08039 Travel Guide
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No, the W Barcelona hasn't turned into one of those European shopping malls with cars being raffled off by pretty women in tight dresses. The answer is pretty simple, actually: Starwood is gearing up to announce a new partnership to sponsor the Mercedes-Petronas Formula One team, and just in time for the press conference tomorrow, an actual formula one race car has been put on display in the lobby, for guests to admire.
We're used to just seeing cool art, a cocktail bar, and maybe some of that weird signature W grass in lobbies. But a race car? That'll do nicely!
We just can’t resist starting out with this playful jab: The Marketing Wizards at the W Hotels have been busy. Check out the W Barcelona website, where the registered trademarks fly fast and furious: There’s Bliss®, Whatever/Whenever®, WET® pool, SWEAT® Fitness Center, and PAW – Pets Are Welcome™ What’s next? Experience the REAL® Barcelona?
Actually, yes. That’s because even though it’s minimally advertised on hotel literature, the W sits just slightly out of the way from the noisy tourist trails (in a kind of a redevelopment area), and near one of our favorite, still pleasantly local neighborhoods: The old fishing quarter of Barceloneta.
Yesterday our tipster enlightened us on the catwalk at the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona. Today, he returns with a brief review of the brand-new W Barcelona which is celebrating its official opening today. (It actually opened back in October.) Here's what our tipster thought as he passed through.
The W is located on the waterfront, basically a straight shot down from Las Ramblas. However, to physically get there is not that easy - you have to follow the road that passes Barceloneta and keep going until you circle around the inner harbor and get to the hotel.
Once you pass Barceloneta, and in the immediate area around the hotel, there is absolutely nothing at all - meaning you have to cab it, walking is not an option. Surely the hotel is intended to bring additional development to the area, and there is construction ongoing in front of the hotel, but as of now it is the only thing there. The beach has been redeveloped though.
Does this count as an anti-view?
A friend of ours stayed there a couple of weeks back, and returned with the revelation that the beach it sits on appears to be a nudist beach. Que?
We didn’t quite believe her until this morning, when she sent over this picture, taken right outside the hotel. And while we’re doing our best to concentrate on the seagull (nice composition, btw) we’re acutely aware that she might not have been exaggerating.
I didn't see an official nudist beach sign or anything - but there was a lot of naked people and they weren't getting arrested
She also snapped a more conventional view from her bedroom window here. Good job you can’t zoom in!
The hotel is “nothing if not striking”, they say, and the pool is “bracingly cool” (we're assuming that's in a literal sense - it's nearly November, after all). The views from the 26th-floor Eclipse bar, meanwhile, are “bewitching”.
Oh dears. We really hate to say this, but could it be that with all the hype around W Barcelona and its foxy building, they forgot to work on the foxy W vibe?
Barcelona resident Pulso BCN alerted us to the fact that there could be a problem with his comment here. He stopped by on Thursday, which should have been banging, seeing as it was the first night, but although it had a nice-looking pool, he wasn’t feeling it. “Maybe the W hipness is in crates stuck in Spanish customs,” he reckons. On his Twitter feed he went further: ”No glam opening, no edgy people, just a bunch of staffers running around trying to find a spot.”. Oopsie…
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Temperature: 77 degrees. Weather: partly cloudy. Time: to check in to the W Barcelona.
Western Europe’s first W, and the snazzily-numbered 33rd in the world, has opened its doors today. The Bliss therapists are unwinding tense muscles right now, the Eclipse staff are girding cocktail glasses with sugar, and the head honchos must be breathing a big sigh of relief that its third predicted opening date has finally come through. And right now, that pool must be looking a little less peaceful.
The pillows have been fluffed, the loungers have been wiped down, and the water features are in place - W Barcelona finally opens its doors tomorrow.
There are still rooms available for EUR 280 ($411/£255) if you fancy an off the cuff trip. To persuade you, the temperature is currently a balmy 22 degrees centigrade, although it’s a bit cloudy – let’s hope the sky clears by tomorrow morning!
Don’t worry if you can’t make it though - the opening party will be in “early 2010” according to the hotel. Let’s hope that doesn’t mean they’re worried about opening month glitches. In the mean time, here’s another picture from its Facebook photo album. We fully expect the hotel to be this buzzy when we finally make it down there…
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Up top is the the sundeck at the Altitude Terrace. Then there’s the WET Deck (loving the water all over the place)
We’ve waited and waited and now we’ve only got seven days of waiting left: W Barcelona opens a week today. According to the hotel, everything is on track for the opening, and it’s even sent us some pictures to prove it. Now, these look CGI to us, so we’re hoping the real thing is just as good. If it is, they’re going straight in our drool bag. In the mean time here’s what we’re most looking forward to.
The Wet Deck (above). Note how it seems to have plastic/glass walls to stop you plunging into the Med. Scary, but popular, we’re thinking. We’re also thinking about that pool – it’s 26 degrees out there (79, to those who work in farenheit), don’t you know.
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Wow. Seems like "mañana mañana" may not be the way the Spaniards do things anymore. Or not in Barcelona, because the W is still set to open October 1*, and, as we just found out, you can even make reservations for one of the 473 rooms.
The promised “endless sea and city views” sound good, right? Well, if you want to experience them, you’ll have to start saving your pennies. The cheapest room (a Wonderful one) is currently going for EUR 240, or $344, excluding tax. Want a suite? That’ll be EUR 580, or $831. Let’s hope it’s worth it.
*Let’s just forget this is their third opening date, and give them the benefit of the doubt, ok? Good.
Not that we want to start counting chickens or anything, but it looks like W Barcelona is still on track to open October 1. Not only are reservations are open – rooms cost from EUR212 ($299) for the opening night – but they’ve just started recruiting.
Being W, this is no dry process. At their beachfront “Talent Casting Centre”, to the sweet sounds of an inhouse DJ, prospective “Talent members” will be escorted into “whisper booths” and asked such pressing questions as “Why are you the city’s ultimate cool hunter?”
We’re thinking that finding 400 cool people in Barcelona won’t be a problem, though, so fingers crossed the opening date will hold. We’re starting the countdown now…