As far as striking hotels go, you’d be hard pressed to find a more impressive offering in the beautiful city of Barcelona than the five-star Hotel Arts Barcelona. Soaring 44 floors above the sea, this iconic landmark on Barcelona’s coastline is easily recognised from afar with its blue shimmering façade bedecked with its white-beamed exoskeleton.
Much like many other structures in this Catalonian seaside city, the hotel offers an artistic approach within its very fabric. It also happens to be the tallest building in the city, though its crown will be snatched in a few years when Antoni Gaudi’s famed cathedral, La Sagrada Familia will be finally completed following more than 140 years of building works.
Traverse the city and you will find that the Summer Olympics, held in 1992 here, had quite an impact on Barcelona and the modernisation of the city. The Hotel Arts is no different, for it was built for this very reason, alongside neighbouring Port Olympic and the nearby Olympic village, which have since been turned into residences.
The beachside hotel boasts an impressive 483 rooms, suites and penthouses with soaring views over the city, port and sea, and to keep all those guests entertained and well fed? There’s the two-Michelin-starred Enoteca, Roka Barcelona at the Marina Coastal Club, The Pantry, P41 Bar, Bites and Lokal to satisfy any cravings. A relaxing oasis can be found within the gardens outside, which provide a refuge in the shadow of the famed El Peix (fish) sculpture by Frank Gehry. There’s also an outdoor pool, where a cocktail or two can be enjoyed, and on the top floor guests will find 43 The Spa.
Rooms and suites
As mentioned, there’s quite the selection of accommodation options to choose from when staying at Hotel Arts, and if you want to make your visit to Barcelona really special, the penthouses and club level suites are sure to wow. The hotel holds 28 penthouses, 45 club rooms and two signature suites, with the top-level presidential penthouse costing in the region of €17,000 a night and the royal penthouse boasting a private door directly to the spa.
Club rooms all have access to the El Club, where Champagne, Cava, wines, spirits, soft drinks and snacks are served all day and breakfast, lunch and dinner gourmet buffets are proffered between certain hours. A haven on the 33rd floor, with stunning views of the surrounding area, the double height space houses its own reception and concierge for all of your needs.
Penthouses don’t have club access, they have their own reception, the services of a butler, in-room breakfast and separate access from the main lifts.
My home for two nights was one of the incredible loft penthouses on the 34th floor – a two-storey, 150sqm corner penthouse bathed in wood, cream and plenty of natural light with endless views of the sea, port and parts of the city, with so much space for two people. The modern décor housed unique wooden furniture designed by a local Catalan designer, wood floors with wood and cream furniture, a white marble bathroom and a dark marble kitchen making for a stylish and welcoming place to stay in the city.
The open-plan lower level housed two sofas in the lounge area, a poker table for four with a full drink’s cabinet in easy reach, a writing desk, which came in handy when I had some work to do, and a dining table for eight – all making for a stunning space to hang out. The kitchen is equipped with a full sized Smeg fridge freezer in which you’ll find wine, Moët, soft drinks and the local cava, Gramona, which is delicious.
Upstairs, there was another lounge at the corner housing large blue sofas and a huge TV – perfect for lounging – while the bedroom, with its big bed, panoramic sea views and electric curtains made for a fabulous spot to rest my head. Step in the bathroom and be wowed by the abundance of white marble and take a bath with the views, while a roomy rainfall shower and also toilet and bidet sit behind clouded screens. A double sink vanity sites in the middle and separates the wardrobe areas with mirrors so you have plenty of space to get ready.
From the casual fare to the creative fine dining and the comforting in-room dining, Hotel Arts Barcelona has you sorted when mealtimes roll around.
Lokal is the place where sweet and savoury breakfast treats are served daily, while Bites is an all-day casual eatery and P41 Bar is the place to be to sip on creative cocktails. The Pantry has a speakeasy concept where diners can enjoy sharing style Mediterranean plates, and Marina Coastal Club – which is housing Japanese restaurant Roku this summer – offers great food, a cool and casual atmosphere and drinks galore by the pools.
Last but by no means least and there’s Enoteca by chef Paco Pérez, the jewel in the crown of Hotel Arts’ restaurant offering, which holds two Michelin stars. I was lucky enough to secure a table here and sample the 16-course tasting menu with complementary wines and it was quite the experience!
Creative Catalan and Mediterranean cuisine is showcased at its finest here, so expect plenty of seafood, innovative flavour and ingredients pairing, and superb presentation with restaurant staff pulling out all the stops to ensure your meal is a memorable one. This meal is not for the faint-hearted, but for those who truly enjoy what innovative chefs can do. Stand-out dishes for me included the crab and mushroom cracker; a broad bean tartlet; Bolognese lobster; aged pigeon, morel terrine, sour cream and coffee; and the waffle – chocolate, kumquat, coffee.
Intricate bites, a celebration of foods from the locale, some fantastic flavour combinations and some flavours I’ve never sampled before – expect to be surprised, delighted, perhaps even sceptical. You’ll ultimately leave feeling satisfied and full of interesting food, flavours and wines, just don’t plan anything else as you’ll be enjoying this experience for hours, so go with the flow.
Sitting on the 43rd floor, the highest point of the hotel, is the spa with tiled relaxation rooms, where treatments using a variety of luxury skin and body care products, including Diptique, take place. A small outdoor terrace with stunning panoramic views and a compact private spa, that you can reserve for your group or couple, make for unique elements not found in most city spas.
Whether you wish to immerse yourself in a signature treatments, enjoy a relaxing facial, back massage or full-body treatment, or you fancy a finishing touch such as a manicure before heading out for dinner, you’re sure to find something to suit.
La Sagrada Familia is truly a sight to behold and I recommend a visit to this stunning work of art when visiting the city, as it doesn’t disappoint. I hopped on the local sightseeing bus for easy access to all of the top sights, which are spread throughout the city, and the audible gasp from those seeing the resplendent cathedral for the first time proves just how awe-inspiring this Gaudi-designed landmark is.
Of course, this isn’t the only impressive thing to see here, and those with a love of art and architecture will enjoy the eye-catching sights that are spread throughout, including El Cap de Barcelona, a 15-metre tall surrealist sculpture by Roy Lichtenstein, created for the Olympics.
The Columbus Monument, standing at the lower end of La Rambla, is a 60-metre tall column dedicated to Christopher Columbus and a must-spot, while a visit to Park Guell, Museu Picasso, Camp Nou for the football fans, Ciutadella Park, the array of beautiful beaches, and Gaudi’s other marvellous designs just scratch the surface of ways to spend your hours in this energetic seaside city.
In a nutshell
Stunning sea and city views; incredible dining and leisure experiences; penthouses you never want to leave, Hotel Arts Barcelona is a shimmering jewel in the Catalonian capital’s skyline.
Address: Marina 19-21, Barcelona, 08005 Spain
Tel: +34 932211000