Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.
Late September, I was supposed to travel to French Polynesia for a holiday of a lifetime. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing pandemic, that trip was cancelled two weeks prior to departure, so I had to look for a last minute holiday elsewhere. In the end, I choose Spain as a travel destination, where I enjoyed a wonderful time, despite some unusually rainy and dreadful weather. You can read my trip reports here:
- Review: Tui Boeing 737 MAX from Brussels to Ibiza
- Review: W Ibiza Hotel
- Review: Six Senses Ibiza Resort
- Review: Hacienda Na Xamena
- Review: Mandarin Oriental Barcelona (today)
- Review: Hotel Arts Barcelona, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel
- Review: Four Seasons Hotel Madrid
Today: Review of Mandarin Oriental Barcelona (Spain)
- Location: Google maps
- Hotel website: Mandarin Oriental Barcelona
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso
Ideally located near all the city’s major attractions, the 5-star Mandarin Oriental Barcelona offers an atmospheric setting on Passeig de Gràcia, Barcelona’s most upscale avenue. With contemporary interiors by designer Patricia Urquiola, the 120 rooms and suites (some with private terraces) are among the most luxurious in Barcelona. Carme Ruscalleda (one of the most awarded chefs in the world) is the leader of the two-Michelin-starred Moments Restaurant, casual Blanc, and Banker’s Bar. Terrat rooftop bar serves chef Gastón Acurio’s Peruvian delights. The luxurious spa is designed as a haven of serenity, making Mandarin Oriental the perfect base to explore the Catalan capital.
Mandarin Oriental Barcelona features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Barcelona.
Have you ever stayed at Mandarin Oriental Barcelona? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.
In this review (more info and photos below my YouTube video):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- Mandarin Oriental Barcelona enjoys an excellent location on Passeig de Gràcia, at the very center of Barcelona’s commercial and entertainment district. It provides easy access to the city’s finest shopping, dining and cultural venues and is a short walk from many major tourist attractions. From the hotel, guests can stroll amongst the city’s celebrated promenades and architecture and enjoy the attractions of the famous Las Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter. Barcelona’s many museums, churches and parks are all close at hand and two of the most celebrated buildings by the city’s famous architect Gaudí – Casa Batlló and Casa Mila – are just a stone’s throw from the hotel. In addition, Barcelona’s airport (El Prat) is a mere 20 minutes by car.
- Mandarin Oriental Barcelona is housed in an elegant mid-20th century building, which was once the head offices of a bank. In keeping with Mandarin Oriental’s passion for working with creative design concepts, the famous Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola was commissioned to create the hotel’s stunning interior. The design revolves around a soaring white atrium and floating catwalk, which lead from the Passeig de Gràcia to the cream-and-gold-colored lobby. Featuring sliding crystal doors, mirrored ceilings, and intricate latticework, the entrance hall overlooks the light filled Blanc restaurant and lounge below. The spatial layout and furniture design, the ceiling decorations, and the beautiful hand-woven carpets have all been carefully chosen by Urquiola.
- Each of the hotel’s 120 rooms and suites has been individually furnished and decorated to embrace the best of the destination whilst adding a touch of Oriental flair. The luxurious guestrooms are amongst the largest in the city and look out over Barcelona’s most stylish boulevard – Passeig de Gràcia – or over the hotel’s landscaped interior garden. A number of guestrooms have a balcony or terrace, from which to admire the surrounding modernist façades. During my visit, I was upgraded to a fabulous Premier Suite, which included a master bedroom, living room with dining table for 6, and a luxurious bathroom equipped with standalone bathtub. Sumptuous fabrics of leather, velvet and exquisite silks were mixed with elegant woods and a rich palette of green, black and gold to create a sophisticated and vibrant living space.
- Conceived as a sophisticated urban oasis, The Spa at Mandarin Oriental is a luxurious wellness sanctuary located in the basement of the property. Designer Urquiola has used a balance of black and white contrasts combined with the warmth of wood with accents in malachite green to create an elegant and serene retreat, markedly modern in style with Oriental touches. The spa features a total of eight treatment rooms. These include two luxury couples’ spa suites, two oriental suites, complete with individual spa vitality pools and futons for traditional Thai massages, and four luxurious treatment rooms, each with their own aromatherapy experience shower. An expansive 12 m (40 ft) indoor swimming pool, heat and water areas as well as a fully serviced state-of-the-art fitness center further complement the hotel’s lifestyle facilities.
- On its 9th floor, Mandarin Oriental Barcelona features a gorgeous rooftop, which ranks among the largest and most exclusive rooftop spots in Barcelona. Surrounded by perfectly trimmed hedges, the terrace offers a spectacular and unique perspective over Barcelona’s skyline. Most of city’s landmarks are visible from the rooftop, including the Sagrada Familia, Casa Battlo, Plaça d’Espanya, and the cathedral. The rooftop’s eye-catcher is a rectangular dipping pool, surrounded by wood slats, cushioned loungers, and wicker chairs. Drinks & light snacks are offered during the day. The ambiance (and views) are particular great in the late afternoon since the rooftop offers a picture-perfect view of the sunset.
- Mandarin Oriental Barcelona offers stylish dining in a choice of restaurants and bars:
- Culinary talent and exquisite design converge in the hotel’s signature restaurant, Moments, which is awarded with two Michelin stars. Renowned Chef Carme Ruscalleda, one of the most awarded female Chefs in the world and best ambassador of Catalan gastronomy, is the Director of Moments which offers one of the most innovative culinary experiences in the city. The Moments kitchen is headed by Chef Raül Balam, Ruscalleda’s son, who has been working with her for many years.
- Set against a dramatic white backdrop, under vaulted skylights, Blanc Restaurant is the hotel’s all-day dining venue. Serving Carme Ruscalleda’s cuisine in a casual setting, Blanc is a venue with a unique design: the huge, suspended metallic mesh is one of the hotel’s most spectacular architectural features. Blanc’s menu focuses on local cuisine based on natural ingredients cooked with respect and inspiration.
- With a ceiling fashioned from authentic safety deposit boxes eluding to the building’s former use as a bank, the fabulous Banker’s Bar is both a vibrant nightspot and stunning piece of design. Atmospherically lit with a choice of indoor and outdoor seating, Banker’s Bar offers an extensive list of cocktails including much-loved classics including Bloody Mary, Cosmopolitan, Margarita or Whiskey Sour.
- The Terrat rooftop terrace features a spectacular dipping pool and offers guests the possibility of enjoying cocktails and sophisticated Peruvian dishes by Gastón Acurio with the unique Barcelona skyline as backdrop.
- The property is managed by the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. Over the past 50 years, Mandarin Oriental has grown from a well-respected Asian hotel company into one of the world’s most exclusive hotel brands, and has a rich and proud history which began with the opening of the brand’s flagship property, The Mandarin, in 1963 in Hong Kong. In 1974, The Oriental in Bangkok, which was already acknowledged as one of the world’s most legendary hotels was partially acquired by the group, making the company unique in the way that it has two flagship hotels whose names represented the very best in hospitality. Today, the group operates more than 30 hotels worldwide, with each property featuring a distinctive oriental design (reflecting its heritage) and a unique sense of place.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
- The rooftop pool functions more as a decorative element than a real pool. It’s only about 60 cm (2 ft) deep, so you can’t really swim in it. It’s perfect though to take a dip on a hot summer day. If you want to swim laps or need some morning workout, you’re better off in the spa’s indoor lap pool, which is illuminated by green neon lights.
- When Mandarin Oriental Barcelona opened in 2009, there was some criticism about the size of the rooms, which were not up to what you find in other hotels of the chain. However, in 2014 some renovation works were done and the average size of the rooms was increased, so that’s not a problem anymore. Nevertheless, I suggest to book one of the suites if you prefer more space.
- Location: 9/10
- Design: 9/10
- Pool: 8/10
- Rooms: 9/10
- Food: 9/10
- Breakfast: 9/10
- Spa: 9/10
- Service: 9/10
- Value for money: 8/10
- Overall experience: very good 8,6/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: read here my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Mandarin Oriental Barcelona (and/or receive many free perks).
- Save money: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and a complimentary Tapas assortment including drinks for two at Banker’s Bar).
- Room tip: most rooms and suites at Mandarin Oriental Barcelona offer views over the city or into the back garden. The best rooms come with either a small patio or balcony, making the room bright and full of light. I recommend booking a suite, since these rooms are more spacious and their guests have access to butler service.
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
July and August are the peak of the tourist season in Barcelona. Temperatures can be sweltering, especially in the city centre, and everywhere is busy, including the beach. From March to June and from September to November, things are a little less crowded, and you can also enjoy warm and pleasant weather. September is particularly good in terms of weather and beach goers can benefit from a sea that still feels blissfully warm after the hot summer months. There’s always a lot going on in Barcelona and there are festivals and events throughout the year, so you might want to research what’s happening and when before making a choice. In terms of booking a suite at Mandarin Oriental Barcelona, the winter months tend to be a little bit cheaper, so that’s worth bearing in mind too.
HOW TO GET THERE
Barcelona’s airport (El Prat) is a mere 20 minutes by car from Mandarin Oriental Barcelona.
Below is a selection of my photos of Mandarin Oriental Barcelona. To view more hotel photos (including meals), click here.
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