An early morning arrival into the Barcelona airport after a long set of flights left me a bit hazy, but my driver contained enough enthusiasm for both of us. “You will love it here,” he exclaimed while passing my bags to the bellman at the elegant Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona. He was right.
There was no question where I’d stay upon first landing in Barcelona. As a long-time fan of Mandarin Oriental hotels, I knew I’d feel most comfortable—especially traveling alone—amid familiar details and subtle luxuries.
Recovering from jet lag in a Mandarin Oriental spa is never a hardship and without my daughter in tow, I could lounge there to my heart’s content. What I didn’t realize until checking in is that everything I wanted to do during my entire visit to Barcelona was just steps from the hotel.
Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona Location
Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona rests on the famous Passeig de Gracia, a street in the Eixample neighborhood lined with Gaudi architecture, fantastic restaurants, and shopping. It is considered the most expensive street in the city—perhaps all of Spain.
Many of Barcelona’s best attractions are within walking distance including Casa Batllà³, La Rambla (I’m not a fan, but it’s close), La Boqueria, La Pedreram the Gothic Quarter, the beach and even la Sagrada Família.
While I wasn’t traveling during what I might consider peak hours, the drive from the airport to Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona took an easy 30 minutes. I hired a driver through Blacklane for about €65 who met me after baggage claim and drove me in a lovely Mercedes to the hotel.
The bottom line is that Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona is extremely centrally-located for those craving convenience.
Chic Decor Throughout
I wasn’t too tired to notice the stark whites, vibrant patterns and fabulous art scattered throughout the lobby and common areas. Nor did I miss the Manolo Blahnik boutique steps to the left of the front desk. Yes, it’s inside the hotel!
The luxury hotel’s 120 rooms and suites, as well as most common areas, feature spectacular interiors by famed Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola. The decor is simply breathtaking. I’ve heard multiple people declare this property one their favorites in the group the interior design, while lacking much of the Asian flourish other MO hotels have, no doubt has a lot to do with this praise.
A Suite Butler
My room was upgraded to a phenomenal Deluxe Suite that included terraces overlooking Passeig de Gracia, a separate master bathroom and bedroom, a powder room, Acqua Di Parma bath amenities, and butler service, to name just a few of the many luxuries.
If you’re of the mind that butler service is frivolous, rest assured that they can greatly enhance a stay. A team of butlers are on-hand at Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona throughout the day and night. I needed a document printed, scanned and emailed quickly, a task that my butler was able to facilitate within minutes exactly per my request. Butlers unpack disheveled suitcases and re-pack them to perfection. And, as butlers get to know you, they can customize your stay in a thoughtful manner from delivering perfect coffee in the morning to making sure your fruit bowl is stocked exactly to your preference.
They become your go-to. And, here it is customary for them to treat you to a welcome drink in the bar.
A Zen Spa
There is absolutely no better cure for jet lag than a good steam and a full-body spa treatment. Period. Guests of Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona who arrive at the hotel early or have late departures can store belongings in the changing room lockers and have full use of the wellness facilities.
After a cup of coffee and a quick catch-up on email, I arrived at the spa well over an hour in advance to freshen up and sit in the Oriental steam room where I transformed from completely exhausted with a slight headache to a surprising state of energy (no joke). After flipping through a magazine next to the two-lane pool, I gladly took my first post-airplane shower and chilled out in the dimly-lit, sleek relaxation room with cool flavored water and snacks where my therapist collected me for a nearly 2-hour Time Rituals signature treatment.
A fan of signature hotel treatments, this one was selected for me because it is a block of time that is filled based on a conversation between guest and therapist. Because of the current state of my skin and the fact that I was hours off a long haul flight, we that my equilibrium would best be restored by a salt scrub, massage and mini facial using products that emphasize hydration.
I feared missing bliss by falling asleep, but managed to enjoy every minute of it. I felt so rejuvenated afterward that I didn’t feel the urge to nap that day (and I don’t sleep well on planes), managed to go shopping, enjoyed mid-afternoon tapas nearby and even had a late dinner in the hotel. I never bounce back from long haul flights like this.
(See also: Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong’s Imperial Jade Ritual – another favorite jet lag spa treatment)
Delicious Dining with Views of Gaudi
Though my stay was short, I managed to experience four of the six Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona restaurants. Dining is very much part of a guest’s experience so it is worth going into detail about the glorious food.
BistrEau by Ángel León
With its hanging topiaries, spectacular lattice suspended from the ceiling and other stunning decor, BistrEau by Ángel León is one of the most beautiful restaurants I’ve ever been in. An extensive breakfast buffet is served here (only the pastry and fruit table is shown above) as well as lunch and dinner.
Ángel León is a household name in Spain because of his unique application of seafoods so I couldn’t resist adding his plankton butter, plankton brioche and fish sausage to my breakfast plate, among other delights.
Reserved exclusively for hotel guests prior to 7 p.m., the view from rooftop Terrat (also pictured in the top photo) is extraordinary and no doubt one of the best in Barcelona.
Laptop in hand, I ventured up here to get some work done with a glass of good Spanish wine (regrettably, I don’t remember the name). This intimate space is truly special and surprisingly quiet though the city buzzes below. It wasn’t busy so the bartender let me taste several wines before choosing one—touches like this reaffirm why I’m a fan of the brand. Guests can also take a dip in the pool. I imagine that during peak times in warm weather—it had just rained earlier in the day of my visit—that Terrat is the place to be.
Not too hungry, but knowing I should eat, I noshed on amazing “Arturo Sà¡nchez” Reserva (cured Iberian ham) and pane con tomate—my favorite order in Barcelona—at the swanky Banker’s Bar where I imagine many after-work drinks are enjoyed by the city’s movers and shakers. If you find yourself here, order this dish!
Mimosa Garden makes up for Barcelona’s lack of green space. It’s hard to believe this lush al fresco garden is on a hotel terrace because it transports you almost into another world. After check-out, I snuck up here for some quiet computer time once again paired with wine and an octopus salad tapa.
I did not have a chance to try two-Michelin-star cuisine at Moments but it is on my to-do list for my next stay. BistrEau also has a 12-person chef’s table called La Mesa where chef Angel Leon prepares a 15-course meal for guests. Guests may also order from a 24-hour in-room dining menu.
Good to Know
As mentioned before, this Mandarin Oriental features less—but certainly not zero—Asian influence than other properties in the group likely to mesh into the local culture.
This hotel is for discerning travelers and I dare say those who crave privacy because every space has an exclusive feel. That being said, I would definitely bring my 8-year-old. She’d love it.
There isn’t a business center but the concierge desk or butlers can assist with printing and other office needs. WiFi is complimentary.
Service here in the restaurants, at the front desk and spa as well as everywhere else I journeyed throughout the hotel, was impeccable.
I don’t have any complaints and highly recommend this luxury hotel. It’s truly special.
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Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona
Passeig de Grà cia, 38-40
08007 Barcelona, Spain
+34 93 151 88 88
*Thank you to Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona for a media rate
**Lobby, Deluxe Suite Bedroom, Spa and Mimosa Garden photos are courtesy of Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona