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48 hours in Barcelona with A+ Solutions gave Katrina and I some surprising new discoveries.

Starting with the hotels, it was great to see so many new 4 star superior hotels coming up in the innovation 22@ district, Barcelona’s fasted emerging district with a large international community. Just 10 minutes drive to the CCIB the brand new 4 star superior Hotel SB Glow delivers an Urban Mediterranean design and a very cool roof terrace and bar. Recently opened in August 2017, there are 5 meetings rooms with a maximum capacity of 300 and 235 bedrooms.

The Gate Hotel is the new name for the Silken Diagonal and again a close 10 minutes from the CCIB. Now part of Highgate Hotels, this will be their 1st European property and the 240 rooms and meeting spaces are all under refurbishment…so no more dark corridors and fluorescent blue lighting!

If truth be known, we weren’t expecting to but we kind of fell in love with the H10 Cubik. Uber cool contemporary design in the open entrance spaces, skandi cool meeting rooms for up to 130 delegates and even the bedrooms oozed a certain cool, light vibe. The rates are beyond excellent for the city and you can even enjoy a beautiful terrace and restaurant.

It’s not hard to find a 5 star property in the city…but do you think you know it all? The W has seen a significant change to their minimalistic rooms since their refurbishment in April 2017. The once stark white rooms adorn more colours fabrics and warm touches (far more deserving now of their “Wonderful” and “Fabulous” room names we think) and the many event spaces remain in excellent condition with their spectacular sea views and terraces. Outside the hotel, a new private marina is planned Q1 2018 and will offer even more exclusive views from rooms around the entire hotel.

Probably one of the most surprising hotels we saw was the Hotel Sofia, once the Princess Sofia Hotel. Closed since October 2016 and re-opened August 2017, the Hotel Sofia could now pass for an Armani venue with its elegant design, clean lines and sophisticated touches. It’s a very classy venue which can cater for 950 theatre style and boasts 465 designer rooms. Be So and Impar offer some new dining experiences and Zuu opens in November providing an onsite ‘burlesque’ style nightclub.

Ibiza has finally come to Barcelona with the Ibizan OD Hotels brand. Opened in August 2017, OD Hotel offers a 5 star experience in the town centre with its 98 rooms and what we would describe as a cool modern and wooden Scandinavian feel. It’s a very cool urban hotel.

Hotel The One is an uber sophisticated and chic boutique venue, part of the H10 hotel group and 1st in their 5 star category, opened January 2017. Their 89 bedrooms have a quirky dressing room/bathroom divider and Natura Bisse amenities. The central glass atrium offers a very cool overall hotel concept and it can cater for meetings up to 80 delegates over 2 meeting rooms. There’s a very subtle Middle Eastern touch with its light touches of gold but overall you know you are staying somewhere special and the gorgeous pool and solarium on the rooftop further emphasises this.

Hotel 1898 is something very unique in the town centre with its colonial heritage and once the Tobacco Trade Company. It’s a protected building boasting 169 rooms and meeting space for up to 130 delegates. If you are looking for something less contemporary in style then this hotel has a big personality and a very sophisticated traditional edge but what cannot be missed is one of the most sophisticated pool and roof terraces we experienced in the city – a must visit!

Hotel Corner is a charming boutique NN Hotel and sister to the 5 star 1898 Hotel. This 4 star hotel is one of several in the Barcelona NN hotels group and has 78 very comfortable rooms and some very charming meeting space for 30 delegates. It’s a less sophisticated hotel than other new properties and it has no restaurant but it oozes charm and will offer very favourable rates.

Let’s stop with the hotels as I am using the work “cool” rather too often…but that’s really our over-riding impression of the city, one that keeps reinventing itself, keeps its standards high and keeps with the market trends. Onto our favourite thing…food!

Mana 75 was our first stop. Given its position near the W Hotel, the lack of sea view may have been disappointing but the venue offered immaculate service in a light and contemporary environment just a stone’s throw from the W Hotel. Mana 75, taking its name from the biblical rice storms and the temperature it cooks its specialities, offers some of the best paella choices in the city with over 12 different paellas on the menu. Our favourite was the fois and mushroom paella! The venue has an open kitchen and offers paella cookery lessons for guests.

Ultramarinos is an uber cool and very fun venue located centrally on the Ramblas. Great private space on the mezzanine floor and an open kitchen and cocktail bar. In constant the Alba Granados is the epitome of style and sophistication, again centrally located in Enric Granados. Their restaurant dining space upstairs can be privatised for a gastronomic tapas affair.

OneOcean Club, a very classy private member’s club and recently awarded “best bar in the world” and the Museu d’Historica de Catalyna offer 2 great options by one of the largest superyacht marinas in the region. Great spaces, terraces and views of the Born district and old port area. Although we can’t get you the private members bedrooms, the new Soho House in the same area also offers some great private space for dinners and receptions, plus after-hours partying downstairs with a private room and bar and a 36-seat cinema.

We loved the Bellavista which opened in 2016, owned by Lionel Messi. It’s a young, fun and lively venue and the whole tapas experience is further enhanced with different themed tapas stations around the venue including a themed barber shop and a disco!

Fabrica Moritz Barcelona is a must visit bar and tapas in the centre of town. A brewery since 1865, they still make their own product which is now only sold, served and produced in-house. Upstairs guests can dine in the contemporary and relaxed tapas restaurant, with some private space, but downstairs they have opened a private venue which was once the old brewery factory and now boasts a hydraulic circular stage in the centre of the room. The venue is available for dinners, parties, receptions and beer tasting events. And if this isn’t sophisticated enough, the owner’s private residence on the 2ndfloor reopened in March 2017 and is now home to relocated alkimia restaurant. Their private dining spaces, up to 40pax, are something quite special and the restaurant is renowned for its futuristic and handcrafted food.

So if you think you know Barcelona…maybe it’s worth another visit?



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