Almost four years since my first stay at the Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona, I was pleased to discover not only an extremely well kept property but also one that has been constantly enhacing its facilities, such as adding brand new suites and completely transforming its roof-top. I was also happy to recognize and be recognized by some of the staff, such as Francisco, Miriam and Lourdes, for me, a sign of consistency in service which has always been at the highest level.
Walking up the catwalk-like ramp within the impressive atrium from Passeig de Gracia to reach the lobby on the upper level has always instilled that majestic, glamorous feel, which makes one truly feel like a VIP. It is probably one of the world’s most unique luxury hotel entrances which is flanked by two luxury stores on the street level, Brioni and Tiffany&Co respectively. The hidden ”shopping gem”, especially for ladies, a Manolo Blahnik boutique is to be found on the same level as the lobby, by the Front Desk.
And, as I was being shown to my suite by my butler (all suites have butler service), I could not hide my curiosity as to how it was possible for the hotel to add brand new accommodations (17 suites and 2 rooms) given the existing space. The new accommodations are actually housed within the modernist building which is basically attached to the main building, but, until the recent construction works, there was no connection between the two. That is why, guests staying in the new accommodations take the two new elevators which are near the two original ones, making the existance of a new section almost unnoticeable.
My suite, a Boulevard Junior Suite category struck me by its size (56 sqm/602 sqf), with high ceilings and a unique sense of spaciousness, given by the layout of the room, the sliding doors between the living room and bedroom as well as from the bedroom to the bathroom. Aesthetic details such a textile screen covering an entire wall and the color scheme, particularly the pastel colour of the Tai-Ping carpets – add to the at-home sense of comfort.
There was also a deep sense of warmth and cozyness instilled by the soft lighting (lamps by Flos), oak wooden floors and pieces of furniture such as a wool-upholstered ample sofa by Moroso and the EMU stools. Most of the furnishing pieces have actually been created, bespoke for the hotel, by Spanish interior designer Patricia Urquiola, who had actually been responsible for the interior design of the entire hotel.
Urquiola introduced new interpretations of Catalan modernism in the hydraulic mosaics, blending them with the avant-garde and cosmopolitan influences which dominate the rest of the hotel. She also added art works commissioned exclusively for the Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona.
As throughout the entire hotel, bathrooms in the new section are also very spacious and feature a spa-like atmosphere, enclosed within tinted opaque glass with oversized walk-in rain-showers and free-standing bathtubs. There is also a lavish wardrobe (in wood), which forms part of the bathroom.
The emphasis on functionality is omnipresent from the sliding doors, the impeccable sound-proofing (indoor/outdoor), the private bar area which can turn into a book shelf by means of a sliding cabinet door, the control of lighting which can be used to easily create the most diverse ‘moods’. Another small detail I loved, was a built-in tray on the wall, by the entrance, which can hold your wallet, keys or mobile phone.
Technology is truly state-of-the-art, with two Samsung UHD SmartTv with Apple Tv technology offering a vast choice of TV channels and movies but also with ultra high speed wi-fi internet, which is payable but can be waived if you make your booking on the website of the hotel and complete a personal preferences profile which enables the hotel to personalize the services they provide you with. There is also a motion-sensor technology which enables lower energy consumption when the guest is out of the room.
Another exceptional addition to the hotel, this year, is Terrat, the roof-top al fresco dining outlet which completes the dip pool and sunbathing area. Open for non-hotel guests in the evenings, Terrat offers freshly prepared light dishes, including sushi and nikkei suggestions such as refreshing salads and tempting bites made using traditional recipes from Lima and Tokyo. Since opening, Terrat seems to have caught on the attention of both hotel guests and Barcelona locals, each and every day, the place being very busy. During the day, the roof-top is reserved for hotel guests, and I highly reccommend lounging by the dip pool, sip on a cocktail and indulge in the spectacular 360 degree views of the city.
With the addition of the new suites which perfectly reflect the DNA of the Mandarin Oriental Hotels brand; its unrivalled location in the city, right on Passeig de Gracia, a shopping heaven, but also home to world architectural landmarks such as Gaudí’s Casa Batlló; the spectacular Spa with indoor pool; the two Michelin-starred dining by Carme Ruscalleda – all contribute to Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona consolidating its position as the finest luxury hotel in Barcelona.
Oliver Petcu in Barcelona
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