W BARCELONA, CATALONIa, SPAIN
After opening its doors in 2009, the W Barcelona soon established itself as one of the most iconic hotels in the world, famed for its signature sail-shaped structure that has become integral to Barcelona’s skyline. Nearly ten years on, an extensive multi-euro renovation has taken place. Anette Lien takes a look…
W Barcelona has grown to become one of W Hotels Worldwide’s flagship properties, and with good reason. Ever since its sail-shaped glass structure was erected nearly ten years ago it has been one of the most distinctive landmarks along the Barcelona coastline. With its unrivalled sea views and forward-thinking design, W Barcelona has continued to disrupt and redefine the city’s hospitality scene.
The hotel has seen continuous add-ons in its eight years, including the welcoming of iconic Bliss Spa shortly after opening, SALT BEACH CLUB in 2012, and new conference and meeting spaces, BREEZE, as well as the now famous SUN DECK, both in 2015.
To stay true to W’s contemporary, progressive and stylish approach to design, a revamp of the hotel’s 473 guestrooms and 67 suites was in order, a project that was completed in summer 2017. In addition to the refurb, W Barcelona has launched Europe’s first ever W Sound Suite, specifically aimed at touring artists from around the globe.
Originally designed by world-renowned architect Ricardo Bofill, the hotel’s renovation was carried out by the award-winning in-house design team at W Hotels in partnership with London-based design studio Bowler James Brindley. Still inspired by Barcelona’s 24/7 energy and the buzzing shores of Barceloneta, the designers have reinstated W Hotels and W Barcelona’s reputation as an innovative, young and vibrant player in the world’s hospitality sector.
The new room design celebrates both the city and the sea, embracing the unique views by positioning the bed facing the floor-to-ceiling windows. The colour palette is derived from the blue hues of the sea, with pops of white, teal and rose gold to accentuate the light and complement the views. The notion of underwater camouflage is displayed in the room’s wavy-patterned carpet, which is a playful interpretation of the seabed seen through the waters of the Mediterranean. Huge mirrors are also used to reinforce both the views and the seascape.
In a nod to Barcelona’s celebrated culinary scene, the modular furniture in the sitting area reflects Spain’s tapas culture – chic, small tables and chairs with asymmetrically hanging pendant lighting. The walls reflect the city’s grid with an innovative LED lighting structure that transforms the mood from day to night. The new rooms also feature humorous signature accent pillows showcasing modern images of iconic characters from Barcelona’s history, including Gaudí, Dalí and St. Eulalia.
In partnership with Coca Cola, the brand-new Sound Suites have been integrated into the W Barcelona. Very much the brainchild of the W brand’s North American Music Director, DJ White Shadow, a Chicago-based producer best known for his work with Lady Gaga, this private music studio and writer’s room enables professional recording for artists, studio musicians, producers and hotel guests to record in style while on the road.
Although the public areas of the hotel haven’t received a recent facelift, they are worth mentioning for their fresh look and minimal interiors. The lobby and lounge area have a colour-set of white, various shades of blue and terracotta. Funky pendant and table lamps in the shape of different types of sea coral blend seamlessly with the minimal design. Beautiful hanging chairs and comfy velvet sofas are scattered around to add a casual feel to the lounge, encouraging relaxation and rejuvenation.
Continuing the sea theme, a glass mural of colourful fish is on display in the W Lounge bar and by the lifts, the walls are decorated with sequin for that glimmering water effect.
The W Lounge leads out to the SUN DECK, where you can take in the breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the sea. Launched in 2015, the beachfront terrace offers a beautiful infinity pool that stretches 18 metres across the beach, designed to make the most of the hot temperatures.
The minimalist design of the SUN DECK with its Brazilian walnut deck and cool white furnishings is a continuation of the modern and innovative theme of the rest of the hotel. The SUN DECK is a great addition to the W signature WET DECK, which after eight successful seasons has become an essential part of the Barcelona summer scene. There is also a striking white horse statue, which is an intriguing feature.
The SUN DECK’s three WOW CABANAS and one EXTREME WOW CABANA (with its own Jacuzzi) are available for private hire and are furnished with spacious and comfortable sun beds, a minibar, a TV and a sound system.
BRAVO24 is W Barcelona’s signature restaurant and is led by the visionary Michelin-starred Catalan chef, Charles Abellan, and offer unparalleled views of the city. Serving up traditional local dishes in a stylish environment where cured meat hang from the ceiling, almost as a way of a design element. Natural hues have been used in furniture and decor, with striking lighting clusters of warm box-shaped pendant lamps creating a nice contrast.
Wave restaurant is located on the ground floor and changes from a sensual, atmospheric venue of dark colours and dim lighting at night, to a bright and airy room for breakfast and lunch. The transformation is remarkable and the two settings are almost like separate venues, depending on what time of day you visit.
Naturally, Wave pays homage to the sea and ocean, with shapes and structures in an overarching wavy formation. Not only does it match the rest of the hotel and the ocean ahead, but also Barcelona’s famed seafood scene.
Round, half-moon shaped sofas offer a great place to sit down and enjoy a view of the outside pool and Barceloneta beach – these complement the modern, clean interiors perfectly. More intimate seating areas are created by curtain separations.
Eclipse is the glamorous cocktail club designed by London-based nightlife gurus, the Ignite Group, and is situated on the 26th floor, where Barcelona’s impressive skyline naturally becomes an asset. Integrated into the design, the skyline is reflected in the vibrant neon colours, stylish interior, sleek furniture and luxurious textures. Metallic elements and the colourful upholstery create a distinctly futuristic, urban and modern feel.
Everything about W Barcelona reflects W Hotel’s approach to hospitality – contemporary, design-led and lifestyle-driven. In many ways, this is also the ethos of Barcelona as a city – modern in its thinking, famed for its futuristic architecture, and known for a bohemian way of living. The new interiors of the rooms and suites now match this image even more. W Barcelona has reinstated its position as the country’s most sought-after destination hotel.