The Malagarriga Family and Tibidabo
A hotel family since 1826
As a family tradition in Hotel sector and Barcelona since 1826, we are delighted to share with you part of our history that its link with the Tibidabo amusement park and temple.
In this post we will explain you the history of Tibidabo and how our father, José María Malagarriga Miralbell and, later, with our mother Pilar Vallet Hernández, dedicated body and soul to the restaurants (La Masía, La Miranda and the Pim, Pam, Pum) and hotels of Tibidabo (Hotel La Masía and Hotel Florida).
A little history of the Tibidabo Amusement Park
It all began in 1886, when a neo-Gothic chapel dedicated to the Sacred Heart was built at the top of Tibidabo, and in 1902 the first stone of the temple that today presides over the mountain was laid.
Later a tramway would be built from the Bonanova road to a funicular that would reach the top of Tibidabo where an amusement park would be set up.
On October 21, 1901, Cardinal Casañas, bishop of Barcelona, inaugurated the Tibidabo Amusement Park in front of 500 guests, which soon became the preferred area for the upper middle class, where they could enjoy themselves and have lunch at the Hotel Restaurant Coll or at the Gran Café.
In 1924, to facilitate the arrival of clients to the new Hotel Florida, a little train was built to travel along the entire ridge of the mountain.
The outbreak of war in 1936 led to the collectivization of the Tibidabo amusement park, which was abandoned, and the Sacred Heart temple was semi-destroyed.
Years of restoration and modernization
Once the war was over, the “S.A. El Tibidabo” was constituted with the Andreu family in charge, the enclosure was restored and new attractions arrived, the Gran Café Restaurant Tibidabo and the Hotel Coll were refurbished, which in 1946 became the restaurant La Masía and in 1947 “the labyrinth” was opened, becoming the first attraction after the war.
The difficulty of accessing the enclosure from the city was the main handicap of the amusement park and in 1953 a new train station in Sarrià was inaugurated in Avenida del Tibidabo.
Tibidabo, children’s paradise” is the park’s new slogan.
The park will be updated with important improvements, the integral reform of the funicular and new attractions.
Our father’s, José Mª Malagarriga Miralbell, leading management
At the end of the 50’s, our father was already in charge of all the hotels owned by the Andreu family, the Florida, La Masia, La Rotonda and, shortly, the emblematic and impressive “Cap Sa Sal” in Begur on the Costa Brava.
The Continental was not so directly managed by my uncle Enrique and other brothers, together with my grandfather, Francisco Malagarriga Fabra… but let’s continue with the history of Tibidado…
After 60 years of works, as a result of the destruction during the war, the Temple of the Sacred Heart was inaugurated on October 10, 1961.
In 1970, the Tibidabo Park was enlarged, which opened the go-kart circuit, the La Miranda restaurant, the merry-go-rounds, the “Casa de Cristal” (Glass House). It is the most golden decade of Tibidabo. My brother José María and I were born in 1969 and 1970 respectively.
What a blessing to have a father as director of Tibidado! We only had to explain a joke to get on the famous “roller coaster” and of course we didn’t pay for anything, being able to invite family and friends! A golden time for Tibidabo and for our family.
First buffet in Barcelona: the “Bufet Català”
Together with my mother, they created the “bufet català” dinners, the first buffet in Barcelona and, maybe, one of the first in Spain and Europe at that time and a success thanks to the “word of mouth”, the fun, as they were enlivened with music, and the ads that our mother designed for “La Vanguardia”! Here are some photos to remember…
Later, my parents preferred the tranquility of the weekends – up to that moment – they always had to work! And they decided to focus on the Continental Hotel, which by then had been sold in part because of the large debts incurred up to that time.
Our father passed away in 1983, but with our mother, her extraordinary talent and effort, we managed to preserve and expand the Continental Hotel, buying in 1999 the “palacete” and inaugurating in 2002, the Continental Palacete, a real dream!
Visit the temple and the park!
If you come to Barcelona, do not miss the visit to the temple, you can take the elevator up to the “Sacred Heart” that crowns the temple and enjoy breathtaking views!