You’ll need a streak of fabulousness to feel at home in the W – its poolside areas, particularly, can look like catalog photo shoots, and entrance to the Eclipse bar is only for the glam.
In the rooms, the all-glass fronts afford spectacular views of the ocean, town or – if you are lucky, or pay a bit a lot of – each.
Both its finest point and its downfall, the W’s location on the water’s edge, the sea lapping at its feet, means that beach-goers and sea-gazers will love it, but hose in the city for the culture or nightlife may be less affected.
It sits isolated on a spit at the end of the long Passeig Joan de Borbó, and is a good walk from the center, though the seafood restaurants of Barceloneta are not far away and there are frequent buses to the center.
Reminiscent of Dubai’s famed Burj al-Arab edifice, the W rises up at the end of the beach like a tall, shimmering sail.
It’s high-end however works laborious to be young and attractive, cultivating an Ibiza vibe in the pool/terrace area, and inviting London DJs and mixologists to its Eclipse baron
the 26th floor.
The roof, with its stunning infinity pool, day beds and private ‘cabins’ (€400/£354 to €1,000/£884), almost certainly enjoys the best views of any hotel terrace in Barcelona. Recent additions range from an indoor pool to a fully functioning recording studio, and the gym – the sea view from which makes exercising a pleasure – is continually being updated. Hotel spas can be dour, but if the idea of watching a Meryl Streep movie while drinking champagne, eating brownies and having your nails shellac-ed appeals, you won’t be disappointed.
There is no faulting the spectacular view – request either a city or sea view when booking your room – but the rooms otherwise are quite plain beyond the marbled maritime blues of the carpets. Decorated in shades designed to reflect the sea and sand, they are somber compared to the glitziness of the lobby, spa, and pool area, with the bed center stage – the better to contemplate the horizon.
Showers and toilets, too, mostly face the view, and all are equipped with aromatic lemon and sage Bliss toiletries. There are various types of room, the price difference mostly dependent on the view and the size (until you reach the upper echelons, culminating in the Extreme Wow Suite, an opulent Vegas-style apartment with DJ booth and fußball table).
Dining options are plentiful, and include the Salt beach restaurant as well as the fun and funky Wave, off the lobby area, with water feature and floating fireplace, and
where there are DJs and Friday and weekday nights.
A slightly glitzier scene takes place upstairs in the Eclipse cocktail bar. The best, however, is probably MasterChef Carles Abellan’s Bravo 24, for classic Catalan dishes and superb seafood.
Breakfast is served in Wave, Bravo24, and Salt, with a baffling amount of permutations, but the basic version is a generous, frequently restocked buffet of hot and cold dishes, with optional à la carte add-ons.
The real treat, though, is that the Sunday Retox buffet from 1pm-5pm, during which each surface and craving is catered for, whether or not you need oysters, dish or designer hamburgers.
Come hungry. Double rooms from €247 (£216) in low season; and from €750 (£658) in high. Breakfast not included, costs €33 (£29) for standard buffet, €40 (£35) for Sunday brunch. Free Wi-Fi.