October 03 2009
When it comes to hotels with starry achitectural credentials, nowhere leads like Spain. Witness Madrid’s Hotel Puerta América, with input from David Chipperfield, Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid, John Pawson and Ron Arad; or Frank Gehry’s Marqués de Riscal in Rioja. In Bilbao even the Sheraton was designed by Ricardo Legorreta. So it comes as no surprise that in Barcelona the W Hotel (pictured; www.starwoodhotels.com; doubles from €299) should occupy a waterfront tower designed by Ricardo Bofill. (Not that it is as lofty as Richard Rogers’ 107m Hesperia Tower nearby, which has a hotel at its summit too.)
Located in Barceloneta, the 473-room W will soon face competition from Mandarin Oriental (www.mandarinoriental.com; doubles from £227), whose 98-room property on Passeig de Gràcia in L’Eixample – an altogether better location for sightseeing and shopping – should open before Christmas. It may not have sea views (though there’s a small rooftop pool), but the area boasts many of Gaudí’s greatest buildings; indeed, the modernist façade of Casa Batlló is visible from some rooms.