I love the British spring time. It’s beautiful. But…it’s still cold! I decided I needed to give my pasty complexion some much-needed Vitamin D and hot-footed it to Barcelona for the weekend.
There’s always something a little more romantic about a boutique hotel in the middle of a city centre. Shunning the busy lobbies and knowing I won’t be sharing my breakfast with a frantic family of four leaves me feeling a little more excited than usual. Set in a leafy side street away from the hasty shoppers of Barcelona, El Palauet Living is as discreet as you might expect for a luxury six-suite hotel. With an absence of over-sized signs and international flags, we are greeted merely by a huge wooden door and a clandestine intercom. Entering the darkened listed building, it becomes clear that this is going to be a slightly different guest experience. Crisp white lilies, scented candles, and dim lighting immerse us into an atmosphere of tranquillity and we become enveloped in the stunning surroundings of El Palauet Living.
Welcomed by our charming personal assistant, Sebastian, we are anxiously escorted past the sweeping staircase and to the ground floor lift. Staring at the floor, I wonder what Alton Towers ride I’m stepping into as nothing but vacant darkness is below my feet. Gripping the doorframe as tightly as my digits allow, an amused Sebastian assures me that the floor is cleverly mirrored and, although humiliated, I am quite safe.
Entering our lobby ‘quarters’ that we share with another suite, we push open our heavy front door with aplomb and are stunned by what we find. The vast 1,600sq ft apartment is a perfect example of how to successfully create a welcoming modern space. Furnished in a clean palette you feel as though you are walking into a friend’s impeccable home rather than a hotel suite. Enveloping white sofas, over-sized cushions and design-led tables are the combined efforts of Antonio Citterio, Charles and Ray Eames. Their minimalistic aesthetics are warming yet understated and are a chic contrast to the stunning carved ceilings painted in regal gold and pastel hues.
Sliding glass doors lead us onto a beautiful brass balcony featuring a white day bed overlooking the quiet boulevard below. Whilst daydreaming about al fresco breakfasts in the sunshine it was time to head up to the roof and see what the spa had to offer. With a light wooden decking, a bubbling Jacuzzi in the corner and pristine steam room, I had a sneaking suspicion the spa wasn’t used an awful lot meaning it was impeccably clean. With treatment rooms to the side, the spa offers a range of massages and beauty treatments on demand with breath-taking views of the city below.
Although tempted to hole up in our apartment forever, we decided to utilise our personal assistant and put his knowledge of Barcelona to the test. On Sebastian’s recommendation, we ate at the fantastically chic Cachitos a short walk away and tucked into some of the best tapas I have ever tasted and a full-bodied bottle of red. When we returned Sebastian had printed out maps and marked his restaurant suggestions on them, if we felt like dining out later that evening. For such a thoughtful gesture we felt obliged and were incredibly glad we did as another superb meal was polished off in the city centre. But secretly we can’t wait to get back to the apartment.