Here are four hotels we’ve chosen while traveling in Barcelona for those who are looking for the perfect pampering stay.
Hotel Arts Barcelona
Welcome to the Hotel Arts (https://www.hotelartsbarcelona.com/en) , a luxury Barcelona property that employs a team of florists who display a thousand different flowers every week. The hotel has even created its own ‘Flower Friday Facebook’ for Nature-lovers.
Other design elements set Hotel Arts apart from others. Hugging the multi-story, metal and blue glass structure, is a manicured 1,000 square meter garden – one of the reasons officials term the hotel a ‘city resort’ – part of which is used as an open-air, cinema-on-grass.
Assorted sculptures create other attractions including a huge goldfish sculpture by Frank Gehry, installed in 1992 as the seafront was being transformed for the Olympic Games. Fifty-six meters long and thirty-five high, of intertwining gilded stainless steel strips, its subtle form is marked by an intense gold color. Interplay between the sun’s rays and its metallic ‘skin’ creates an impression of scales, making this iconic sculpture seem swimming on air. Nearby are tinkling waterfalls with bamboo groves and an aromatic garden of herbs.
We stayed in a duplex apartment on the highest floor, feeling we were floating in air. Floor-to-ceiling windows bathe the room in natural light highlighting a spacious dining area and kitchen where hotel’s chefs can prepare an intimate dinner.
Not to be missed is the aptly named ‘43 The Spa’ – located on the 43rd floor, which features open-air terraces offering panoramic views, eight fully-equipped treatment suites, hydrotherapy pools and steam baths.
ABaC Restaurant & Hotel
Nestled in a Zen garden with a post-modern angel sculpture as a striking centerpiece, the boutique 15-room ABaC Restaurant & Hotel ( https://www.abacbarcelona.com/en) offers a quiet location just outside the center of Barcelona, a 5-minute walk from a tram station.
Originally a 19th-century mansion, the former residence of Doña Madronita, a member of the Catalan bourgeoisie, it was restored mainly through the work of Spanish architect Antoni de Moragas.
Located on a rising street in the Sarriá-Sant Gervasi district, the upper zone of Barcelona with views to Kennedy Square, the hotel’s amenities include a chic bar and Elemis spa with hammam, pool and treatments and a small business center.
All ABaC rooms are decorated in ivory whites and neutrals and subtle lightning, with little splashes of color added through vivid blankets and pillows. They feature hardwood floors, rose-pink velvet devoré curtains, free Wi-Fi, large Bang & Olufsen TVs and Nespresso machines, plus minibars, whirlpool tubs and ‘rainfall’ showerheads.
The dining room, which seats up to 56 people, looks out onto the garden through picture windows and there are two additional private dining rooms, seating 20 and 60 people. The 200 square meter kitchen is a bold design by Joaquim Casademont featuring a black container with stainless steel furniture. A route marked by leds allows guests to walk right across it and observe chefs moving purposefully back and forth.
El Palauet Barcelona
To borrow the words of Wartime British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, El Palauet Living (https://elpalauet.com/en) in Barcelona is ‘a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.’
No-one seems to know exactly when the exquisite building housing this boutique hotel was first constructed around the turn of the 20th century, and who originally owned it (perhaps, the Bonaventura Ferrer family, perhaps, whose members made their fortunes from cane-sugar and Bacardi in the then colonial French-Caribbean. This lack of precise information adding more than a hint of mystery to any visit.
Designed by architect Pere Falqués – who also designed the ornate lampposts on the Passaig de Gracia where the hotel stands – it is overtly Modernista in style, with a decorative array of natural elements such as leaves, waves, grapes and flowers.
Historically listed, El Palauet displays a bewildering array of architectural tastes, from its Modernista art – a chandelier created from 14,000 pieces of Bohemian enameled glass – to a cavernous underground system with arches dating from ancient times, no doubt, harboring secrets from its mystical Pagan past, and now hosting a wide variety of celebratory events and product launches. Such has been the extent of renovation; there are 45 varied styled ceilings in the hotel.
Lending El Palauet a decidedly modern touch, an open-air Jacuzzi, waterbeds, a massage room and sauna adorn the top-floor terrace, with panoramic views over the city below.
Trendy, lively and bold – these adjectives sum up the gleaming W Bareclona (httpss://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/bcnwh-w-barcelona/) hotel standing tall above the city’s crescent-shaped, two-mile beach and boardwalk.
Designed by architect Ricardo Bofill and shaped like a shimmering sail reminiscent of Dubai’s Burj al-Arab hotel, this 473-room, five-star property rises straight up majestically on a spit at the end of the long Passeig Joan de Borbó in a part of the Catalan city that was rebuilt for the 1992 Olympics.
A few minutes beyond its revolving doors are enough time to sense the mood of the place. Music plays hit-tunes overhead, a sign indicates a London DJ is resident on the 26th floor Eclipse bar designed by Isabel Lopez Vilalta and young receptionists, most in their mid-20s and dressed informally, stand at the ready at funky check-in points.
For those seeking a resort-style vacation with eclectic cocktails such as passion fruit and watermelon martinis and a rooftop terrace with infinity pool, daybeds and private ‘cabins’ adding touches of glamor, this is the place to be. Saying that, it’s also the place to be if you’re seeking a room with a floor-to-ceiling glass window offering panoramic views across the Mediterranean and the city of Barcelona (be sure to designate your viewing choice as often it’s one or the other, not both).