For all that Spain
prides itself on its art and design, it’s rare for the emphasis to be on anything that’s not, well, Spanish. Enter the Hotel Urban, a trendy favorite of the international (and local, for that matter) jet-set crew. The space could double as an Asian and African art museum. From the Papua New Guinean jewelry and ceremonial chairs in the lobby courtyard to the 18th-century Chinese portraits and 19th-century Hindu statues that adorn the walls of rooms and suites, the hotel’s varied collection stands in stark contrast to the sleek, clean-lined architecture and glittering urban design. Even the building itself is a work of art. A grand staircase is lined in gold mosaic done by the preservationists who work on Venice
’s Basilica San Marco, and an imposing central column is carved from Zimbabwean black stone. Loftlike rooms resemble an art collector’s private residence, and floor-to-ceiling windows incorporate yet another work of art—the cityscape outside. Indeed, the city almost steals the show at two of the hotel’s four hip restaurants and bars; those located on the rooftop attract the cognoscenti as much for the views as for their acclaimed cocktails and bites.