two luxury hotels in Barcelona + a newcomer

entrance of the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona (c) 2017 by David Ourisman, all rights reserved

I visited two distinctly different hotels while in Barcelona ... and learned about a new hotel about to open.

First, the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona which hosted my stay — contemporary and bold, you can get a sense of its style from my photograph of the hotel's entrance above. A former bank was transformed into a contemporary hotel right on the Passeig de GrĂ cia. Indeed, safety deposit boxes from the original bank have been preserved in Bankers Bar where you can enjoy drinks and tapas.

Most guests will prefer the suites. I stayed in a very comfortable Studio Suite. With more than enough space (53 sqm), the suite offered a well designed work desk and a sitting area with sofa and sling chair. The large bathroom featured a large oval soaking tub, a step in rain shower, two sinks set in a wide double vanity, and a WC, and a separate dressing area. Due to high occupancy, I was not able to see many rooms. I was shown a Deluxe Boulevard room. On the small side (34 sqm), the long and narrow dimensions of the room make it feel cramped, and the stark interior design styling had an "industrial" feel. Fortunately, the hotel is planning a soft renovation in 2018, and I was shown a mock-up room of a new design. To my eyes, it was much nicer with warmer colors, a variety of textures, and a more residential ambiance.

Next, the Majestic Hotel, one of Barcelona's two most notable historic hotels (the other being El Palace, formerly the Ritz). Owned by the same family since 1918, the Majestic has a sense of history and local flavor. Though rooms are on the small side, the close-to-square dimensions of the bedrooms make a difference, making the room feel more like home. Walls are covered with padded silk with a vertical striped pattern. Bathrooms are small but provide everything you would expect. Step-in showers are available in most rooms and suites, so be sure to request one if you prefer this over a tub. Not to be missed is the Majestic's Sunday Buffet which attracts lots of locals, so be sure to make your reservation in advance. The 57€ meal features unlimited pours of Moet & Chandon champagne and an elaborate buffet of local tapas, entrees, and desserts — really quite a good value. You could make a meal of champagne and oysters!

Something so new it hasn't yet opened, the Almanac Barcelona will be the first hotel opened by a brand new boutique luxury hotel company. Like the MO and the Majestic, the Almanac has a great location right in the center of things. Pictured to the left is a model Gallery Suite (with view towards the central courtyard). The hotel hopes to join Virtuoso and plans to offer rates inclusive of breakfast, minibar, and WiFi. Opening is scheduled for August but — to be on the safe side — reservations are being accepted beginning in October, 2017.

copyright  (c)  2017 by Ourisman Travel LLC.  All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® member. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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