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Hotel review: W Barcelona (Spain)

Wednesday newsletters always feature a luxury hotel and/or flight review.

Today (July 2, 2014): Review of the W Barcelona (Spain).
  • Location: Google Maps
  • Address: Plaça de la Rosa dels Vents, 1, 08039 Barcelona, Spain
  • Hotel website: W Barcelona
  • Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso

Located in the stunning waterfront area of Spain’s most dynamic and stylish city, W Barcelona boasts unparalleled views of both the Mediterranean Sea and the City of Barcelona from most of its 473 fabulous guest rooms and suites. Rising like a sail from the Mediterranean’s brown sands, it is as much a work of modern art as it is a luxury brand hotel. Designed by world-renowned architect Ricardo Bofill, W Barcelona sets the scene for a spectacular stay just steps from the famous Barceloneta boardwalk.

W Barcelona features in my top 10 lists of hotel rooms with the world’s best view, the world’s best urban resorts, and the most amazing city hotels in Europe.

In this review (more info below my Youtube clip & slideshow):

  • Pros & things I like
  • Cons & things to know
  • My verdict
  • Tips for future guests & save money
  • Best time to visit
  • How to get there

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PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • W Hotels definitely target a young, tech-savvy, modern market, and it is not different in this hotel: trendy ambience, young staff, music everywhere. Whenever, whatever. The hotel has definitely a WOW factor and it is my favorite W hotel in the world (and I have visited many of them).
  • The hotel is located in an impressive modern landmark skyscraper, somewhat reminiscent of Dubai’s iconic Burj Al Arab.
  • The location itself, you will either love it or hate it, depending upon your interests. Located away from the city centre in the part of Barcelona that was rebuilt for the 1992 Olympics, it offers direct access to the 2-mile long man-made beach in front of the hotel, where you also find the private beach club of the W hotel. No other hotel in Barcelona comes close to offering you this kind of resort-like vibe (and that is why it is my preferred hotel in the city). However, if you like to explore Barcelona’s cultural sights or it’s medieval center, then you may find the 30 minutes’ walk to the Ramblas (or short taxi drive) rather inconvenient.
  • The biggest plus of the W Barcelona are the amazing views from the guest rooms and the pool deck. There are two sets of rooms, one overlooking the port and the other overlooking the beach & city. Both are great but the second is the absolutely the best (book or request a room located on a higher floor with city & beach views).
  • Rooms are quite spacious and nicely decorated. Beds are super comfy to sink into (mattresses may be too soft for some). All rooms come with a nice lounge area to sit down, relax and soak in the views. There is also a daily bottle of water complementary, more water is 4 euros per bottle (except for SPG gold and platinum guests). The mini bar is well stocked with wine, beer, bubbles and spirits as well as soft drinks.
  • Breakfast is expensive (32 euros per person; complimentary for SPG platinum guests) but it is an absolutely fabulous spread with an unusual variety of locally made fruit juices (including kiwi and watermelon), yoghurts, smoothies, fresh fruit, pastries and breads, local cured meats and local cheeses. It also includes an “English breakfast” corner with desiccated scrambled eggs, greasy bacon and sausages.
  • The “wet deck” (spread over 2 levels) offers stunning views, a nice pool, wonderfully comfortable sun loungers and cabanas with double beds.
  • The spa is a cozy and perfect place to relax. The jacuzzi, hamam and sauna area is small but nice. Changing rooms are spacious with a relaxing area with drinks and snacks.
  • When not in the room, you won’t have to go far to find the action. The vibrant W lounge and Eclipse rooftop bar are playgrounds for grown ups. Drinks range from traditional to eclectic and everything in between, as do the clientele, making people-watching a spectator sport.

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
  • The frosted glass toilet and shower area in the guest rooms lack privacy and may be troublesome if you are staying in the same room with a companion that you do not feel too comfortable with.
  • The swimming pool is too small for a hotel of this size. In addition, the water is quite cold and a heated pool would enhance the customer experience.
  • Both check-in and check-out can be rather chaotic with long lines of people in front of you.
  • The food at the restaurants is generally of a very high standard, but more international than truly Spanish.
  • Service may be a hit and a miss from time to time.
  • There is loud music everywhere and the vibe is orientated towards a younger clientele, so older people may feel slightly out-of-place here (although this should not put you off).
  • Don’t go to Barcelona for the beaches as they are stony and dirty. Also be aware that the hotel is located close to a nudist beach.

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 9/10
  • Design: 8/10
  • Rooms: 8/10
  • Food: 8/10
  • Service: 8/10
  • Overall experience: very good: 8,2/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS
  • Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury resort like W Barcelona (and receive many free perks).
  • Save money: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and USD $100 food or spa credit).
  • Book or request a room with beach & city view (and not harbor view) located on a high floor.
  • Starwood Preferred Guests (SPG) with Gold or Platinum status are well treated, with – amongst other benefits – free high speed WiFi, complementary room upgrade (when available), early check-in or late check-out  (when available), and free breakfast (SPG platinum). Click here to read our review of the SPG program (with pros & cons).
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Barcelona is blessed with a benign Mediterranean climate. Early summer and fall are ideal times to visit, especially May to June and September to October. Even in the winter, days are crisp to cold (due to its proximity to the mountains) but often sunny. Snow is rare and never lasts more than a day or two.


HOW TO GET THERE

W Barcelona is located a 20 minute drive from Barcelona-El Prat International Airport. The latter is served by most European full-service and low-cost airlines (click here for a direct link to their websites),  as well as by many non-European airlines. Check the Wikipedia page of Barcelona-El Prat Airport for an updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to Barcelona.


HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY: ELEVATORS

LOBBY: ELEVATORS

LOBBY: W STORE

LOBBY: W STORE

SWIMMING POOL & DECK

SWIMMING POOL & DECK

POOL BAR

POOL BAR

SWIMMING POOL & DECK

SWIMMING POOL & DECK

SWIMMING POOL & DECK

SWIMMING POOL & DECK

POOL DECK (EARLY MORNING)

POOL DECK

LOBBY: HOTEL BAR

LOBBY: HOTEL BAR

LOBBY: HOTEL BAR

LOBBY: HOTEL BAR

LOBBY: HOTEL BAR

LOBBY: HOTEL BAR

LOBBY: HOTEL BAR

LOBBY: HOTEL BAR

LOBBY: STAIRS TO PROMENADE & BEACH

LOBBY: STAIRS TO PROMENADE & BEACH

PRIVATE BEACH CLUB

PRIVATE BEACH CLUB

PRIVATE BEACH CLUB

PRIVATE BEACH CLUB

SALT RESTAURANT ON THE BEACH

SALT RESTAURANT ON THE BEACH

SALT RESTAURANT ON THE BEACH

SALT RESTAURANT ON THE BEACH

HOTEL EXTERIOR & BEACH

HOTEL EXTERIOR & BEACH

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

ELEVATORS TO ROOMS

ELEVATORS TO ROOMS

RED HOTEL CORRIDORS

RED HOTEL CORRIDORS

COOL CORNER SUITE

COOL CORNER SUITE

COOL CORNER SUITE

COOL CORNER SUITE

COOL CORNER SUITE

COOL CORNER SUITE

COOL CORNER SUITE

COOL CORNER SUITE

TOILETRIES

TOILETRIES

FABULOUS ROOM

FABULOUS ROOM

FABULOUS ROOM

FABULOUS ROOM

FABULOUS ROOM

FABULOUS ROOM

FABULOUS ROOM

FABULOUS ROOM

FABULOUS ROOM

FABULOUS ROOM

FABULOUS ROOM: SHOWER & TOILET

FABULOUS ROOM: SHOWER & TOILET

FABULOUS ROOM: VIEW FROM ROOM

FABULOUS ROOM: VIEW FROM ROOM

FABULOUS ROOM: VIEW FROM ROOM

FABULOUS ROOM: VIEW FROM ROOM

FABULOUS ROOM: VIEW FROM ROOM

FABULOUS ROOM: VIEW FROM ROOM

SPECTACULAR SUITE

SPECTACULAR SUITE

SPECTACULAR SUITE

SPECTACULAR SUITE

SPECTACULAR SUITE

SPECTACULAR SUITE: TERRACE

SPA

SPA

ECLIPSE BAR

ECLIPSE BAR

ECLIPSE BAR

ECLIPSE BAR

ECLIPSE BAR

ECLIPSE BAR

POOL-SIDE LUNCH

POOL-SIDE LUNCH

BREAKFAST AREA

BREAKFAST AREA

BREAKFAST BUFFET

BREAKFAST BUFFET

BREAKFAST BUFFET

BREAKFAST BUFFET

BREAKFAST BUFFET

BREAKFAST BUFFET

BREAKFAST BUFFET

BREAKFAST BUFFET

BREAKFAST BUFFET

BREAKFAST BUFFET

BREAKFAST BUFFET

BREAKFAST BUFFET

BREAKFAST BUFFET

BREAKFAST BUFFET

WAVE RESTAURANT: CEASAR SALAD

WAVE RESTAURANT: CEASAR SALAD

WAVE RESTAURANT: ENTREE

WAVE RESTAURANT: ENTREE

WAVE RESTAURANT: DESSERT

WAVE RESTAURANT: DESSERT


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1 Comment on Hotel review: W Barcelona (Spain)

  1. Whilst an OK hotel, you really cannot say this is 9/10 for location. It is nothing like a resort and unless you want to visit a Desigual shop there is nothing to do. The beach is OKish but nobody goes to Barcelona to not visit the city itself and for that, the location is very poor.

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