Glass teams up with luxury city guide publisher Hg2 to explore Barcelona
Barcelona is a city focused on the good things in life; good food, good wine and good company, which leaves little room for anything more strenuous. Opulent yet edgy, a leader in modern interior design yet famous for its Gothic architecture as you’d expect from the city that spawned Gaudi and the Modernist movement. Barcelona presents a series of contrasts, what can be assured though, is that it's always a fabulous choice for a weekend away.
While it may have opened in 2010, W Barcelona - arguably the most anticipated hotel to have opened in the city - will continue to grab headlines well into 2011 and beyond. With more than a little Burj Al Arab about it, the sail-shaped building is courtesy of Spanish starchitect Ricardo Bofill and its design is described as "where Miró meets the Mediterranean." But it's not all poetic press spiel and glass-fronted glossiness; inside are 473 rooms and 67 suites, two hedonistic playgrounds in the form of the W Lounge and Eclipse bar, as well as restaurant, pool and spa. And with everything decked out in marvellous modernist style, even the most discerning aesthetes will feel right at home.
Housed within the grand Hotel Majestic, it is here at Drolma - in a refined dining room decked out with red carpet, wood-panelled walls and white-clothed tables - that celebrated Spanish chef Fermin Puig showcases his culinary brilliance. His inventive international food is wholly deserving of its Michelin star, with standout plates such as pheasant-stuffed cannelloni served with fresh black truffles. The prices are as high as you'd expect, but serve to keep the riff-raff out and the ra-ras in.
Decadence is still very much alive and kicking at Milk, which is designed to look like a millionaire's drawing room. Quite what that meant, we had no idea - that is until we went, and plush handmade sofas, gilded photo frames and antique chandeliers painted the picture. Think stately home meets Elton John, and you get the idea. However, it is the cocktail list that's the real Swarovski-encrusted treasure here, with dozens of blingtastic concoctions on offer to a crowd of trashy-flashy cocktail-swillers. Food is also available for those looking to soak up the booze, but we suggest you give it a miss if you want to fit in with the razor-thin regulars.
While bright young things don't mind stumbling from one riotous club to another - in six-inch Louboutin heels, no less - the older hedonists amongst us get to an age where we just want to stay put. Catering to such an age is Mondo, a cool bar/club combo that moves seamlessly from after-work drinks haunt to early-dinner dining room to late-night dance hotspot. We suggest rocking up at around eight and relaxing with a cocktail or three on the al fresco terrace. Afterwards, at around half-nine, move inside and enjoy a sumptuous seafood supper in the restaurant. Finally, finish the evening by busting some grooves in the club, where you'll enjoy a mixed bag of aural treats courtesy of the versatile music policy.
Roca Barcelona Gallery
Renowned bathroom company Roca has opened up its headquarters in Barcelona, but the suitably stylish space functions as a something of a social and cultural showcase, too. On a day-to-day basis it's work as usual as Roca employees mill about the place pretending to be busy, but the flagship building truly comes alive when it hosts exhibitions, conferences and events. Check Roca's website for current listings.
Hg2 is our abbreviation for "A Hedonist's Guide to..." - a luxury city guide series coveted by travellers who value both style and substance when it comes to soaking up a city. We're not about the most expensive shops, bars, restaurants and hotels - we're about the best. All our guides are compiled by writers living in each city, with content that is packed with insider knowledge and a voice that is irreverent, inspired, and, above all, intelligent.