As our wanderlust urges go through the roof during these testing times of travel bans, Mandarin Oriental Barcelona gears up for the perfect comeback with its fabulously sleek suites and soon-to-be-launched residences.
Ever since opening its doors back in 2009, the hotel has sent shockwaves through the Catalan capital’s hospitality landscape. It’s not like the city has ever been short of global luxury brands landing on its shores, yet it was somewhat deprived of the incarnations of ultra-luxurious accommodation - the type discerning nomads of today can’t live without.
Over the past few decades, Barcelona has evolved into the perfect tourist destination, bursting an and upbeat Mediterranean attitude and boundless energy, fantastic food, humming markets, inspiring architecture, eccentric shopping and an infectious beach lifestyle that attracts visitors from around the globe in droves.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of Spain’s second largest city, on the celebrated Passeig de Gràcia, Mandarin Oriental’s first Spanish outpost is ideally located for a clientele with deep pockets and an appreciation for the finer things in live. Housed in an austere and iconic building from the 1950s - the former headquarters of the Hispano-American Bank - the modernist landmark awards stunning vistas over its private patio gardens to one side, and the murmur of one of the city’s chicest neighbourhoods on the other.
Elegant and contemporary, the interiors are signed by Patricia Urquiola with the occasional Asian touch here and there as a nod to the chain’s heritage. A catwalkesque entrance leads to a lobby with gilded aluminium lattices, subdued lighting and minimal furniture while in the annexed building from the early 1900s, a finely curated selection of show-stopping suites has been added.
Showcasing Urquiola’s signature style of calm, modern luxury, the remarkably ample suites introduce elements of Catalan modernism across spaces ranging from 55 to 124 square meters. Deluxe Suites with high ceilings breathe a functional yet sophisticated decor and include separate bedrooms, dining areas – some with terraces – and Mandarin’s lauded butler service at the mere touch of a button.
The cosmopolitan Catalan capital is a city that invites visitors to spend as much time out of their hotel rooms as possible, but guests would be deprived of their wits to miss out on the stellar culinary treats on offer. At the hotel’s flagship “MOments”, punctuated with golden and amber hues, multi-starred mother and son duo Carme Ruscalleda and Raül Balam bring their blend of neo-Catalan cuisine to life in what has become one of the city’s most celebrated eateries.
On the rooftop pool area offering breath-taking 360-degree views across Barcelona, “Terrat” is where Peruvian gastronomy is celebrated by night, courtesy of chef Gastón Acurio with the city’s legendary urban sunsets as a backdrop. For those suffering from vertigo, “Bankers Bar” at ground level, with its walls lined with old safety deposit boxes, is where the neighbourhood’s well-heeled come by for a nightcap.
And, of course, a hotel of such posture could not come without a SPA à la hauteur.
Arguably the most serene basement in all of Barcelona, the retreat’s interiors communicate in a contemporary design language with spaces that are warm and intimate while remaining thoroughly upscale. From a wide range of treatments including a Bastien Gonzalez Pedi and Mani studio to a twin-lane pool and fully-equipped fitness centre, peace and total relaxation are the order of the day down below the hotel’s historic structure.
A European city that has it all, Barcelona should rank high on your post-travel ban agenda, along with a suitably jazzy suite at the Mandarin Oriental as your abode du jour.