Keeping it Cool in Barcelona

Photos Credit: W Barcelona

Trendy, lively and bold, these adjectives sum up the gleaming W Barcelona hotel standing tall above the city’s crescent-shaped, two-mile beach and boardwalk. Designed by architect Ricardo Bofill and shaped like a shimmering sail reminiscent of Dubai’s Burj al-Arab hotel, the five-star property sits at the end of the long Passeig Joan de Borbó—a part of the Catalan city that was rebuilt for the 1992 Olympics.

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Upon entering the lobby, it’s easy to immediately get a sense of what the hotel is all about. Music plays hit tunes overhead while a sign indicates that a London DJ is spinning on the 26th-floor Eclipse bar designed by Isabel Lopez Vilalta. Young receptionists, most in their mid-20s and dressed informally, stand at the ready to check you in. It is after all, a W hotel—cool is embedded into their profile.

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Guests here enjoy a resort-style vacation with a less stuffy vibe. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows, eclectic cocktails, a rooftop terrace with infinity pool, daybeds and private cabins make this hotel a favorite of stylish trendsetters and young professionals. But even if you’re in search of a quieter, more relaxed retreat you’ll still enjoy your time there.  

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Our guestroom on the 18th floor gave us a birds-eye views over surfers and yachts plying the waves far below. The oblong-shaped bed standing in the middle of the room allows guests additional views of the landscape outside. Keep in mind, that if traveling with friends, there is little privacy in the room. The shower is an extension of the bedroom with clear glass surrounding it without an enclosed space. For clothing, four white, built-in cupboards offer plenty of space to store your belongings.

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The hotel’s Bliss Spa consists of 7,534 square feet of space across two floors and includes a beauty boutique, two manicure and pedicure nail stations, eight treatment rooms and men's and women's post-treatment relaxation lounges, as well as Jacuzzi, steam and sauna facilities.

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Downstairs in the main lobby, the W Lounge is a great spot for a cocktail, while the Wave restaurant serves up Catalonian cuisine by Michelin-star, Barcelona-born chef Carles Abellan. Guests can dine on items such as fish cooked on oak coals, pickled mussels, escalibada (smoky grilled vegetables) with caramelized goat cheese, octopus brochettes, roasted monkfish and pan-fried scallops to duck magret. There are also more than 400 complementary wines available to choose from. Other dining alternatives are BRAVO24, an all-day tapas bar and Salt, a beach-club on the sand with an à la carte menu described as “sea-inspired California cuisine.”

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Although the city’s medieval center, Las Ramblas and downtown are nearby, they are not close enough to walk. A car is recommended if wanting to explore the area. The village-like neighborhood of Barceloneta is, however, a short walk away, with rows of restaurants, bars and homes lining the streets. If vibing with international jetsetters and young locals is your idea of a great trip to Barcelona, you're probably going to want to book at the W.

Sean Hillen

During an international media career spanning several decades in Europe and the US, Sean Hillen has worked for many leading publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Times London, The Daily Telegraph, Time magazine and The Irish Times Dublin, as well as at the United Nations Media Center in New York. Sean's travel writing for and has taken him across A...(Read More)

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