Work of the architect Antoni De Moragas, the ABaC Hotel and Restaurant is a fusion of two buildings surrounded by gardens. The refurbished period building is over a hundred years old and has been declared a listed Monument by Barcelona City Council in honour of its intrinsic historical interest.
Around 1890 and deeply interested in the urban growth and planning of the time, Dr Andreu foresaw that Barcelona would eventually link up with Tibidabo and bought land in the Sant Gervasi and Tibidabo area. He urbanised the land, building the second largest Fairground in Europe whilst also building himself a grand home.
Not only was he interested in urban planning and pharmaceuticals (pharmacies still sell his cough tablets today), but he was also passionate about art and literature. His book "The Pharmacy at Home" became a best seller of the time and he was patron and great friend to the neo-romantic musician Enrique Granados. His circle of close friends also included the versatile artist Santiago Rusiñol and the painter Ramón Casas.
This modernist period in history was heavily influenced by a passion for machines, cars and gadgets; all of which became symbolic of progress. Within this context, his daughter Madronita stood out as one of the first artists to use a movie camera to express art and her own unique style.
The building which now houses ABaC Restaurant & Hotel was once the home of Doña Madronita Andreu. As a young woman she was always interested in photography, quickly followed by a love of the cinema, which became her greatest passion. She was committed to tirelessly filming her own life and that of all those around her. "Un Instante en La Vida Ajena" (A Glimpse into the Lives of Others), directed by José Luis López Linares, brings together a selection of her material filmed between 1922 and 1980. It follows the life of a wealthy, cosmopolitan family with images of their travels from New York to Bombay, Kingston to Seville and their everyday life in Barcelona. The film was awarded with a Goya on 2004. Madronita Andreu-Klein was a true pioneer, capturing the very first colour images of the Spain of that time.
Her second marriage was to Max Klein, the appointed President of the Chamber of Commerce to the United States in Spain. In 1937 when the Republican Government set up in Barcelona, the Consulate-General was authorised to act as the U.S.A. Embassy to Spain from its temporary headquarters in Avenida del Tibidabo 1; the private home of the American citizen Max Klein and his wife Madronita Andreu. The square where the hotel is located is named Plaza J. F. Kennedy in honour of the American Embassy.
After the war, the relationshipllaria with the USA endured and the Chamber of Commerce became Barcelona's link to the outside world throughout its period of political autarchy.
Max Klein was also greatly appreciated as being one of the main figures responsible for introducing basketball to Spain.
In May 2008, this historical building opened its doors as ABaC Restaurant & Hotel.