Hotel Review: Mandarin Oriental Barcelona
Is this the Spanish city’s best hotel?
Enjoy a chic spa, two Michelin-starred restaurant and rooftop pool in an unbeatable location, says Siobhan Grogan
Mandarin Oriental Barcelona: The City’s Best Hotel?
If first impressions are everything, Mandarin Oriental Barcelona doesn’t fail to wow. Beyond its elegant limestone façade, the hotel’s front door is reached via a sloping walkway flooded with light from an atrium above. A few short steps leave the hustle and bustle of Barcelona’s best shopping street Passieg de Gràcia far behind so you can hunker down in this blissfully calm bolthole between sightseeing and spending. Plaça Catalunya, Las Ramblas and the city’s gothic old town are all within strolling distance once you’re recharged and ready for more.
There are 120 rooms and suites inside, overlooking either the hotel’s garden or Passieg de Gràcia and Gaudi’s famous Casa Batlló. All are impossibly stylish with wooden floors, bespoke French rugs, Corian bathrooms and styling from designer Patricia Urquiola.
Many have terraces while suites come with lavish touches such as Japanese screen walls, walk-in wardrobes or glass-encased bathrooms with free-standing circular baths and showers big enough for a family. There are yoga mats and gorgeous kimonos to use, Bose sound systems and luxe bathroom products from Barcelona’s own Miriam Quevedo. Suites also come with butler service to arrange anything you need.
If you’ve already ticked off the big sights, the hotel offers all sorts of quirky experiences to help you see the city in a new light. These include an espadrille making workshop, a city tapas tour, skateboarding lessons and a boat trip to the seaside village of Garraf. The hotel itself has a rooftop pool, a gym and weekly yoga classes but the basement spa is the real highlight.
This has a 12-metre candlelit lap pool, a spacious Oriental steam room and seven treatment rooms including one couples’ suite. Wonderfully unhurried treatments start with softly chiming Tibetan cymbals and end reclining in a dimly lit relaxation area, where therapists bring bowls of dried fruit, nuts and dark chocolate.
The hotel may be fairly small, but it’s not short on outstanding places to eat. Mimosa Garden is hidden away at the heart of the hotel and serves tapas and cocktails amongst fairy lit trees and contemporary sculptures loaned by a local art gallery. All-day restaurant Blanc is the place for seasonal Catalan dishes and an exceptional breakfast buffet that includes churros and hot chocolate, fresh juice shots and local Cava. Or for Peruvian cuisine with city views, head to the rooftop for oysters, ceviche and Bao buns to-die-for in alfresco Terrat.
However, for a real treat, book in advance for the two Michelin-starred Moments, managed by renowned chef Carme Ruscalleda and her son Raül Balam and regularly named the best restaurant in Barcelona.
There’s no need to sacrifice luxury for location at the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona. Its tranquil spa, high-end restaurants and sumptuous rooms mean this hotel is not just the ultimate city break crash pad but a must-visit destination in its own right. So no one will judge you if you check in then never actually venture beyond the front door…
Rooms at Mandarin Oriental Barcelona start from €425 per night in a Deluxe Garden Room and €995 in a Mandarin Junior Suite, including VAT. For further information, visit mandarinoriental.com.
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