It’s all about the view at these Barcelona hotel rooftops
While its skyline may not be defined by towering modern architecture in the same way as London or New York’s, the city of Barcelona presents a horizon that is equally — if not more — breathtaking, with its incorporation of the sea, historic landmarks and rolling greenery. A city of extraordinary sights, Barcelona presents something new with each visit, not least from these high heights, which combine awesome views with chic design and quality food and drink. §
Skybar at Grand Central Hotel
Situated between the Gothic quarter and El Born, Grand Central Hotel is ideally located for all of Barcelona’s main draws, but it is the hotel’s own attractions that make it sing. The rooftop SkyBar is revered by guests and locals alike, who flock here for the signature concoctions created by mixologist Manel Vehí, served poolside amongst sun canopies and longue seating. Riffs on classics — such as the mojito, which includes an unconventional but welcomed dash of egg white — are what make this spot stand out, and are best taken in facing the sea; a vantage point that also gives way to spectacular sunset views.
Via Laietana 30, T 34.93 295 79 00, www.grandhotelcentral.com
La Isabela at H1898
La Ramblas gets a bad rap and for many justifiable reasons. The presence of H1898 may well redeem all of these. Inside an 1881 building that was once the General Philippines Tobacco Company now stands a hotel and spa which injects some much needed elegance onto the tourist drag. Like the rest of the hotel, the 7th floor rooftop bar La Isabela takes its cues from the property’s colonial beginnings and is named for a Filipino island. Here, amongst an outdoor pool and calm lounge area, visitors are a world away from the bustle below, with relaxation aided by a fun selection of drinks and tapas made with ingredients from La Boquería.
La Rambla, 109, T 34.935 529 552, www.hotel1898.com
Terraces and swimming pools at Hotel Arts
Set away from the city’s central boulevards and holding an enviable position between the beach and the Port Olímpic marina, Hotel Arts has been reigning supreme in this neck of the woods for nearly 25 years. Built to accommodate the crowds visiting the city for the 1992 Olympics, the 500-room glass and steel structure was designed by Bruce Graham and has since become an iconic marker in Barcelona’s dramatic cityscape. Given its lofty heights — 44 storeys to be exact — it’s only fitting that the property is now home to an outdoor infinity pool and lounge, where cocktails, views and music combine to great effect.
Marina 19-21, T 34.932 211 000, www.hotelartsbarcelona.com
Restaurant and cocktail bar at Hotel Duquesa de Cardona
In a city where rooftop attractions literally jostle for attention, there’s something rather comforting and unassuming about the Hotel Duquesa de Cardona. That’s not to say this is a modest affair. Perched atop a 16th century building that was once home to nobility and a refuge for kings, is an impressively expansive (and modern) sun terrace with panoramic views. By day, this is the spot for those in the know, who come here for cooling dips in the pool and a chance to spot the city’s landmarks. By night, teak flooring, flickering candles and well-executed gin tonics set a sophisticated tone that has had loyal fans coming back for years.
Passeig Colom 12, T 34.932 689 090, www.hduquesadecardona.com
La Dolce Vitae at Majestic Hotel & Spa
The 10th floor of the Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona presents what might be Barcelona’s most luxe spot from which to instigate a game of ‘I Spy’. From Montjuïc Mountain to Casa Batlló to the Olympic Port towers, a host of the city’s landmarks can be taken in — and most importantly, discerned — from the hotel’s La Dolce Vitae rooftop bar. When every sight has been spotted, murals by artist Philip Stanton offer an equally mesmerising backdrop and are a perfect match for a DJ-selected soundtrack, which spans bossa nova, jazz, soul and disco. Dishes by revered chef Nandu Jubany add another layer of flavour.
Passeig de Gràcia 68, T +34 93 488 1717, www.hotelmajestic.es
Nearly ten years after opening, the Mandarin Oriental still astounds. From its gently sloping walkway that gradually silences the racket of the Passeig de Gracia upon entering, to the grand Patricia Urquiola-designed Blanc restaurant with its plush armchairs and Fat-Fat side tables from B&B Italia, this hotel is the ultimate word in luxury. It’s suitably crowned by Terrat; a recently revamped rooftop area, where a pool and deck for lounging are both in keeping with the hotel’s focus on wellness and are framed by city views. At night, mindfulness takes a backseat to indulgence, and authentic Peruvian cuisine by Gastón Acurio it best enjoyed with glass of wine in hand and the sunset in the distance.
Passeig de Gràcia, T 34.93 151 88 88, www.mandarinoriental.com
Born from the Condes Hotel Group’s decision to divide its flagship Passeig de Gracia property into two, Monument is an urban resort in the heart of Barcelona. With the original hotel now reconfigured to fit in one of the two buildings it originally spanned, the remaining building — an 1895 pre-modernist structure by architect Josep Vilaseca — now accommodates 84 guestrooms; three eateries, including the Michelin-starred Lasarte; a florist and a spa. While rooms, medleys of exposed recovered brickwork, oak and plush leather accents, offer plenty to take in, the pièce de résistance is undoubtedly Verbena, a new bar, lounge and chill out area on the 6th floor overlooking the city.
Passeig de Gràcia 75, T 34.935 482 000, www.monumenthotel.com
Located in Barcelona’s lively Gothic Quarter and in unbeatable proximity to the Palau Güell museum, La Basílica de la Mercè, and the buzzy Las Ramblas, Soho House Barcelona is undoubtedly situated in one of the city’s sweet spots. The position is only matched by the stunning transformation of the heritage-listed 19th-century former block in which it sits; now a 57-room retreat, complete with a rooftop pool and views over Port Vell marina. Slick accents like exposed brick ceiling vaults, local ceramic tiles, vintage bronze fittings and mosaic floors nod to classic Catalan references, an influence which also flavours the menu at the interior courtyard’s open kitchen, led by chef Michele Granziera.
Plaça Del Duc De Medinaceli 4, www.sohohousebarcelona.com
Breezy, fun and elegant, The Serras is all of Barcelona’s best attributes materialised and neatly packaged into a Gothic Quarter-located hotel. The 19th century structure in which the hotel is housed was designed by Spanish architect Francesc Daniel Molina, and now features a restored façade — just one extra draw to this building, which is known locally for being the site of Picasso’s first studio. With views of the Marina Port Vell from a rooftop terrace that includes a slick lounge area and an infinity pool, The Serras serves as an easy vantage point for some of the city’s best vistas. Elsewhere, guestrooms designed by Eva Martinez present a delicate balance of light and colour to complete the chic aesthetic.
Passeig de Colom 9, T 34.931 691 868, www.hoteltheserrasbarcelona.com