Trendy, lively and bold – these adjectives sum up the gleaming W Bareclona 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).
Beach-lovers, late-night partiers and sea-gazers will adore it, those seeking a quite, relaxed place to enjoy the city’s medieval center and multi-tiered cultural life may not, particularly so as it’s a bit of a hike/ride to the Ramblas and the downtown area. The village-like neighborhood of Barceloneta is, however, a short walk away, with rows of restaurants and bars and traditional images of locals sitting on chairs in the street chatting and narrow balconies displaying clothes drying in the sun.
We couldn’t have asked for a much more elevated perch, high on the 18th floor with window seats from which we enjoyed birds-eye views over surfers and yachts plying the waves far below and seagulls winging their way to and fro on soft breezes. Our oblong-shaped bed standing in the middle of the room was somewhat disconcerting but proved a comfortable place to fix our thoughts on the horizon and enjoy dreamy views of the aerial world outside. If shy, come with someone you know well as there is little privacy, the shower being an extension of the bedroom with a clear glass surround. Four white, built-in cupboards provide adequate storing space. Matching the beach environs, the room’s overall color scheme was predominantly beige. A modestly entitled, ‘Everything You Want To Know’ booklet explained the modus operandi of the hotel operations in full.
Elsewhere, the hotel’s Bliss Spa consists of 700 square metres across two floors comprising a beauty boutique, two manicure and two pedicure nail stations, eight treatment rooms and men’s and women’s post-treatment relaxation lounges, as well as Jacuzzi, steam and sauna facilities.
If you suffer from acrophobia and feel a 26th floor terrace is not to your liking, you can always stay firmly rooted on the ground-floor at the ‘W Lounge,’ with lightning mood changes from day to night, or the ‘Wave’ restaurant serving up Catalonian cuisine by Michelin-star, Barcelona-born chef Carles Abellan. Fish cooked on oak coals, Spanish starters that include pickled mussels, escalibada (smoky grilled vegetables) with caramelized goat cheese and octopus brochettes and mains that vary from roasted monkfish and pan-fried scallops to duck magret, with more than 400 complementary wines. Other dining alternatives are BRAVO24 with its all-day tapas bar and ‘Salt,’ a beach-club on the sand with an a la cart menu described as “sea-inspired California cuisine.”
For lively beach-lovers and trendy party-goers, W Barcelona is a treat, for others there’s always spa indulgence and terrific views from high-floor windows over city and sea.