Only steps away from Barcelona's Barceloneta beach, the W Barcelona, has more to offer proximity to Barcelona's beach and port. Known as the Hotel Vela (Sail Hotel) by locals, this hotel is home to Spain's first ever Bliss Spa and the Bravo24 Restaurant (run by a Michelin-star-rated chef). Even if you decide to stay somewhere else, it's worth the price of a high-end cocktail to enjoy the sweeping views at the Eclipse rooftop bar.
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The W’s waterside location makes it perfect for sun-and-sea holidays, and of course, for those with kids. The city center is a short walk away, but the seafood restaurants of Barceloneta are close and a genuine pleasure to explore. Getting a table at Kaiku Restaurant, just down the beach, is a good idea; despite the drab exterior, the local paella is good enough to rival most better-known eateries.
Need to Know
Rooms: 473 rooms; from $285. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Master chef Carles Abellán helms the Bravo 24 restaurant, which matches excellent Catalonian cuisine with unparalleled views of Barcelona's shoreline. Salt doubles as an a la carte terrace restaurant and relaxed beach club, and for informal light bites there’s Wave, which offers breakfast, lunch, or dinner (reception can provide a W2GO picnic box to take to the beach). The Eclipse Bar, designed by Isabel López Vilalta, draws local tastemakers and global jet-setters to the 26th floor, and the Wet Bar next to the pool has excellent cocktails and killer views. Spa and gym details: The first Bliss Spa in Spain is a whopping 7,500 square feet across two floors, and spans a retail beauty boutique, two manicure and pedicure nail stations, eight treatment rooms, and men's and women's lounges for post-treatment relaxation.
Who’s it for: The young and hip, and the young and hip at heart. Our favorite rooms: The Extreme Wow Suite (yes, it’s called that) has a terrace with sunbeds, a Jacuzzi, and dramatic floor-to-ceiling glass walls offering superb panoramic views of the Mediterranean. Shake it up: The hotel’s Eclipse Bar offers mixology classes for guests.
Rising up dramatically at the end of the beach along the Barceloneta boardwalk, the Ricardo Bofill–designed W Hotel is uncompromisingly modern, complete with reflective glass façade, distinctive sail-like shape, and youthful, clubby interiors. The hotel has a refreshingly informal vibe, with an Ibiza-like ambience around the Wet Deck and international DJs playing in the 26th-floor Eclipse bar, which is enhanced by the peerless sea views, oodles of natural light, and direct beach access. The rooms are inevitably funky, decorated in sea-and-sand colors with blond woods and beige textiles, and kitted out with chaise lounges, flat-screen TVs, iPod docking stations, and great views of the Mediterranean or the city—even more so, thanks to the in-room telescopes.
The clients I pick up at this hotel are usually young modern people who appreciate high tech and design. It's people who are fun to be with, but they are also demanding at the same time. I love its architecture, and its casual restaurants, but it specially stands out by its cocktail bar with amazing views over the city (the place to go in the sunset!). I've only heard some complaints about the sometimes excessively hype design of the rooms, making it hard to find where the switches are (and it looks like in some rooms the bathroom has a transparent wall???)