Luxury Hotels

BARCELONA

The word WOW pervades Hotel Arts Barcelona. First, the structure. As a symbol of the 1992 Olympics, Barcelona City Council commissioned a 115-foot open-mesh fish sculpture by Frank Gehry. Two years later a 43-floor tower, with exterior mesh of heavy metal girders sprang up, as if to the sky. It contains the 455-floor hotel, with residences above, and after 30 years it appears as refreshingly young as ever. But even Hebe would have approved – Hotel Arts is, ever so discreetly, undergoing a two-year enhancement. America’s favourite residential design house, Meyer Davis is hard at work, a is another, known for adding sensation.

This is actually a Ritz-Carlton property, managed by the Marriott machine but there are no visible signs of the brand. Suite 3016 shows, for example, that even the most ardent follower will not see ‘Ritz-Carlton’ on anything from paper notepads to toothbrushes (yes, luxury today provides dental and hair implements) Suite 3016 is labelled Arts Suite by We Collect. Its size, 52 metres from one end to the other, salon to bedroom via bathrooms and dining-library space, encourages the well-rounded mind

Overall, Hotel Arts is definitely wow for eating and drinking, and lifestyle generally. There are 700 different labels in Enoteca Paco Pérez, which has two Michelin stars. In the Club lounge, where the hotel boss, smooth as silk Andreas Oberoi is hosting that breakfast meeting, there’s a choice of three bubblies and a real chef on hand to cook whatever (ask for the Financial Times and it appears instantly).

For dinner, think speakeasy – for food. Next to an art gallery is The Pantry, selling sardines and other canned fish, a Catalan specialty, and local cheeses and Priorat wines. One display wall, its shelves stocked with such goodies, swings back to reveal a curtain. Pull if back to be part of an actor in a dark candlelit restaurant. Perhaps hand-skinned Galician octopus in olive oil, or wild mushrooms in creamed rice with Anna do Cordoniu cava, black truffle and Manchego. A Priorat red, perhaps 2019 Ferrer Bobet Vinye Velles. Whatever, it should be compulsory to finish with a chocolate and hazelnut semisphere, the perfect aphrodisiac – at any time.  See below.