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.
HOTEL DENIT-Estruc 24
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