There must have other hotels in Barcelona at the time where illicit lovers and thrill-seeking parejas could have gotten their rocks off (there certainly are quite a few today), but La Casita Blanca had slunk its way into urban folklore. When it closed in 2011, it had been operating for over 100 years, first as street level seafood restaurant with rooms to rent on the first floor where patrons, high on wine and lobster, could take a postprandial ‘siesta’. Pretty soon the napping became more popular that the snacking, and the entire building was taken over and turned into a meublé.
It was never white – in fact it was a rather ugly brown pile; bland, severe and lacking any of the adornment that graced the other fin de siècle buildings in the immediate area. The name came from the constant rotation of white sheets that could be seen at any given moment flapping from the clotheslines on the rooftop, as staff hurriedly prepared the beds below for the next guests.
It is said that unlike other love hotels used by hookers and sailors, La Casita Blanca’s clientele was the crème of Barcelona’s society. Apparently the owners had ingeniously reorganised the interior halls so as you would never set eyes on other guests, and the underground car park was remodelled so that cars could slip in and out with the utmost discretion. The luxurious rooms were ‘themed’ exotically– African, Oriental and the like and there were three buttons in each one; red to call a waiter, green for when you were ready to check out and yellow if you wished to order a taxi.
The plot where La Casita Blanca once stood is now a children’s playground. As part of the project, local street artists Sendys and Kram have painted these beguiling murals in homage to it. The Little White House is gone, but romance lives on.
*Big thanks to Yoya Busquets for the snaps!