08007 Travel Guide
Hotel Bars / Hotel Gardens / Barcelona Hotels / Mandarin Oriental Hotels / Hotel Cocktails / → All Tags
They had us at mimosa garden.
Really, there’s not much else you need to know. Ok, maybe: Mandarin Oriental Barcelona is opening two outdoor venues just in time to catch that blazing summer heat. One is called Terrat, and is, unsurprisingly, a rooftop terrace. So far, so blah – what five star hotel doesn’t have a rooftop terrace?*
The other one, though, is called Mimosa Garden, which the hotel describes as “a lush courtyard oasis” on the Passeig de Gràcia, the main thoroughfare of the modern Eixample district. It opens every summer and was designed by Bet Figueras, the landscape architect who also did Barcelona’s Botanical Gardens. It’s shaded by olives, cypresses, holm oaks and oleanders, as well as lavender bushes and mimosa trees. See, they mean actual mimosas. But we’re pretty sure you could enjoy a mimosa under the mimosa trees. That would be nicely meta.
While we wait for its brand new hotel in Milan, Mandarin Oriental is giving us something new this spring in Barcelona: five rooms and 17 suites are being added to the converted bank on Passeig de Gràcia in April by expanding into a building next door.
That takes the total number of rooms up to 120, all done up by Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola, so we’re expecting a similarly understated look in the new accommodations as in the existing suite pictured above. Rooms and suites facing Passeig de Gràcia give you a view of Gaudi’s famous Casa Batlló across the street.
Update [2009-12-1 11:51:44 by juliana]:: A source tells us that the hotel in Puerto Rico that designer Patricia Urquiola is working on is the W Retreat & Spa – Vieques Island. It is owned by the same company that owns the MO Barcelona, REIG Capital. The sources surmises that Urquiola is probably working on another REIG hotel in Barca, not necessarily a Mandarin Oriental.
It happens to the best of us. You put off a task forever, and when you finally do it, and it goes smoothly, you wonder what the problem was. And if it goes particularly smoothly, you start wondering about whether you should do it again for good measure.
That’s the mood we figured Mandarin Oriental must be in when Design Week dropped the bomb that they’re planning a second hotel in Barcelona, when their first one only just opened (late, obviously) on Thursday.
In an article about Patricia Urquiola who designed the interiors of the hotel, it said:
Mandarin Oriental has also engaged Urquiola to work on the interiors of its new resort in Puerto Rico, which will open in March, and a second hotel in Barcelona.
Hotel Openings / Mandarin Oriental Hotels / Hotel Delays / Hotel Hype / Barcelona Hotels / → All Tags
Well here’s a nice surprise to start the week. Despite our fears, the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona is going to open on schedule this Thursday.
When we say schedule, of course, we mean delayed schedule. The hotel was originally down to open 29 October, but when the date came and went, it was pushed back to 26 November. Although we weren’t so sure it was a goer, given that the website wasn’t taking rezzies until 15 December.
But hallelujah! We just called the hotel and spoke to a delightful man who told us that it is indeed opening Thursday, although plebs like us would not be welcome – it’s a private inauguration and opening do. Guests can arrive on Friday, but he said there was very little availability till December.
Hotel Delays / Hotel Hype / Hotel Openings / Mandarin Oriental Hotels / Barcelona Hotels / → All Tags
Oh Barcelona, you’re pretty n all, but we could do without your mañana mañana attitude spoiling our hotel plans. First the W pushed back its opening date no less than three times, and now it’s the turn of the Mandarin Oriental.
Last time we checked, the hotel was due to open on October 29. But when we hadn't heard any fanfare today, and checked out the hotel’s website to find the calendar showing “no availability”, we smelt a rat.
So we just called Mandarin Oriental’s PR people, and they told us the hotel is scheduled to open on 26 November. So that’s delay number one. But we’re expecting a delay number two, seeing as the website’s not taking reservations until 15 December. Hmm.
Opening rates, if they are opening December 15, are showing up as €284 ($421/£254) at the moment, although there’s an intriguing note on the booking page saying that “most rooms accommodate 3 people.” Er, surely the kind of people paying that amount of money won’t want to share with two others? Unless, of course, we're being, um, naive.
Here’s hoping all will be revealed on 26 November. In the mean time, how nice does that rooftop pool look? Shame it'll be too cold to use when they finally let us in.
Looks like we might have to return to Barcelona again pretty soon. We're already eagerly anticipating the opening of the W Barcelona and now we've got word that Mandarin Oriental will open their Barcelona outpost later this year. From the press release:
Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona is ideally located on Paseo de Gracia, Barcelona’s most prestigious address, at the very center of the city’s commercial and entertainment district. The property provides easy access to the city’s finest shopping, dining and cultural venues and is a short walk from many major tourist attractions. From the hotel, guests will be able to stroll amongst the city’s celebrated promenades and architecture and enjoy the attractions of the famous Las Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter. Barcelona’s many museums, churches and parks are all close at hand and two of the most celebrated buildings by the city’s famous architect, Gaudi, are just a stone’s throw from the hotel.
The hotel will feature only 98 guest rooms, all designed by Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola. A 10,763 square foot Spa at Mandarin Oriental will be onsite and of course, several restaurant and bars are expected, one of which will be al fresco in the hotel's 7,104 square foot outdoor garden. Plus, a rooftop pool. We just hope it's bigger than the Omm Hotel's rooftop pool.
No word on the price point yet but expect it to be muy caro.
It's one of our permanent travel quandaries to cart around or not to cart around? The guidebook, that is as much as we hate weighing down our bags with 600-pagers, we're loathe to miss any little detail that might improve our limited understanding of a city.
Luckily for us, the Eurostars hotels in Barcelona (of which there are 11 to choose from) have devised a city tour especially for the likes of us. Eight of the hotels are going to have MP3 players, maps and headsets to dole out to guests, starting this month. The players come in five languages (German, French, Italian and Spanish, if you fancy a challenge), the batteries last a heroic 15 hours, and there are 100 points of interest covered, which should do for most weekend trips.
We're always heartened to hear of hotel WiFi that not only doesn't cost anything extra, but also actually works. As in, whenever you want, you can actually check your email--it's not a big ask these days.
So we started off quite pleased to read a NewsWireless mention of the Eurostars Cristal Palace Hotel in Barcelona. The reporter checked into the hotel, switched on his laptop and the WiFi "just worked right away". And it's free. All good so far.
But the next morning, despite changing nothing, the WiFi didn't work on that computer anymore--even though other people could log on. Not being able to discuss the problem well enough in Spanish, and with staff who couldn't deal with the drama in English, the tech troubleshooting came to a standstill and the reporter ended up "freezing his arse off" in an internet cafe.
With a double room putting you back a minimum of €127 ($160) at the Cristal Palace, landing in an internet cafe to read your mail is not really on. Still need some work on their technology over in Barcelona.