Awash with architectural treasures, galleries and captivating backdrops, Barcelona is the epitome of European urbanity. Elegant Art Nouveau eateries, Basque-style tapas bars and Michelin-starred restaurants enchant narrow streets and shadowy lanes. Prestigious landmark Hotel Arts Barcelona provides a perfect base to soak up the exciting atmosphere of the city.
Taking prime position on the seafront the hotel overlooks the vibrant marina, beach and Frank Gerhy's famous golden fish sculpture "El Peix". Designed by distinguished architect Bruce Graham, Hotel Arts is a masterpiece in its own right. Part of the Ritz Carlton Group - the hotel had to change the name when The Ritz opened in Madrid, so the Arts was named in homage to the rich culture of the city. A chic city hotel with the feel of a super-luxe resort and just 30 minutes from the airport - it's a popular choice for weekend breaks amongst the European elite and travelistas.
The hub of the resort is the buzzing pool area complete with an innovative cocktail menu and lunch boxes for poolside feasting. There's also a great ice cream parlour, Rocambolesc, serving up gelato from the Michelin star Roca brothers.
With 483 bedrooms and suites, you'll be spoilt for choice. All rooms feature air-conditioning, satellite TV and internet access with the added bonus of a minibar and a Nespresso machine. Four exclusive luxury suites are located on the upper floors: Mediterranean, Arts, Royal and Presidential. Each boast a signature look, but unite when it comes to beautiful and breathtaking views of the Barcelona skyline and shore. Alternatively, the hotel offers an array of apartments as well as private penthouses.
All suite guests have access to a club lounge serving complimentary champagne, wine, spirits, juices and snacks throughout the day. If you don't fancy venturing down to the restaurant the club also offers breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and evening canapés.
We stayed in room 34C - a HUGE duplex apartment flooded with daylight and styled in contemporary muted tones. The vast living space boasts stunning panoramic views of the city, beach and marina. The apartment has a dining area for 8, full kitchen and two bedrooms; perfect for families.
All bathrooms offer Asprey products, and feature monsoon showers and tubs.
The Spa on 43
Sitting on the top two floors of the skyscraper, a contemporary spa with breathtaking views - black slate corridors lead to separate ladies and gents hydro and thermal areas with panoramic views of the coastline and marina. His and hers facilities include a vitality pool with multi-jets, light therapy steam rooms and saunas with sea views. Seven treatment rooms sit on the floor below alongside a relaxation room with day beds and outdoor loungers (not for those with vertigo!) where you can chomp on post treatment healthy snacks and infused waters and juices.
Natura Bisse Vitamin C Facial begins with a deep cleanse and exfoliation using a glycolic peel followed by a spritz of the DELICIOUS orange toner (the luxury skin brand was created in Catalonia and utilises local ingredients). A mask follows this and whilst it sinks into the skin, a relaxing arm and hand massage is performed. The treatment finishes with a pressure point head massage and application of SPF 50 vitamin C cream, so you're ready to head poolside to catch some rays.
The Natura Bisse masterclass for Global Wellness Day offers a chance to sample the Diamond and Vitamin C range whilst performing a DIY mini facial. Fun and informative, I discovered their amazing Diamond White Eye Cream which I definitely want to try again!
Other Treatments Include:
Citrus body scrub (30 min) - Using the highest concentration of pure vitamin C, the protective treatment exfoliates the skin's surface thanks to its effective botanical and natural exfoliating agents that eliminate impurities and leave the skin with a smooth and silky appearance.
Reflexology (30/40 min) - An ancient manual massage technique based on the stimulation of reflex areas, by applying pressure on specific foot areas in order to improve the functions of the corresponding organs.
Luxury Manicure and Pedicure (45min/1 hr) - An exclusive manicure or pedicure that begins with a deep exfoliation followed by nail and cuticle care. A hydrating massage and the application of the nail polish of your choice complete the treatment.
Modern gym - personal trainers, yoga and pilates teachers can be provided on request for private classes. Outdoor yoga during Global Wellness Week.
Marina - The cool poolside Marina restaurant offers coastal delights such as lobster tacos, and soft shell crab burgers. Be sure to try their heavenly signature dish - rhubarb and blueberry cheesecake.
Arola - Tapas restaurant Arola serves up top notch posh tapas - including the best patatas bravas I've ever tasted - it literally melts in the mouth. Also check out the crab salad with minced egg and their strawberry cheesecake with a magical twist! Mixologist Don Giovanni heads up the Arola cocktail bar and is so passionate about his ingredients that he's set up his own cocktail kitchen garden. His tasty and artistic creations include Honey Bee - complete with a honeycomb and pretty little bee, and the signature Mint Mojito - so laid back it's served in a glass sitting on a chair!
Enoteca Paco Pérez - The two Michelin-starred restaurant, overseen by renowned Catalan chef Paco Pérez. Inspired by the food and produce of the Mediterranean; innovative cooking brings out the essence of high quality local ingredients, with an emphasis on fish and seafood. Enoteca's cellar features more than 700 wines!
An outing to...
La Sagrada Familia - Work started on Gaudi's monumental cathedral in 1882 and is due to be completed in 2026, the centennial of the architect's death; Barcelona's most iconic building is a towering and awe-inspiring must see.
Picasso Museum - Displayed in a cluster of mediaeval stone mansions and courtyards, which are as delightful as the art collection within; the Picasso Museum houses more than 3,000 pieces of the artist's earlier works.
Park Guell - Gaudi's magic suburb, now a public park, is an UNESCO world heritage site and a whimsical, magical and enchanting space of fairytale gatehouses and a giant mosaic lizard guarding a magnificent staircase.
The Signature Package "Barcelona for Wellness Lovers" includes:
American breakfast in Cafe Veranda restaurant for two guests
Complimentary Spa Access
10% discount on all treatments of 43 The Spa
10% discount on Natura Bissé wellness and beauty products bought at 43 The Spa
Welcome Infusion at 43 The Spa
4.00 pm Late Checkout
Starting at 285 € per night for two Guests (10% VAT not included); available in Deluxe Room, Club or Executive Suite.
Monarch, the scheduled leisure airline, operates year round flights to Barcelona from Birmingham, London Gatwick, Leeds Bradford and Manchester airports with fares, including taxes, starting from £47 one way (£96 return).
For further information or to book Monarch flights, Monarch Holidays or Monarch Hotels, please visit www.monarch.co.uk
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