By Kenz Meadows for Squarely Magazine
Home to the ongoing project that is La Sagrada Familia, gracefully nestled between the wilderness of la Serra de Collserola and the siren song of the Mediterranean Sea–Barcelona is both dreamy and other-worldly. Its evolution into a hub of technology superimposed over its indelible cultural identity makes it a dynamic destination for a city break. If you’re after a refined and lively dreamscape of a holiday, look no further. Spend your days nibbling on boquerones at bustling tapas bars, reading on Nova Icaria beach, and exploring the cultural jewel box that is Parque Guell.
Should you need any help in cultivating that dreamscape, and you happen to be a woman, reciprocal club Juno House is going to be a must-see on your trip. We spoke with Founder & CEO Natalie Batlle, who extolled the virtues of the city as “pulsating with a passionate spirit that is reflected in its architecture, cuisine, and diverse cultural scene,” and she would know, having been a resident of the city for a decade. The dynamism of Barcelona lies in the relationship between its commitment to innovation and its strong cultural heritage. The city is a tech hub that takes things like the reduction of water and energy consumption, along with the implementation of accessible public transport seriously. Its cultural heritage can be seen nearly everywhere you look. It’s written in the facades of its historic architectural legacy and is palpable in its casual but cultivated dining scene.
It’s easy to move between neighborhoods for a taste of what each borough has to offer. Remember that concern for accessible public transit? Tourists reap the benefits just as well as locals. Sucker for a bygone era that I am, I loved tracing the steps of another century in El Born. Maybe (probably) you’re much more with the times and will think the cafes of Gràcia are to die for. If you’re on the fence leaning toward a drinking holiday as I most certainly always am, take a sip of El Raval, which is renowned for its nightlife and assemblage of bars. And when you’re ready to indulge in a little pampering, head back to the heart of the city and drop into Juno House.
Dubbed a “Playground for Modern Women,” Juno House resides in a gorgeous pink historic building, equipped with all the playthings a modern woman could ask for. “Chic” might actually be the most appropriate word to describe the club. With clean lines and warm colors, there’s a softness throughout the space that creates both a professional environment as well as a place to relax and engage. Which, according to Batlle, is precisely the point. “Juno House serves as a meeting point for modern women looking to impact society while growing personally and professionally. By uniting business and pleasure under one roof, Juno exemplifies the modern woman’s desire for balance and conciliation in a bustling environment.” Amen, sister.
“Juno House is a modern oasis, in the heart of the city,” says Batlle. Aside from the soft and beautiful interiors, what is it that makes Juno such a worthwhile destination? “Our enlightening round tables fuel intellectual dialogues with experts on a variety of relevant topics whilst our medical consultancy service, yoga classes, and a curated, healthy, and delicious menu prioritize women’s holistic well-being.” If that doesn’t sound like just the self-care ticket after exploring all day in the Mediterranean heat, I’m not sure what would.
Batlle’s top three recommendations for newcomers to the Catalonian coast? Food, of course, is first and foremost on the list, “Savor Barcelona’s heart-healthy Mediterranean cuisine, passing through the food markets and eating your way through the city.” I, for one, definitely justified my occasional over-indulgence with the insistence that it was all ‘heart-healthy,’ and you can too. She also recommends immersing in the architecture, not just the Gaudís, but the “labyrinthine lanes of the Gothic Quarter,” as well. Finally–Batlle would be remissed without encouraging all to do as Barcelonians do. “Engage with the Barcelonians’ warm, passionate approach to life, joining in local festivities, and sharing stories in bustling plazas.” And with that, we bid you Bon Viatge!