Where to stay
The Catalan capital is home to some rather fabulous hotels, ranging from the boutique to the internationally famous. If you like the ease of a large hotel, the W Hotel and the Hotel Arts both offer state-of-the-art facilities, private pool areas and jaw-dropping ocean views. The Hotel Arts also has its own in-house two-Michelin star restaurant – Enoteca by Paco Perez – while the W has a top-floor nightclub and cocktail bar, Eclipse.
For something closer to the city centre, the Mandarin Oriental is located right on the Passeig de Gràcia, Barcelona’s answer to the Champs Elysées and the epicentre of designer shopping. You’ll be within seconds of all the best boutiques, as well as some of the city’s most famous Modernist landmarks.
For a more boutique feel, The Wittmore Hotel is an adults-only hotel reminiscent of a British gentleman’s club, with cozy leather chairs, log fireplaces and a rather hush-hush feel about it. Nearby, Soho House Barcelona is one of the trendiest places to be seen, with the city’s millennials and creative types hanging out in the clubhouse or around the rooftop pool.
Where to eat & hang out
There are many excellent choices for eating out in Barcelona and some of the best are not necessarily the most expensive. That said, there are certain experiences you’ll need to be prepared to splash out on, such as dinner at Lasarte – Barcelona’s only three Michelin-star restaurant. The stylish, recently-redesigned dining room is the perfect setting for an evening indulging in some of the most refined Catalan cuisine you can find.
More casual but possibly even harder to get a table at, Tickets is the tapas bar created by chef Albert Adrià – restaurateur and brother of the famous Albert Adrià of elBulli. Here you can bite into some of the brothers’ most iconic dishes such as spherified olives, as well as some rather creative takes on traditional Spanish tapas.
If you’re in the mood for something a little showy, the One Ocean Club in Marina Port Vell is an exclusive private members’ club overlooking the harbour. Come in the summer and you’ll have chance to admire some of the world’s largest and most luxurious super-yachts and, who knows, you might even rub shoulders with their owners.
Where to shop
The Passeig de Gràcia is the place for designer shopping in Barcelona and here you’ll find the likes of Dior, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Stella McCarntey and more. It’s also one of the most charming streets in Barcelona, boasting architect Antoni Gaudí’s famous Casa Batlló.
For something a little more original and unique, the El Born neighbourhood is home to a number of small designer boutiques and artisan workshops where you can find unique jewellery, leatherwear, jackets and shoes. You’ll also find concept stores such as the Mediterranean-inspired Bon Vent.
Finally, an exclusively Barcelona luxury shopping experience is a trip to the boutique store Santa Eulalia. One of the oldest stores in Barcelona, the Santa Eulalia has been dressing the city’s elite since 1843 and stocks some of the biggest designer labels in the world, as well as a curated selection of perfumes, bags, jewellery and other accessories for men and women.
What to do
For a taste of true luxury, treat yourself to a day being pampered in one of Barcelona’s top spas. The Spaciomm is located in the luxurious Hotel Omm offering a range of relaxing and therapeutic treatments, including a rejuvenating Diamond Lifting treatment using Natura Bissé products. For something a little more sensual, the Aire de Barcelona is a spa inspired by the Ancient Roman baths, including a circuit of hot and cold pools. It also offers guests the chance to bathe in red wine with their exclusive vinotherapy treatment.
Given that the sun sets over the hills in Barcelona, rather than the sea, what better way to admire the sunset than by taking to the waves and enjoying your own private boat tour. A number of private companies offer exclusive packages allowing you to enjoy your own excursion and champagne picnic as the sun sets over Montjuïc hill.