W is for Wonderful: Staying at W Barcelona
Isn’t it nice when your expectations are exceeded? No. It’s not nice. It’s Wonderful. Wonderful with a capital W for W Hotels. Such was the case from the moment I checked in at W Barcelona until the second I left begrudgingly pulling my case behind me through a lobby decorated with reflective disco ball style walls.
This was my first experience of W Hotels, a brand owned by international hotel giant, Starwood Group. Since its first hotel opened in New York in 1998, W Hotels has quickly and firmly established itself as a leader in stylish luxury hotels which deliver welcoming hospitality, well-planned layouts and wicked design inside and out. My stay in the company of W Barcelona did little to contradict this.
From afar W Barcelona appears slightly out of place with it’s large proportions which are more accustomed to the US than Europe, its Dubai-esque curved design and its lone position towards the harbour end of Barcelona’s man-made beach. Yet the location has some real benefits as it affords very special views of all of the city’s key attractions; the Mediterannean, Barcelona’s port and marina, the old town and the colourful spread of the city.
From my Wonderful Room (their name, but who am I to argue?) on the 17th floor I dreamily looked out over a vision of blue made up of the Mediterranean and the sky, which would become dotted with descending planes and incoming tanker ships, signs of Barcelona’s tourist and industrial importance.
However, a view isn’t necessary to enjoy your stay as the rooms all carry the Wow factor, with a capital W of course. 40m2 of space, more storage options than the average London flat and a décor base of white teamed with flashes of subtle it is this attention to detail and special features like the day and night mood lighting which set this hotel room experience apart from others.
Instead of watching the world fly and sail by from my room-wide window front couch (complete with sparkling cushions) I had the option of a long comfy desk to work at or I could have soaked myself under the free fall shower using surprisingly good Bliss Spa lemon scented toiletries. Instead, I’ll be honest and admit I spent a worryingly long time playing with testing the open and close curtain buttons and experimenting with their mood lighting options.
If you’re not in Barcelona to Gaudi spot or get your tapas on then you could only too easily spend hours by the pool on the ground floor over looking the palm tree lined beach and squeaking on and off soft white loungers as pool attendants with pop-out calf muscles hand you towels the size of Spain. You could then stay there as the sun goes down to enjoy drinks at the W Terrace but if a chill starts to pinch then get the lift straight up to the 26th floor and W Barcelona’s very popular Eclipse bar where bar tenders will only too happily make you one of their many expertly designed cocktails. As it happened I had a cocktail made for me; I asked for something fizzy and fruity and that was indeed what I happily poured down my throat as crowd-pleasing dance music filled the room with the best view in Barcelona.
As a result of these personalized cocktails I woke late the following morning and after burying a little deeper into the princess-and-the-pea soft bed for a few minutes, I got up and joined the mix of suits and tourists downstairs for a light Spanish style breakfast featuring all the Iberian ham and Manchego cheese a girl or guy could wish for washed down with bright, fresh fruit. It was at this point I realized that there was a whole city for me to get out and explore. This brings me to W Barcelona’s only drawback; it is a hotel with the Wow factor in a city with the Wow factor and so if you only have limited time in Barcelona it presents a real Win-Win dilemma. On this occasion Barcelona triumphed.
It is after getting to know Barcelona that I can see why W Barcelona has to make such a statement, this is a city that is world renowned for its art and architecture and in my opinion the W Barcelona’s design by Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill is striking enough to continue this legacy. But ultimately for this Travelette a great hotel is about more than statement design it is about warm hospitality and good old-fashioned customer service. From their “Whatever” concierge service, which equipped me with a map and personal local knowledge for my day’s exploration to the sharply dressed W Bell Boys who delivered ice to my room and offered to mail my postcards, this is impressively a hotel of the same opinion.
W Barcelona left me asking myself only one question, which coincidentally starts with a W: When can I come back?