The former headquarters of the Banco Hispano-Americano Bank, today houses the Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona, enjoying an enviable location in the heart of the city. A contemporary hotel hides behind an elegant if rather austere 1955 façade with classical bas stone reliefs surrounding the oversized entrance to the property. Behind the entrance, visitors ascend to the lobby via an elevated catwalk through an interior atrium topped by a glass roof allowing you to see the modernist structure within. This leads into a relaxed and contemporary lobby area with modular seating, delicate wall panels and a neutral colour palette which predominates throughout the hotel. There are 120 elegantly sleek guest rooms and suites, many with private balconies, designed by designer Patricia Urquiola including the spectacular Barcelona Suite with a huge private furnished terrace overlooking Barcelona and an über-indulgent Penthouse Suite occupying the entire top floor.
When hunger beckons, there are four outlets to assuage the appetite including the all-day dining Blanc Restaurant and Lounge; the two Michelin starred Moments Restaurant under the helm of chef Carme Ruscalleda; Banker’s Bar serving innovative cocktails and Terrat for al fresco dining overlooking the rooftop outdoor pool. For relaxation, there is the peaceful oasis of the 660 square metre Mimosa Garden, designed by landscape architect Bet Figueras in collaboration with Patricia Urquiola, serving daytime refreshments, and the serene Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona with a minimalist aesthetic and eight spacious Asian styled treatment rooms including two for couples offering a wide range of treatments and holistic therapies. Other wellness facilities include a sleek 12 metre indoor lap pool; a fully equipped fitness centre; a rooftop sanctuary with outdoor pool; a HairSpa by Miriam Quevedo (who doubles as a life coach and nutrition specialist) and a Beauty Room by Vanitas Espai.
Situated in the heart of Barcelona on the fashionable boulevard of Passeig de Gràcia, close to the business district, the Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona lies within walking distance of the famous Las Ramblas and the city’s Gothic Quarter as well as being close to the city’s shopping, dining and cultural areas. Gaudi’s Casa Batlló and his famous apartment building of La Pedrera-Casa Milà are around a five-minute stroll away with the Plaça Catalunya, with its department stores and shopping centres, just a little further on.
For those flying into Barcelona, the property is around a 17 kilometre or 45-minutes drive from Barcelona Airport (BCN). For drivers, parking is available nearby.
The 92 rooms and 28 roomy suites at the Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona are elegantly sleek with a contemporary feel, enjoying a similar neutral colour pattern (enlivened by a pale denim blue) as the rest of the property. Designed by designer Patricia Urquiola, the rooms are amongst the largest in the city, some enjoy private furnished balconies whilst all look out over the grand boulevard of Passeig de Gracia or the property’s flourishing Mimosa Garden. The tech is all there but discreetly placed with both audio and interactive entertainment available and bathrooms hidden behind opaque sliding doors. There is oak flooring, custom rugs, luxurious linens and floor to ceiling windows to allow that airy feel with the entry level Deluxe Garden Rooms starting at around 32 square metres rising up incrementally through the room types to 36 square metres for the Mandarin Room which features a seating area and a furnished terrace.
Suites, with butler service, are quite a bit larger starting with the 53 square metre Mandarin Junior Suite with sofa seating and Bang & Olufsen television & audio system. These expand in both size and content through to 112 square metres for the Premier Terrace Suite with a large outdoor terrace, a private study and dining area; the 185 square metre three bedroom and multiple balconied Grand Suite, up to the private sanctuary of the Barcelona Suite on the fifth floor with an enormous furnished terrace, dining room, living room and lavishly sized master suite.
The 236 square metre two bedroom Penthouse Suite is the most indulgent, occupying the entire top floor of the property, dressed in soothing pastel shades with a private kitchen perfect for dining either on the terrace or inside, seating up to eight people. Expect Tai Ping silks, nodding to the Asian heritage of the hotel’s brand, hand woven wool rugs, Bassano ceramics and statement furniture designed exclusively for the property.
For relaxation, pampering and pure enjoyment, the Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona features the inner courtyard Mimosa Garden, filled with lush and carefully chosen planting to offer a perfect oasis away from the city streets outside, designed by landscape architect Bet Figueras in collaboration with Patricia Urquiola. There is also a tempting top floor swimming pool with loungers and tables overlooking the urban sprawl of the city, serviced by Terrat for light bites, cocktails and more with planting offering a measure of privacy.
The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona is minimalist with an Asian serene feel with dark wood detailing, black ceilings and white floors. Eight spacious treatment rooms, with two couples’ suites, offer a wide range of treatments, wraps and therapies whilst the heated indoor 12 metre indoor lap pool is perfect for letting the stresses of the day fade away. A malachite-green screen divides the Hammam from the pool area and a fully equipped Fitness Centre will keep those muscles in lean shape. There is also a HairSpa by Miriam Quevedo (who doubles as a life coach and nutrition specialist) and a Beauty Room by Vanitas Espai. Fan exclusives include Vinyasa Flow Yoga on the rooftops, Hiit Pilates sessions or boxing and bodyweight exercises.
For those looking for adventure, the Mandarin Oriental team offer a wide range of experiences including Montrebei Canyon Kayaking, flying in a hot air balloon by the Montserrat mountain range or dog sledding in the Catalan Pyrenees. For those more interested in food and drink, enjoy a cocktail tasting in the Banker’s Bar, a Santa Caterina Market Visit and Cookery Class or an Old District and Tapas Tour – among other ideas.
The inimitable style of Mandarin Oriental shines through the thoughtful and forward-looking design of Patricia Urquiola – a collaboration made in Catalan heaven. The transformation of a rather staid 1950s bank has been no mean feat and today it offers a contemporary space of lightness and airiness, with a whole clutch of facilities – rooftop and garden retreats, a serene spa and several enjoyable dining haunts – to spoil its guests. Touches of the Asian heritage of the global Mandarin Oriental brand peek through alongside the personalised and unobtrusive service always offered by its well-trained and welcoming workforce.
A restrained colour palette which nods to the seaside location of Barcelona only adds to its appeal for surely there can be no better use for this building than changing it from a bank to a stylish urban retreat.
There are five venues offering an assortment of food and drink at the Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona including the all-day dining Blanc Restaurant and Lounge on the lower floor with, as the name might suggest, a predominantly white and airy décor, enhanced by banquets and cushions of pale denim blue. Blanc offers a Catalan menu with locally sourced produce with a selection of neighbourhood favourites. The gastronomic hotspot is Moments, holder of two Michelin stars and offering a healthy and fresh, Catalan inspired menu, overseen by chef Carme Ruscalleda and her son, Raül Balam. With a distinctive black and white décor, over which a gold and white ceiling hovers, diners can watch the brigade at work through a theatrically displayed window. Overlooking a bank of lush planting with floor to ceiling windows, in the warmer months, the restaurant spills out onto a terrace.
For whiling away the hours over a good Scotch, a Coupe de Champagne or a cocktail or two, alongside a light bites menu, head to the Banker’s Bar with both indoor and outdoor seating and a fabulous ceiling fashioned from safety deposit boxes, a nod to the building’s former purpose. Terrat on the rooftop overlooking the outdoor pool and offering a wonderful 360-degree view of the city, is perfect for al fresco relaxing with a menu of Peruvian and Mediterranean favourites alongside an extensive cocktail list. For the exclusive use of hotel guests from 10 am to 5 pm, a drinks only menu is available in the evenings. Snacks and refreshments can also be enjoyed in the Mimosa Garden, shaded by leafy trees and aromatic planting.
The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has a guiding principle of “Acting with Responsibility” through their Naturally Better Plan. As well as embracing global sustainability initiatives such as eliminating single-use plastics, the group has established a programme for responsible procurement including coffee, tea, cocoa, vanilla, paper and seafood. In 2021, the group renewed and expanded its sustainability policies, looking at governance, commitments and goals to include the UN Sustainability Development aims and employee empowerment to make things happen. 2030 Environmental targets are now in place with each hotel and location endeavouring to contribute meaningful improvements, year on year.
In essence, the group seeks to reduce energy and carbon emissions, to reduce water wastage, and to reduce waste intensity. In addition, each hotel will seek to initiate some kind of environmental project – whether that is on-site renewable energy initiatives or promoting the use of electric cars. The group has also been instituting responsible procurement, to achieve 100% responsibly sourced coffee, tea, cocoa and vanilla. They are also looking to offer 100% cage free eggs, avoid endangered seafood species and to use sustainably certified paper in their back room offices and guest rooms.
If you are a “Fan of M.O.”, you can select your sustainability preferences in your member profile. If you want to reuse your towels and refresh your bed linen less frequently during your stay - you can. You can also opt into using your own toiletries to reduce both waste and plastic usage.
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