Throughout this blog post, we’ll give you all the details of what’s left of the casino complex. Just to give you a small insight, it also included a hotel, a restaurant, and even an amusement park. It sounds like a dream that vanished among the dense vegetation of Collserola mountain, right? Keep reading to know more.
What’s Left of the Casino de l’Arrabassada?
The old casino, hotel, and restaurant at Casino de l’Arrabassada are only ruins now. However, visitors can still see some of the remains, including the viewpoint, slopes, tunnels of the Scenic Railway, and an artificial lake. The transformer booth features a 5-meter-high cloth wall covered with bricks, topped with a sculpture of a female face wrapped in palm leaves.
Then, there’s the garden fence, which boasts Neo-Arabic decorations. The casino and hotel were owned by the Society “La Rabassada”, and they imported attractions from other parks and offered boat rentals on the lake. The 10.68-hectare land where the casino de la Rabassada of Barcelona is located is now maintained as a forest reserve by its owners.
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Hotel and Casino Barcelona Rabassada
The hotel and casino Barcelona Rabassada was established in 1899 and adorned with decorations crafted by the workshop of Edmond Lechavallier, a French painter. The hotel was expanded in 1911 to include a casino and entertainment area, which were designed by the architect Andreu Audet. This project was quite extravagant and had a budget of 2.5 million pesetas (€15,025).
The inauguration ceremony on July 15, 1911, was attended by over 300 guests. The opulent casino became an emblem of luxury. It was fully equipped with various amenities such as an amusement park, a large restaurant with Parisian chefs, an orchestra, a hotel with luxurious rooms, recreation areas, a public oratory, and magnificent gardens filled with exotic plants.
The casino also offered bingo, raffles and lottery. Nonetheless, it was nothing compared to the popular el Gordo Spanish lottery, which has been around since the 18th century, but attractive enough for many members who participated. Roulette gambling also attracted many players, and it remains one of the most iconic and exciting games to be found here.
The Gran Hotel Casino de la Rabassada boasted an incredible amusement area that drew inspiration from popular parks in London, New York, and Paris. This influence is evident in the names of some of its attractions, such as the Scenic Railway, Cake Walk Building, Palais du Rire, and Feu de Boules.
The Scenic Railway roller coaster, designed by LaMarcus A. Thompson, the inventor of the roller coaster, ran through long underground tunnels for much of its journey. Today, three of these tunnels remain, two of which measure four meters wide by five meters high and serve as exits. The third tunnel, however, was walled up and has no way out.
Over time, the tunnels were repurposed for storing wagons, and later used as warehouses. Located a little over fifty meters from these tunnels, in the direction of Barcelona, there’s a lake that was purportedly located beneath the roller coaster. The lake located beneath the Scenic Railway roller coaster was said to have been built specifically for the ride.
The roller coaster passed over the lake, and riders would be thrilled as they gazed down at the water below. The lake added to the overall charm and excitement of the amusement area, making it a popular destination for locals and tourists. Nowadays, the lake still exists, and it is a reminder of the park’s golden age.
The Casino’s Closure
The Casino de la Rabassada saw its downfall in 1912 when the governor prohibited gambling, leading to the company’s bankruptcy within a year. However, the site still served as a hotel, restaurant, and amusement park. It gained some traction during the 1929 International Exposition, but General Primo de Rivera banned gambling again in the same year.
This resulted in the gradual closure of all activities until the restaurant was ultimately shut down in 1930. Afterward, the building fell into disrepair, and during the Spanish civil war, it was used as a shelter against bombings and later as a barracks. In 1940, the facilities were demolished, and today, only remnants can be seen, which are the following:
- Half-destroyed rooms.
- Sculptures hidden among the vegetation.
- Pits closed with wrought iron.
- Fragments of stairways.
Another remarkably popular casino in disuse is the Romanian Constanta Casino, built in the late 19th century. Its history and architecture are equally impressive. Although its story resembles that of the Casino de l’Arrabassada, the Constanta Casino has been well-maintained and appropriately preserved, making it a remarkable landmark that has stood the test of time.
More Interesting Information
The farm and the Casino de l’Arrabassada are owned by two Catalan families who inherited the property. Interested individuals can reach out to the Collserola natural park administration to get in touch with them. Visiting the old Casino de la Rabassada requires prior authorisation, as stated on the official sign located next to the main entrance.
In the past, gamblers used to arrive at the casino via funicular or with the hotel company’s cars from Barcelona’s centre. To create an easy means of communication between the city and the casino, the Arrabassada tram line was inaugurated on July 19, 1911. Nonetheless, the line faced multiple suspensions of service and slow periods due to the casino’s uncertain fate.
In 1938, the line was used by Barcelonians fleeing the bombings and the staff of the barracks that the casino had been converted into. After its closure, the material and installations were kept inactive and intact until 1956, when it was permanently suppressed. And that’s all we had to say about the incredible history of casino Barcelona Rabassada.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before this blog post about Casino de la Rabassada comes to an end, we have included a few frequently asked questions for you to clarify any doubts you may have. Keep in mind that they will jump to the paragraph of your interest. We hope that you find them useful. See them below:
What is left of the Casino de l’Arrabassada?
Casino de la Rabassada was a remarkably popular gambling establishment overlooking the city of Barcelona. A big ruins complex is what is left of Casino de l’Arrabassada now. Visitors can still see the viewpoint, slopes, tunnels, and an artificial lake. The land where the casino is located is now maintained as a forest reserve by its owners.
What did the Grand Hotel Casino de la Rabassada pack?
The Gran Hotel and Casino de la Rabassada was established in 1899, and it was fully equipped with various amenities such as an amusement park, a large restaurant, an orchestra, a hotel with luxurious rooms, a public oratory, and gardens. In 1911 it included a casino and an entertainment area. This project was quite extravagant and tremendously expensive.
Did the Casino Barcelona Rabassada have an amusement park?
Not only had the casino in Barcelona Rabassada a large restaurant and a luxurious hotel but also a theme park. The amusement park at the casino was one of the main attractions of the whole complex. Its roller coaster passed over the lake and riders would get excited as they saw the water below.
What caused the closure of the Casino de la Rabassada of Barcelona?
The Casino de la Rabassada of Barcelona saw its downfall in 1912. Several were the reasons that lead to the closure of the casino. First, the governor forbbid gambling. Nonetheless, the site still served as a hotel, restaurant, and amusement park. Then, it gained some popularity during the 1929 International Exposition, but gambling was banned again.
Who owns Casino de la Rabassada?
Visiting the old Casino de la Rabassada requires prior authorisation. There’s still more interesting information, like who inherited the whole complex. The property was inherited by two Catalan families. In fact, individuals can get in touch with the Collserola park administration to contact them. In 1938, the tram line was used to flee the bombings during the war.