Luxury Hotels


Food day, super day. The ninth-floor rooftop Terrat at MANDARIN ORIENTAL BARCELONA. Up in the clouds, watching the stars…genteel nibbles of Gaston Acurio’s ceviche clásico with a house Martini, Roku gin, shiitake-infused saké, and  a modicum of soy sauce.

The experience, exactly a week ago, made Girlahead wonder, for the umpteenth time, if central hotels in food-fest destinations actually need their own dining festivities. They do, especially when the offerings are creative. This hotel has long-summer-long outdoor, and year-round Michelin-starred, and all-day, all-hours, all meals, Blanc. We dined Blanc, for simplicity, and there were others dining too, showing that need for hotels to offer their own. First for us was a shared charcuterie board. carefully fork slices of ham to tomato-pulped angel-bread, light as heaven.

Blanc’s breakfast, by the way, was superb, and obviously attracts locals. Where else does a buffet – shown above – include individual boxes of butter? Three-cm diameter food boxes held fluted paper cups with piped butter ‘flowers’. Stylish, as was the chef delicately carving paper-thin slices from an entire leg of ham.

Suite 324, designed by Patricia Urquiola with one long wall fluted, as a fan, looks down at Passeig de Gràcia-facing room, with street buzz all around. Chanel, Dior and Zara are under five minutes’ walk. Perambulations are slow-paced as there is so much to see. An oufit here, yet more Korean fashion followers there. Many stand patiently outside the big C and D, but not the Z, awaiting their turn to be let in, by black-suited doormen, possibly security in designer gear.

With its own substantial pool, and a well-equipped Technogym and a spa that fortunately includes Bastien Gonzalez for tired feet, everything falls into place here. Staying at Mandarin Oriental Barcelona seems more like being in a well-tuned orchestra pit than a two-dimensional jigsaw, and it’s really agreeable.