy roads of Massachusetts. i was terribly relieved to find out my flight was delayed. once i got settled at the airport, however, it became evident it was going to be so delayed that i would miss my connection in NYC direct to Barcelona. (now you see where i’m going with this, right?!)

once in NYC i was told i was being re-routed now through London. GREAT! Heathrow. the roughest security on earth. plus, i brought my €’s not my £’s for the airport. moving on. what about my bag?! i was told some kind of airline mumbo-jumbo term for “we’ll call and tell them you’re changing carriers and to pull your bag”. fingers crossed i ever see that bag again…

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what’s this? Lola wasn’t supposed to be over this land mass!!

so off i go from NYC to London. once i land in London and make my to the next security check point (UGH) they won’t let me continue on. WHY? there’s no way i’ll make my next connection. SO…go stand in another airline ticket line. get told there are no more directs on their carrier and you’re switching to another and being routed through Amsterdam!! SERIOUSLY…goodbye luggage.

now faced with extra time at Heathrow and no Pounds to speak of i had to use my credit card. luckily, a while ago i had taken the time to compare credit cards i currently held with others out there and now have one that is accepted worldwide with NO foreign transactions fees. Lola wouldn’t have to go hungry at Heathrow.

i spy wooden shoe key chains & bottle openers. i must be at the Amsterdam airport?!?!

i spy wooden shoe key chains & bottle openers. i must be at the Amsterdam airport?!?!

the remainder of the flights were glitch free. i met a nice man on the flight to Amsterdam, made my final leg to Barcelona and arrived there only 8 hours later than anticipated. during this whole debacle i was coming up with a contingency plan for the bag situation. you see, i made a rookie travel mistake and only had the clothes i was wearing with me…no spare set in case of delayed/lost baggage.


cute dress from El Corte Ingles – disaster averted!

well you can be sure, after 3 different carrier changes and flying through all those massive airports that my bag DID NOT arrive with me. CONTINGENCY PLAN springs into action. i had been madly tweeting with Barcelona friends and was tipped off where to go for one-stop shopping. basically, as soon as i claimed my luggage lost i had approximately 2 hours to shop and get ready before heading out for dinner!! i wasn’t about to miss going out on Saturday in Barcelona at a trendy restaurant and cool late night club. Thankfully El Corte Ingles came to my rescue and i could find a cute dress, top for the next day, a pair of sandals for both days & some new underwear pretty efficiently. AND even with my lack of Spanish and the staff’s lack of English, somehow they were able to tell me to go get a discount card so tourists don’t pay the VAT tax. Gracias!

fun top a la El Corte Ingles - gracias!

fun top a la El Corte Ingles – gracias!

i still need to claim my purchases with the last carrier so i can be reimbursed! UGH – PAPERWORK. the only thing that makes it all less painful is that i used points from my reward credit card to purchase the flight so it’s not like i’m out TONS of money. 

PS – i had a super fun Saturday night out in my new outfit in BARCA & my bag did turn up 24 hours later. it apparently had a great night out in the UK!



Filed under airlines, barcelona, london, new york, travel

Travel Style – a #FriFotos Special Edition

Stylin’ & Profilin’

Lola's #Style is #lolafied

Lola’s #STYLE is #lolafied

I’m excited to share that I’ll be co-hosting #FriFotos on Twitter this Friday, April 26. In case you aren’t clear what #FriFotos is exactly, it’s a 24-hour chat that trends internationally. People worldwide share their photos that match the week’s theme and you can play along if you’re on Twitter or Instagram by following the #FriFotos hashtag and including it in your Tweets with your photos.

The usual hosts will be there: @FriFotos who can also be tweeted to as @TravelDesigned, @EpsteinTravels & @CharlesYap. I’m sharing co-hosting with ooo lala @purplepassport AND you can find me @LolaDiMarco. NOW onto this week’s theme. After a little discussion we decided on #STYLE. I think this is a fantastic topic for #FriFotos because it can apply to lots of things with regard to travel. Like is your #STYLE solo travel, backpacker or luxe? Is your accommodation #STYLE swanky, hip or budget? What’s your travel food #STYLE or even libations #STYLE? You get my point, right?! #STYLE is about the LIFESTYLE of travel too. Of course, I think the more creative the better and to help inspire you I’ve put together some ideas to show you LOLA’S TRAVEL #STYLE.



Theres no doubt about it. My travel #STYLE involves lots and lots of PINK wherever I can pull it off!

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Lola’s drink #STYLE of choice is COCKTAILS

Seen here are a Dark & Stormy at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Ultimate Gin & Tonic at SLS Beverly Hills, CA, 3 different versions of Negronis at Four Seasons Florence, Italy & the delicious Eastern Standard at Soho Beach House, Miami.

my travel #Style most certainly includes luxury hotel stays

my travel #STYLE most certainly includes LUXURY hotel stays

Don’t know what your #STYLE is for accommodations but mine’s definitely one where I’m looking for something special! These properties absolutely fit the special #STYLE bill. Seen here are two Four Seasons properties: Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, CA and Four Seasons Milan in Milan, Italy. AND two Relais & Chateaux properties: Bellevue Syrene in Sorrento, Italy and Villa Galicci in Aix en Provence, France. I can assure you that I have never stayed in any Relais & Chateaux or Four Seasons property that didn’t meet every expectation in GREAT #STYLE.

Lola #Style also goes with HIP hotels

Lola’s #STYLE also goes with HIP hotels

My travel #STYLE enjoys finding the new hot spots too. These hotels certainly exude a HIP #STYLE. We’ve got Mondrian SoHo in NYC, W Barcelona in Spain, The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas & The James Royal Palm in Miami. All very HIP. All very COOL.

FACT: Lola hearts the #Style of a beach vacay

FACT: Lola hearts the #STYLE of a beach vacay

It’s gotta be NO surprise that my travel #STYLE is definitely one that leans toward beach vacations. Sun, sand & the sea make me so happy! Here are a few of my favorite beachy spots: Miami Beach in Florida, Gouverneur Beach in St. Barts, Lucy Vincent Beach in Martha’s Vineyard, MA and Cas Abao Beach in Curacao.

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very important in my world…minibar #STYLE

One thing that I’ve found that really sets some properties apart is a beautiful, well-appointed minibar! First up is the BEST up so far – Soho Beach House, Miami. To the right is Mondrian SoHo, NYC. Below is Four Seasons Florence, Italy. To the left is W Barcelona, Spain. If you love a cocktail to start your evening off right or to have a night cap at days end, a minibar with serious #STYLE is essential! Just sayin’

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Lola’s #STYLE is definitely all about a FAB hotel pool

I don’t care if it’s not even warm enough to sun yourself, there’s something amazing about the #STYLE of great swimming pool. Granted, I prefer the sunshine & warmth option in my travel plans. Found here are Delano South Beach in Miami, W Barcelona in Spain, Petit Palace in Santorini, Greece and Soho Beach House in Miami. I ask you what’s not to LOVE about these pool’s #STYLE?

I hope these examples of #STYLE has got your creative juices flowing. It will be so FUN if you come PLAY along on Friday on Twitter with #FriFotos. Don’t forget to tweet to me @LolaDiMarco and add the hashtags #STYLE and #FriFotos to your photos. I look forward to seeing you & your travel #STYLE there!

xo – LOLA


Filed under amalfi coast, barcelona, california, caribbean, cocktails, curacao, europe, florence, florida, france, greece, hipster hotels, italy, martha's vineyard, miami, milan, new york, spain, st. barts, swanky luxe stays, travel, USA, vegas