About the hotel
Just one block away from the famed Las Ramblas, the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona is in a restored bank building from the 1950s. The building was carefully converted by Barcelona architects TDB Arquitectura with custom made interiors from Patricia Urquiola. The hotel looks pretty standard from the street but once you enter and walk across a floating catwalk through a sun-filled atrium, you know you’re in for something different. The hotel has just opened 17 new suites and five new rooms in an adjacent building, bringing the room count to 120.
The suite experience
We stayed in a junior suite that connected onto a deluxe room, perfect for travelling with a family. You’re close enough to keep an eye on the children but also have plenty of your own space. Our butler was on hand at all times. Make sure you get one of the junior suites with a balcony or terrace to soak up some of the Barcelona sunshine.
The flagship Moments restaurant is headed up by the world’s most awarded female chef, Carme Ruscalleda, who has an impressive seven Michelin stars to her name. Ruscalleda’s son, Raül Balam, is head chef in the Moments kitchen, plating up neo-traditional, modern Catalan cuisine in the beautiful gold and amber dining room. The restaurant is so popular that many guests make a booking before they check in. There are four other drinking and dining venues in the hotel, including the Bankers Bar which gives a nod to the building’s financial history.
The Spa here is truly serene, an underground escape from the bustle above. The indoor swimming pool uses ozone for filtration (so no chlorine) and the dark green lights in the 27-degree water are calming and comfortable. There’s also an excellent gym and a fantastic steam room with lounge chairs.
If you’d like to upgrade…
For true Barcelona opulence, it’s hard to go past the Penthouse Suite at the Mandarin Oriental. Taking up the entire top floor, the two-bedroom suite is sleek and stylish with the usual accoutrements (dining table for eight, private kitchen, butler service, gold plated bathrooms) but the real highlight is the huge outdoor terrace with views over the Passeig de Gracia. A snip at €7,000 (about A$10,231) a night.
It can be a little noisy if you are staying on the side closest to the street. The water bottles in the room require a bottle opener – one of my personal pet hates when travelling.