Archive | December, 2009

Five New Barcelona Hotels That Made Headlines in 2009

31 Dec

At the beginning of the year a bold prediction was made by the tourism office of Barcelona: over 50 new Hotels would open between 2009 and 2010. Here we are a year later and these 5 hotels below managed to beat the global crisis open their doors (fashionably late) and have managed to grab headlines, tweets, and posts from cool hunters across the globe.

W Hotel Barcelona –  “The Dubai Hotel Of The Mediterranean”

Managing to design a hotel that looks almost the same as the Burj Al Arab in Dubai. Ricardo Bofill, created a tower of glass and steel in the run-down southern tip of the Barceloneta neighborhood that since its opening has cleaned up quiet nicely. With starwood launching a full-out search for ultimate cool hunters and an interview process that closely resembled more of casting (think russian girls in stilettos standing next to a woman with a unibrow trying to get a job) they looked at style rather than a passion for truly attentive staff.

The W made headlines for all the wrong reasons… late openings,  a less than stellar opening night and its prime waterfront location conveniently located on a nude beach have been some of the erros the PR department had to deal with.  However, there is still hope for one of my favorite hotel chains in the world… Barcelona is a summer-time city with a wild child streak. Come summer time they will hopefully team up with some savy locals and put their massive terrace to good use.

PROS: The fantastic Eclipse sky bar located on the 26th floor overlooking the city. The decision to  bring aboard Michaelangelo L’Acqua as W Hotels’ first ever Global Music Director.

CONS: Something is missing from the equation, the WoW factor must be stuck in crates in Spanish Custom House. Yes the hotel looks great at sunset but with 315 hotels in Barcelona, competing for international travellers, the W needs to find their niche and fast. This is not South Beach, here  nobody cares how good you look, but rather just how cool you really are.

W HOTEL– Plaça de la Rosa dels Vents 1
08039 Barcelona, Spain
+34 932 95 28 00

MANDARIN ORIENTAL- “The Chic Foreign Aunt With Loads of Money”

Like a game of  chess,  this prestigious hotel chain chose Barcelona to set up shop making it hotel number 5 in Europe. With the number five signifying  Travel, Adventure and Motion these three things  perfectly embody their latest creation. With 98 elegantly appointed rooms directly on the Barcelona shopping mecca known as Passieg de Gracia. The Mandarin Oriental opened it’s doors this past November stopping traffic on Barcelona’s most fashionable boulevard. The Mandarin Barcelona makes our list due to the hotel making headlines due to several pushback in the opening dates.

However, the hotel  has earned its street credit by hiring the only female chef  in the world  to have earn five Micheline stars for her restaurants in Spain and in Japan. The Restaurant MOments is well on the way to slicing the competion. Chef Carme Ruscalleda  has invited her son Raul into the kitchen and the result has wowed the critics with their home-stlye Catalan Cooking  as Spain is presently the talk of the culinary world.

PROS: Fantastic rooftop, with plunge pool and killer views. Booking Tip: Make sure to book the rooms facing the garden rather than the boulevard.

CONS: The Mandarin is known for their descendant Spa with spectacular views and spacious layouts. Due to the fact that this is Spain, the spa is not at parr with other of their more famous properties.

Mandarin Oriental Barcelona-Passeig De Gràcia 38
08007 Barcelona, Spain
+34 931 51 88 88

ROOM-MATE EMMA-  “The Reccision Proof Hotel of 2009”

While other chains were busy slowing their growth and charging outrageous fees for internet usage, Room Mate Hotels was busy opening new spaces all over the world and bundling all of their fees into one low price. Owner Kike Sarasola,  managed to stay ahead of the global downturn in tourism by opening smart, basic and comfort hotels with free WIFI and loads of  style with a price tag of around 45 euros.

Their marketing campaign has been the key to their success. Instead of attempting to make all hotels in their chain look the same, they try to create hotels that reflect the city/neighborhoods they move into. Their latest creation EMMA is  the personification of Barcelona: Creative, Energetic, and Innovative the hotel has made quiet a name for is discreet addition to the over crowded Barcelona hotel scene. Opting for a more word of mouth Social networking way of promoting their property.

 Located in the Eixample neighborhood it has the perfect location for travellers flyining into Barcelona for a weekend of shopping. Their latest marketing effort was an online contest  searching for the face of their two latest properties CARLOS (in Buenos Aires) and VALENTINA (in Mexico City) the winners faces will be part of the hotel campaign in 2010. WIth Properties opened in New York, Miami, Madrid, Malaga and Valencia. They are definitley one to watch in 2010.

PROS: Steps away from the Diagonal metro station that links much of the city’s metro lines. Basic hotel hotels for people who will not be spending too much time in their room

CONS: The location of the hotel is quite a trek from the smoky bars of the Raval and hip eateries of the Borne.

EMMA HOTEL-Carrer Rosselló 205
08008 Barcelona, Spain
+34 932 385 606

HOTEL DENIT- “The Darling Of The Internet”

  This new hotel has rapidly become the darling of Trip Advisor. With over 100 positive reviews and the staff regularly check in with comments posted on the page to guarantee each visitor is satisfied. In an age where social media is the norm it is nice to see a hotel scanning the net and listening to the people’s comments. 

Denit, meaning “At Night” in Catalan, lives up to its name in city that becomes another animal come night fall. Centrally located on the edge of Gothic Quarter, where 2000 years of history collides with the modern shopping district of the Eixample on the corner of Fontanella and D’Estruc.  This fresh and modern hotel boasts innovatively designed bedrooms and a 24-hour cafe in the smart lobby. A savior in a city where bars stay open until 6am but finding a place to eat after 2am can be a challenge.

The Denit offers you the chance to enjoy contemporary design at a pocket-friendly price. With its restrained color palate of white on white on white with touches of beech veneer it is designed to help you relax after coming in from the chaos that is Portal D’Angel- a shopping street  that has 3 H&M’s in a 2 block radius. Though the rooms are small, the staff and location more than make up for it. If  shopping, eating, and drinking your way through Barcelona is your idea of the perfect weekend. Look no further you have found you crash pad- Barcelona is yours for the taking!

PROS: Tucked on a quiet street 500 meters from the dead center of the city you will be pretty much walking distance from every neighborhood in Barcelona

CONS: The rooms are not the biggest in size, however if you just looking for a place to sleep this is your place.

08002 Barcelona, Spain
935 454 000

W HOTELLS- raval  ” A Hotel For Cool Hunters”

Mention the neighborhood “El Raval” to a local, and their reaction will run the gamut from praising it’s authenticity  to the a manifesto  detailing   everything that is wrong with the city. A safe haven for hipsters, a bustling immigrant cluster, the last bohemian village in a city with inflated real estate prices. The Raval is everything and nothing at once but one can’t turn a blind eye to the creativity and raw talent percolating on these streets. 

It’s not every day that a neighborhood gets in own verb. In this case RAVALEJAR

To explain Ravalejar to someone outside is a bit complicated. But in its purest form it’s the act of being extremely busy doing nothing. Born from the global economic crisis and humid Barcelona nights. The neighborhood come to the main steps of the MACBAand sit for hours in the hot summer nights watch the skateboarders take over the plaza while crowds of  people break the law by sitting in the plaza and having a beer as the local police stands back with a watchful eye.

Why do I mention this? Because if you are looking for quiet streets, 5 star hotels and charming restaurants this MIGHT not be the neighborhood for you to stay in. However, if you are looking for the most cutting edge designers, vintage music shops, kebab stands and local dive bars with snide bartenders serving up 2 euro beers check into these apartments and explore Barcelona’s most polemic neighborhood of El RAVAL.

This hotel makes our list because of their team up with Japanese retail store MUJI. Furnishing their flats with everything Muji. Whotells (not to be confused with THE W HOTEL) is located in one of the best streets in the Raval – Joaquin Costa

PROS: If you’re looking to discover the real side of Barcelona the location can not be beat. MUJI Furnished lofts make getting into bed that much better.

CONS: Noise, the streets tend to get pretty loud on the weekends, not recommended for women to be walking this neighborhood alone, but if you in a group you will be fine.

W HOTELLS-Joaquin Costa 28
08001 Barcelona, Spain
616 581 780

Vinçon Presents The “Pirelli Calendar” Of Shopping Bags

27 Dec

The design force which is Vinçon is a classic store housed in a stunning modernista building on Passeig de Gracia.  Originally the CASA of Ramon Casas, friend (and mentor) of Picasso. The store is a must stop, when in Barcelona. With two floors, an art space and a spectacular terrace- Vinçon is a shrine to design.  Which brings forth design enthusiasts like moths to a sleek designed flame.

It is only fitting that such an iconic store would have an equally iconic bag. Every year  the store releases a holiday version of their bag which has become a holiday tradition for over 30 years.The Vinçon holiday bag has become the equivalent of the Pirelli Calendar. Designed by America Sanchez, these bags have won countless awards for their originality and humour.


Mariscal, Latin Pati Nuñez and Sanchez are some of the professionals who have routinely transform business ideas into images of the company  which have left the building and spilled out onto the streets of Barcelona

As far back as 1972 -Vinçon has been awarded the trophy for:” best Laus corporate identity” honoring the graphic image of Vinçon.  Sanchez, who has since become responsible for maintaining the image often re-tweaking the bags, with only subtle changes noticeable to the public. The design of the bags, however, is renewed twice a year and has become somewhat of a collector item for the people who love their Mariscal wallpaper and  Jean Nouvel Chandaliers.

To see the amazing catalogue of Vinçon shopping bags morph through the years click {HERE}

Passeig de Gràcia, 96
08008 Barcelona
Tel. (+34) 93 215 6050

_VIEWFINDER: Martin Hesbert

15 Dec

I met Barcelona based photographer Martin Hesbert at the LE LOOK Party a few weeks ago. Eager to grab a perfect shot he made his way through the crowded party like a solider in war. Weaving through the well-heeled crowds careful to document the vibe without interrupting.

His style is easy to identify- concise and clean, he presents his point of view without bragging or staging a scene. His ability to find moments of peace in what usually tend to be chaotic urban settings is what made me take note of his photography and talent.

With a sharp eye and attention to detail, Martin Hesbert manages to unlock the secrets of Barcelona through his camera lens. We caught up with Mr. Hesbert for a quick chat and talked a bit about  Barcelona, Paris and his work. Check out his interview after a few of his images.

So Martin, where are you originally from? 
I’m from Paris, France.  
How long have you been in Barcelona? 
I have been in Barcelona for exactly 1 year, 1 month. I am very happy here but I am still having trouble getting used to the humidity! This summer was intense…
Why Barcelona?

 Well being only an hour and 20 mins away from Paris is always a plus! But I am drawn to Barcelona because of the way it is. Barcelona, is NOT the city  you see in films. It is a city that holds its secrets well, It is a city is a thousand times more interesting than these images we see in movies like “L’auberge espagnole” or “Vicky Cristina” … 
What is your  favourite Barrio in  Barcelona? 
I love all the neighbourhoods, but I tend to gravitate especially to  areas that are dedicated to pedestrians. I have a bit of an aversion to cars. To me they seem to disfigure the urban landscape and in my opinion belong to a time that should be part of an era gone by. 
When did you realize that you were going to be stalking people with a camera? 
<Laughs>I began to dabble in photography when I was about 17 … 
I started playing around  in a photo laboratory in Paris which is where I learned how to develop Black and White photographs. I used to spend hours in the lab usually until 2 or 3 in the morning.  
What inspires you to take a particular image? 
Like every photographer, my idea is to take pictures in order to show something that nobody saw.  I like the idea of being in a public place and showing something that most people miss.  
The idea is NOT to say:  “I saw that and you didn’t!”  but rather to say “I saw this and I want to share it with you.”  
I am more interested in having an image that speaks to the viewer. Pictures  which are easy to understand. I do not want my pictures to be so intellectual that the person seeing the image doesn’t “GET IT”. I want people to be moved by the images and get excited when they view my work. 
Who Are The Photographers that have made the most impact throughout your life and career? 
I obviously  have a multiple inspirations. Another talented Martin is: Martin Parr. I also have a great appreciation for Depardon, Salgado, Koudelka, Avedon and many other photographers who are less known. 
Now that you mention it, I can see the inspiration of Parr in your work. Detached but humorous. Your right it could be the name… 
<Laughs>See I told you so! 
** Martin Hesbert the Parisian in Barcelona, is currently working on a few top secrets projects. When he is not busy behind his camera documenting the day-to-day life in Barcelona. He is traveling around Europe as an international man of mystery. 

To see More of Martin Hesbert’s work click {HERE


The (U)topian Manifesto by Le Cool

10 Dec

The BARCELONA (U)topian Manifesto by LE COOL

1.- Bicing will work well.
2.- Exhibitions and artistic showings will always be free, no concert will cost more than €30 and new albums will cost €7.
3.- In case of doubt, we will go back to barter: I give you this book I’ve finished and you let me into the show.
4.- Children will play in the parks, with the only exceptions being rain, snow, or the circus coming to town.
5.- The graffiti will return to MACBA.
6.- Tourists will be prohibited from group or bicycle tours of the Born.
7.- Mass attacks by flyer-trolls will be prohibited.
8.- The official dress code will be…colorful!
9.- Winter will be cold, summer will be hot. Not the reverse.
10.- We will listen first. Then, we will (optionally) speak.
Create your own manifesto of change!

  “Life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself.” -Bernard Shaw

 image: Banksy text: LeCool

La Foto Del Dia

10 Dec



Find Out What Goes On Behind Closed Doors At Chic&Basic Hotel

9 Dec

_Chic & Basic Barcelona To Host FRIO *09

Here at PulsoBCN we get very excited when private companies go out of their way to support and promote new talent. In an age where everyone has Facebook and twitter, Chic & Basic constantly out do themselves in the marketing department.  In November, Chic & Basic rolled out special webisodes featuring an inside look at their hotel which was an instant success (available on their Facebook page).

 This Saturday December 12 Chic & Basic in the Borne, open their doors to as they present 25 of the most cutting edge designers with special guest artists:  CHICKS ON SPEED for an event called FRIO*09.


  If you are in Barcelona this week stop by the hotel on Saturday and scope out the designers at FRIO*09.  Now is your chance to go from room to room and meet the designers as they present their collections in the hotel. With the amount of invites to holiday parties now is the time to pick up something for yourself this holiday season.

Chic & Basic C/Princesa, 50

Sponsored by Metal Magazine, Vialis ,  Sinnamon Records and Barcelona’s official Beer MORITZ

_ A Chicks On Speed CLASSIC- love this for two reasons :

1. Filmed in Miami  2. Discovered them on Tom Middleton’s THE TRIP.

Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “Chicks on Speed – Wordy Rappinghood“, posted with vodpod 

Follow your Bliss

8 Dec

Eight months ago today, a boy arrived in Barcelona with a suitcase and a dream.

After years of imagining what my life would be like living in Barcelona, I packed up my things and left everything behind in beautifuly slick South Beach. It turns out my life is 95% what I imagined it to be like. I am in love with the people, the city, the food, and the culture.

8 months later, I have managed to learn Catalan, discover the city, and even made some  new friends along the way. I have had some amazing experiences. I have learned to enjoy the sunrise after a night of bonfires for St. Joan, learned to be patient in supermarket lines and have celebrated every fiesta (holiday)  like a true Catalan.  After years of travelling the world I finally found my corner.

There are just a few things I miss about Miami- My friends and Family, eating Taco Bell after a night out with friends, machines that dry your clothes, Bond Street sushi restaurant on South Beach & taking people on my Miami Beach hotel tours whenever I had friends in town. However, those will all be there when I go back to visit…

To every world traveler, to every dreamer, to every person with an undeniable quest for knowledge- follow your bliss.

The world is your oyster