In 1992 Barcelona was transformed. As the host city of the Olympic Games that year, the Catalonian capital was under the World’s looking glass. Its superbly well run games and extreme beauty and vibrancy gave it a gravitas that other similar European cities (in terms of stature) could only look on at and envy.
The 1992 Olympic Games had various positive by-products for Barcelona in terms of trade and investment, bringing new wealth to a city that had been somewhat ravaged by the tyrannical actions of the former Spanish despot General Franco. Built for the games, Marina Port Vell was one such by-product. Marina Port Vell is a world-class home port for superyachts, perfectly positioned in the heart of Barcelona and houses a “148-berth luxury facility, creating the ultimate destination for yachts up to 190 metres” (Source: http://www.marinaportvell.com/) .
Anella Alcott, marketing manager for the marina, notes “Normally marinas tend to be off the beaten track. We are unique as we are in the heart of one of the best cities in the world”. Along those lines, Alcott is indeed correct. The marina is superbly placed for inbound yachters to dock – a stone’s throw from the World Trade Center Barcelona – it truly is a city centre Marina.
That city it is placed in is indeed, as Alcott says, one of the World’s finest metropolitan districts. From the architecture of Antoni Gaudi at sites dotted around Barcelona (the stunning, unfinished masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia, and the astonishing landscape conception, Parc Guell, being particular highlights) to the imposing beauty of the Barri Gotic quarter, and from the fabulous, dizzying heights of the hills of Montjuic right back down to the relaxed sandy ground of the city’s beach, Barcelona is a feast for the eyes.
Not content with simply negating aural hunger, however, the city also boasts some 22 Michelin starred restaurants and countless other hidden gastronomical gems. Barcelona is known the World over for its fine seafood and Spanish and Catalan classics, but its high class dining extends to cuisine from across the World. If other sensory pleasures are what tantalise, then the various live music venues, theatres, museums and galleries will surely enrapture. The home of Picasso, Joan Miro and, for a brief period, even George Orwell, Barcelona truly is one of the World’s great cities. It is no surprise, then, that in 2014 it ranked #10 in Forbes’s list ‘The World’s Top 10 Most Visited Cities (Source: http://www.forbes.com/pictures/ehlk45iehm/10-barcelona/).
But if high culture, world-renowned dining and stunning natural beauty and architecture are not enough, then one can always indulge in sports. Of course, when one mentions sports and Barcelona, one need look no further than arguably the World’s most famous football team: Barcelona CF. The current Spanish champions and Champions League finalists (at the time of writing) boast a team full of World Class talent, including the man regarded by many as the greatest player in the World: Lionel Messi. It is little wonder, then, that the Qatar Foundation paid a widely reported EUR 170 million in 2010 to become the club’s shirt sponsor.
Along this line, and rather obviously so given this publication’s editorial premise, we can see that investment into Barcelona and many of its businesses and features is ongoing and indeed large scale. Marina Port Vell, then, is exactly the kind of offshoot that happens when foreign wealth moves in and boosts a city’s economic prospects manifold. A genuine superyacht powerhouse with global recognition, its esteem is undoubted. No longer are superyachts controlled by Monaco, Capri and Marbella. Now, almost as an emerging market of its own, Barcelona is the place of choice to dock for many super yacht owners and, indeed, Marina Port Vell will be the point at which they dock before taking in this fabulous city and deciding to spend their sizeable wealth here. Barcelona now finds itself constantly under the World’s looking glass and the eyes poking through are more and more those of the World’s most high net worth individuals.