Andy Mossack stays at Hotel Arts Barcelona, an icon on Barcelona’s beachfront.
It’s hard to miss the Ritz-Carlton-managed Hotel Arts, a five-star Barcelona landmark ever since it opened its doors in time for the 1992 Olympic Games.
You just have to look up.
A skyscraper of steel and glass rising forty-four storeys above Barcelona’s shoreline, it offers extraordinary bird’s eye views of the Mediterranean and Catalonia’s capital stretched out far below.
How do I know this? Because I was doing just that from my duplex Penthouse suite on the 34th and 35th floors curated by world-renowned Catalonian designer Jaime Tresserra. A place so wondrous I felt I had died and gone to heaven. Well at least I was almost high enough to.
The downstairs space comprised a very spacious lounge containing a dining table and six chairs at one end, and settees and a giant flat-screen TV at the other. This led off to a beautifully kitted-out kitchen dominated by one of those heavyweight American fridges that can hold enough food to feed a small country. For any penthouse guest, that very kitchen could become the domain of a personal chef should you feel the need to indulge.
Upstairs, the bedroom area was equally impressive, the King bed taking up half of it and the rest, just air and wardrobes. Of course, the marble-encrusted bathroom was a luxurious nest of indulgence with twin sinks, a very large bath, a separate rainforest hydro shower cabin, a walk-in closet and no let-up of high-end toiletries dotted about.
But even with all this finery, the headline act for me was still the unobstructed views out of the giant windows on both floors. Huge swathes of the Mediterranean Sea to the left, and the whole of Barcelona to the right. It was quite simply a stunning sight, both in daylight and darkness.
While I could quite happily spend most of my time in Barcelona tucked away in my penthouse perch, there was very important hotel exploring to be done.
One floor down was the Club floor and Executive Club Lounge, something of a Ritz-Carlton staple this. A haven for pampered Club guests with your own private check-in and four free meal servings a day from an in-house chef, (including the private breakfast of course if you didn’t fancy mingling with the rest of the guests in the main breakfast buffet downstairs at Lokal) and a well-stocked free bar.
Open from early morning until 11 pm each night, you could wander in all day and get fed and watered or just bring a book and sit by a window and gaze out at the view in-between reading stints.
Down at the lobby floor is where all the rest of the action can be found. Hotel Arts Barcelona’s restaurants are here; the two Michelin-starred Enoteca Paco Perez with its Mediterranean menu and 700-strong wine list is the headlining jewel in the crown, with its sixteen-course tasting menu with nine wine pairings no less. It was so special it warranted a review of its own here.
But there are more than a few other supporting acts well worthy of a mention.
The Pantry is a clubby speakeasy tucked away behind the shelves in a hidden door at the rear of the Pantry boutique, which to all intents and purposes is a hotel shop selling fine wines and olive oils. Go through the portal, however, and you’re transported to a very cool and intimate wine bar offering up delicious Catalan dishes paired with excellent wines, while a DJ offers up some late-night tunes.
The freshly tableside-sliced Iberico jamon was to die for, as was the white asparagus and lobster and a quite supreme plate of fresh beetroot salad with goat’s cheese. I think they missed a trick not giving us a personalised private password to get us through the door, but you can’t have everything.
Bites is a casual lobby coffee shop that offers, I was reliably informed, the best coffee in the city, courtesy of Hidden Coffee Roasters, a speciality coffee business run by two locals who are taking the sustainable coffee world by storm.
Bookending Bites is P41 Bar, inspired by Barcelona’s parallel latitude 41 position. It’s the place for creative mixology with hand-crafted cocktails and signature drinks together with people-watching some of Barcelona’s finest no doubt.
To complete Hotel Arts Barcelona’s roster of restaurants, I had to go out into the hotel’s extensive gardens and terraces where, perched between its two outdoor pools, I found Marina which offered up informal al fresco beach-style dining. Frankly, on a hot sunny day, just a step or two away from your comfy pool lounger, there’s nothing finer than to be waited on hand and foot with fine comfort food and drink sitting in the shade of Barcelona’s iconic Golden Fish sculpture by Frank Gehry next door.
Back upstairs to the very top floor, I found 43 The Spa. What better place to position a spa than practically touching the clouds, if ever there were any above Barcelona? A 3,000-square-foot duplex of well-being and relaxation with enough sauna, steam, vitality pooling and therapies to keep you balanced in mind and body and spirit. And speaking of which, the outdoor decking area really gets you feeling as close to the universe as you’re likely to get on this Earth.
Back down at ground level, Hotel Arts Barcelona is just a few steps from the beach, which makes it perfect for walking along the wide promenade up to the old port area, now a maze of trendy waterside bars and restaurants. Getting into the city centre however is a longer walk, but the hotel provides a regular shuttle service every day to and from Plaça de Catalunya where you can access all Barcelona’s major sights including La Rambla, Mercat de la Boqueria, Camp Nou, the Gothic Quarter and all seven of Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces topped of course by La Sagrada Familia.
Hotel Arts Barcelona is without doubt a destination hotel. Top service, outstanding quality and with its envious beachside position will no doubt be right at the heart of things when Barcelona hosts the Americas Cup in 2024.
As for me, it was time to get back up to my penthouse for a lie-down, after all, there was the club lounge tea service to look forward to next. And I certainly wasn’t missing that.
All images (C) Hotel Arts Barcelona
Tell me more about Hotel Arts Barcelona
Hotel Arts Barcelona, Marina 19-21 Barcelona, 08005 Spain
T: +34932211000 E: email@example.com
Entry-level rooms from €300 per night. Club rooms from €400 per night
Other recommended restaurants in Barcelona
Located just off Avinguda Diagonal, one of Barcelona’s widest and finest arteries, Mr Porter, is one of a growing clutch of ‘Porters’ with another in Amsterdam and a few more in the works. It is ostensibly an aged meat-eaters dream with an open Taboon wood-fired oven and plenty of steak options ranging from hanger steaks to eye-wateringly expensive Japanese wagyu. Cool art deco interior, large cocktail menu and in-house DJ makes it a top target for trendies.
Get a Barcelona Card
The best way to see Barcelona’s sights is to buy a Barcelona card which comes in 24 or 48-hour packages. With just one card you’ll be able to travel free on the metro, buses, Catalan railways (FGC), trams and even on the airport train and metro (Hola Barcelona Travel Card). You’ll save time and money as you can also take advantage of free admission, or discounts at, Barcelona’s most important museums and many places of interest, leisure attractions, on visits and tours, entertainment, unique means of transport and other services.
There is also Barcelona Travel Card Kids for children aged 4 to 12 which gives you all the advantages of the Barcelona Travel Card for more or less the same price as a travel card
Parking at Heathrow
Airport Parking and Hotels offers a wide range of parking and overnight hotel stays at all major UK airports. One week of Meet & Greet airport parking at London Heathrow Airport costs from £130. For the latest prices and to book, call 01342 859442 or visit APH