W Barcelona was the Starwood brand’s first foray into Western Europe when it opened in 2009. While its beach location might lend itself to a predominantly leisure audience, the hotel has also been popular with business travellers – it was voted second in the Best New Business Hotel in the World category at last year’s Business Traveller Awards.
What’s it Like?
From speaking to residents, the 26-storey building appears to split opinion between being an iconic piece of modern architecture and a blot on the city’s landscape, but there’s no doubt it has breathed new life into what was a quiet area of the beachfront. The expansive lobby consists of a large cube-shaped atrium attached to the main tower, with a glass roof, and features a DJ and funky seating.
Where is it?
At the south end of the beach, known as Barceloneta, on the edge of Port Vell, a regenerated harbour area with an Imax theatre, boutiques, bars and restaurants. It’s a fair walk from tourist areas such as La Rambla, but there is a taxi rank outside.
The entry-level category is Cosy, but there are only 22 of these, out of a total of 473 rooms. Next up are Wonderful rooms, with chaise lounges by the windows, 32-inch LCD TVs, iPod docks, Tivoli radio alarm clocks, Wi-fi (€19/R222 for 24 hours or free in the lobby), work desks, robes and slippers, an iron/ironing board and Bliss amenities. The bathrooms are open-plan with closets for the toilet and rainshower. All rooms have sea views, though Fabulous ones and suites, which look north towards the Port Olympic development, have by far the best vistas. Higher room categories, including the Marvellous suite in which I was staying, have bathtubs in the bedroom itself, which may not be to your taste. Marvellous suites and above also have outdoor terraces and Illy coffee machines. Décor is minimalist – bright and white with splashes of purple and red – but you’ll really spend most of your time looking out of the window.
Restaurants & Bars
W bar is located between the lobby and outdoor terrace, and offers DJ music and retro games. Ground-floor all-day diner Wave serves “light, healthy Mediterranean delights with a seafood focus”. You can take breakfast here or in the signature restaurant, Bravo. Located on the second floor, it has an outdoor terrace. Dishes are cooked over wood, with an emphasis on meat, fish and seafood. There is also the poolside Wet bar, and Eclipse, a 26th-floor establishment that is one of the highlights of the property. A funky space with views across the city, Barcelona’s beautiful people can be found here sipping cocktails and dancing to the latest mixes. It’s open until 04h00 at the weekend.
Business & Meeting Facilities
The hotel has one of the most extensive meeting offerings in the city, with 2,100m2 of space across 13 rooms and three floors. The largest venue is the 1,000m2 Great room, with a seven-metre-high ceiling and sea views. The outdoor deck can also be hired for events, as can Eclipse, and the terrace of the Extreme Wow suite can be used for smaller gatherings.
The Wet deck is spread over two floors overlooking the beach, with a 20-metre pool and loungers, cabanas and sofas. The 700m2 Bliss spa occupies two floors and offers eight treatment rooms, relaxation areas, a steam room, sauna and spa bath. There is also a workout space with Technogym equipment and beach views from floor-to-ceiling windows.
An excellent addition to the Spanish city’s hotel scene, with extensive business facilities and wonderful views along the coastline. Starwood’s W brand seems almost tailor-made for the city, with its youthful, trendy approach and buzzing on-site nightlife.
Address: Placa de la Rosa dels Vents, Barcelona, +34 932 952 800, whotels.com