An epicenter of culture, Barcelona really encapsulates the beauty of the Spanish lifestyle with its jaw-dropping architecture, glistening beaches, sizzling wine and tapas scene, and energetic locals. Between the twisted spires of Gaudí’s marvelous creations and the sparkle of the Mediterranean, the Catalan capital is easily one of the most dazzling destinations in the world. The city effectively balances a laid-back beach lifestyle with the excitement and glamour of a thriving modern metropolis, whilst still preserving its rich local heritage.
Barcelona is divided into different barrios, all of which possess their own unique character and a stunning diversity of landmarks, from the colorful modernism of Antoni Gaudí to the austere turrets of the Gothic Quarter, whereas a booming nightlife scene, vibrant street life and world-class galleries fill in the blanks.
Where to Stay
The Hotel Arts Barcelona ticks all the boxes for a comfortable and inspired stay. Positioned directly on the beachfront overlooking both Port Olimpic and Barceloneta, the hotel offers a premiere Mediterranean escape where the city meets the sea. Housed within a 44-storey tower that’s become an icon of the city, Hotel Arts features 483 light-filled rooms, suites and penthouses with unobstructed views looking out to the sea and toward the city. The hotel’s creative spirit meets a luxurious minimalist aesthetic with contemporary décor, clean lines and tons of beiges and whites.
The accommodation is also appointed with various high-end features, such as Bang & Olufsen entertainment systems, and a separate shower and soaking tub. No less jaw-dropping are the common spaces, as evidenced by the generously-sized swimming pool that sits along Frank Gehry’s huge shimmering ‘Fish’ sculpture and extravagant floral designs. The property is rounded out with enticing spa facilities and six different restaurants, including the celebrated Enoteca, which has two Michelin stars.
Be sure to check out our Luxury Hotel Guide to Barcelona for the complete breakdown of the city’s top options.
Where to Dine
Considered one of the finest restaurants in all of Spain, ABaC is the 3-starred Michelin restaurant that delivers an unforgettable gastronomic experience. The establishment is housed in the elegant boutique hotel of the same name at the foot on Mount Tibidabo, where a soothing color palette of cream and white tones perfectly complements the adjacent gardens of the pavilion. The sleek, light-filled space lends a relaxing and intimate atmosphere with a total capacity of just 56 diners.
The excellent cuisine is led by the brilliant chef Jordi Cruz and his robust team, who creatively merge their Spanish-Catalan roots with exquisite flavors from all around the world. The menu is full of dishes that tell a story with every single bite, whereas the wine cellar is stocked with over 1,400 bottles to ensure that you’ll also find the perfect complement to your meal.
Take a peek through our Restaurant Guide to Barcelona for the complete breakdown of the city’s top culinary experiences.
What to Do
From the bustling La Rambla to the tiny back streets, Barcelona is an electrifying place that’s filled with life. For the most spectacular views of the city, take a private tour of Park Güell, designed by Gaudí and reminiscent of a vivid fairy-tale land. When it comes to the vibrant arts scene, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona is a great place to start with exhibitions changing frequently to showcase artwork by the modern greats, whereas history buffs will definitely want to check out the Picasso Museum, a beautifully revamped space that’s been dedicated completely to the early life and work of the legendary Spanish painter.
Part of the exclusive OneOcean Club’s restaurant at the Port Vell Marina, OneOcean Bar is a new building perched on the marina waterfront’s 16,000 square meters of dock space. Designers and judges remarked at the synergy of beauty, energy, and elegance brought together in this smart, urban Barcelona location. Then as the sun sets, follow the sophisticated crowds to the mariners to sip champagne on deck as the waves shimmer peach and orange, before the ocean turns indigo and night begins to glow.
Feeling like winding down after a long day out in the sun? Head to The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona. The exquisite wellness center was designed as an oasis of respite in the heart of the city. The tailor-made treatments were created to bring you into a state of blissful equilibrium with a range of holistic treatments and therapies from all over the world. As you are shown to your own private spa suite, you will embark on a journey to rebalance the needs of your mind, body and soul.
What to Pack
Life’s a beach in Barcelona and even outside the height of summer, there are still plenty of rooftop pools for showcasing your best swimwear. This Matteau Square Swimsuit is crafted from a quick-drying stretch fabric to maintain comfort levels at all times. It comes in a minimal design with a square neckline with added support coming from the shoulder straps. As one of the sunniest cities in Europe, you’ll also want these Bottega Veneta Square-Frame Sunglasses, whose oversized silhouette and sharp corners exude confidence – no matter the occasion.
Stay ahead of the game and on time with a Rolex Day-Date. Featuring yellow gold president bracelet and white dial, this exclusive piece houses a 3255 movement with Bespoke Day-Date display available for your travels. Exploring the charms that the Catalan city has to offer are best done with this Hunting Season Nappa Leather Crossbody Bag in hand. The compact style is made with a suede-lined interior and elongated shoulder strap, making it a convenient hands-free option when strolling around throughout the day.