Shai and I do trips for our anniversaries instead of gifts, so when it comes to booking the hotel, I like to look for hotels a little more luxurious than we normally would pick to make it extra relaxing and special (like where we stayed last year in Lisbon). Being a Florida girl long transplanted away from the beach, any time we have a chance to stay near the beach I am all over it so I jumped at the Hotel Arts in Barcelona when I saw its location right on the water.
While I only booked the cheapest room possible with views of the water, thanks to the AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts program (& a fabulous hotel staff), we got an incredible room upgrade to a corner suite with complete views of the water from every window. The room was way beyond any expectations we had with its separate living room, soaking tub, rainfall shower and the kind of hotel bed and pillows that you can never seem to recreate at home. Each night for turn-down service we found a bottle of water at either side of the bed instead of a typical chocolate — a well appreciated difference!
This hotel wasn’t a prime pick just for its location but also for being host to two michelin-starred restaurants! One of them was closed but we scored reservations at Enoteca Paco Perez for our first night there and were blown away by the food and service. Even Shai, who isn’t really into fancy food, couldn’t stop saying how delicious everything was. Since we both have our own food allergies, they catered each amuse bouche to our own needs (you may also be able to tell…it was truffle season!). The restaurant can only be made better by going in the summertime when they have the outdoor area opened up. In fact, for as great as the hotel was, it would be far better in the summer as the outdoor portion to the hotel bar was closed along with the outdoor pool and pool-side bar and restaurant.
The hotel bar was really a whiskey bar but they had some unique cocktails that we enjoyed while waiting to head out one evening.
European hotels are far better at breakfast than US hotels and this was no exception. We had so many delicious hot options, the classic spanish ham and cheeses and so much fresh fruit…not to mention Moet & Chandon for mimosas and bellinis!! I doubt Europeans eat that much at breakfast but I would much rather eat a larger breakfast and a smaller lunch than the other way around!
Another fun fact about our stay is that Lady Gaga apparently stayed there the same time as us! We had tickets to her concert that weekend and when we came back to our hotel one night there were growing crowds on either side and security was only letting in guests that were staying at the hotel. We asked some people in line what was happening and they all said they were waiting on Lady Gaga to go to/from the hotel before her concert! The staff was super tight-lipped but we all know “I can’t say” totally means yes. We never saw her at the hotel but I certainly kept a lookout after that!
It was really such a great hotel and staff that if we ever make it back to Barcelona, I don’t think I could stay anywhere else!