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Cooler In Catalunya: A Return To W Barcelona

by Continental Club on July 9, 2013  |  Leave a comment • Tagged as: ,

W HotelsReaders with elephant-like memories might remember that Continental Club headed off to Barcelona to check out the then quite new W Barcelona Hotel back in 2011 and, by all accounts, we were impressed.

There were a few areas of service that needed polish, but we observed that with a little buffing, we thought the W would ‘deserve a much lengthier re-visiting’.

Never ones to rush, it’s taken two years for our travels to see us back on the Barceloneta waterfront, and it’s almost all good news – because the W really has matured into a very accomplished property indeed; a definite attention-seeker but one that has clearly become a very important part of the city’s day-to-day life.

To see what we said after our first stay, read Cool in Catalunya – W Barcelona Hotel, and we’ll add to it here with a few more words and pictures, starting with the lobby level Living Room and bar:

W Barcelona Hotel

Upstairs, signature deep-red corridors lead to the guest rooms, but draw the eyes much further out towards the sun and the Mediterranean beyond.

W Barcelona Hotel

We chose a Mega Room for this trip, a type to be found at the hotel’s corners and ones spacious enough that some other European properties might push to describe as a junior suite. As on our last stay, the bathroom offered a free-standing bath as well as a very socially-proportioned shower, although we spotted that the Bliss toiletries have gone from oversized to rather more petite. Or maybe we’ve just got bigger….

W Barcelona Hotel Mega RoomRooms at the W very successfully stage the city and the sea beyond their floor-to-ceiling windows, and the lack of balconies (which might otherwise perhaps be expected in a Southern European sea-side hotel) really doesn’t seem to be any kind of compromise when so much light floods in.

W Barcelona Hotel Mega Room

It certainly makes for quite a grandstand from which to enjoy a room-service breakfast, if the thought of heading downstairs is just too much before the sun is over the yard-arm.

W Barcelona Hotel Mega Room

When we did venture out, it was to a WET Bar on the pool deck that has banished all traces of the slightly slow service which marked our first visit. It may not yet have quite been full-on sun-baking weather this time, but the staff were as on-the-ball as they’d have to be on the busiest of days.

W Barcelona WET Pool Bar

And this trip, we had the time to venture up to the 26th floor Eclipse Bar – which remains possibly the only part of the hotel that still doesn’t quite ‘work’. The decor is striking, as are the views, but somehow top-floor hotel bars always feel a touch contrived with no passing traffic to freshen the crowd.

W Barcelona Eclipse Bar

Even rooftop bars seem to more successfully make their mark. So, whether it’s Dubai, Manchester, Barcelona or any number of others of the genre, the urge to descend back to ground level and reconnect with the World comes sooner rather than later. There’s no doubting that Eclipse is worth at least a look though.

W Barcelona Eclipse Bar

More than anything on this second visit, it was the service from the whole staff that really impressed. The hotel has instilled a level of pride in its people that seems to be worn well; where other design-led hotels can suffer from being altogether too-cool-for-school, W Barcelona appears to have attracted a team which enjoys both just being there and looking after its guests.

Whereas check-in was a bit of a bunfight in 2011, all was calm, friendly and efficient this time. The slightly distracted concierge service of two years ago has apparently developed into an ability to even pull a last-minute table at one of the city’s most noted restaurants out of the hat with little fuss.

So we’re more than pleased that we returned and, in fact, we’re already looking forward to the next stay. The W has definitely found an impressive way of combining the most modern of styles with some deeply traditional principles of solidly good ‘hotelling’.

W Barcelona Hotel

Continental Club paid EUR270 per night for a Mega Room at the W Barcelona Hotel, not including breakfast. To check availability and to book, visit whotels.com/barcelona.

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