Collserola, the mountain and natural park that separates Barcelona from the inland, hides many abandoned and forgotten places. The most interesting and mysterious one is without a doubt the Grand Casino and Hotel de la Arrabassada.
What makes the casino so special is its former majesty and size. Considering what it once was, it is hard to believe that it has almost been completely forgotten. Not many people know of its existence and to be honest, I stumbled on it by chance.
The Gran Casino de la Arrabassada was/is located in the Collserola natural park between Barcelona and Sant Cugat (Carretera de la Rabassada). Nowadays, however, not much is left of what was once an impressive symbol of wealth and status, Barcelona’s Titanic of buildings.
The building of the Gran Casino and Hotel started at the end of the 19th century. First the Gran Hotel was built, a luxurious hotel-restaurante with unique panoramic city views in the midst of nature. The tremendous success of the hotel gave place to the construction of the casino. At the time, the casino became Barcelona’s most important monument.
Many celebrities, politicians, journalists, and important business men attended the inauguration on July 15th 1911. Apart from the gambling halls, the Casino had several luxurious restaurants that employed reknown French chefs, VIP lounges, a theater, and an amusement park.
In 1912, however, gamblers were prosecuted and in 1923 the Spanish dictator Primo de Rivera explicitly prohibited all gambling activities. This is what consequently caused the downfall of the place.
During the Spanish civil war the casino became a suitable accommodation for the Comisaria de Carabineros (Spanish police men). Finally, in 1940 the place was demolished.