Newish Kid in Town: A Review of The Barcelona Edition
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To The Point
Just opened in September 2018, this addition to Barcelona’s scene has quickly become the city’s hottest hotel. Pros: fantastic location, friendly staff, cool décor. Cons: high nightly rates.
Despite a controversial 2015 ban on new hotels and strict policies aimed at curbing rampant tourism, Barcelona has nonetheless seen splashy hotel openings in recent years. Those have included the Cotton House, which opened in 2015, and a Soho House that opened in 2016. The most exciting new hotel to debut in the city in recent months, however, has to be the Edition Barcelona, which officially opened its doors at the beginning of September 2018.
The Edition Barcelona had 100 rooms and suites total, so it was not a large property, but it was typical for a boutique luxury property in the city.
When I went, there was an opening special rate that included breakfast for between 50 and 60 euro less the normal Marriott Bed & Breakfast rates. I was interested in a standard king room rather than one with a specific view, so for the night of my stay, the opening special was 391 euro, expensive but not exorbitant for a luxury hotel in Barcelona. This would also allow me to cancel my stay up until a few days before, if I needed to. By contrast, the nonrefundable prepaid rate without breakfast was 375 euro. So for 16 euro extra, I was getting added flexibility and breakfast.
I could have booked my room as an award for 60,000 Marriott Rewards points, giving me a value 0.7p per point. But that was well below TPG’s valuations of Marriott points, and I had some other plans for my points, so I decided to go for the paid rate instead.
Part of the Edition’s allure was its location in the neighborhood of El Born. It was right in the heart of the old city and close to both the waterfront and the sights of the Gothic quarter, such as the cathedral and the Picasso Museum. The Santa Caterina food market was next door, and one of Barcelona’s best shopping districts, L’Eixample, was about a 15-minute walk.
The hotel’s website even had suggestions for what to do in the area, including going to bars like Tuxedo Social Club and Bar Brutal, La Colmena for pastries and Carme Balada Cerámica for pottery.
My taxi from the airport cost 40 euros (a little over $45) and took about 40 minutes at 11am. The Metro would’ve cost 4.50 euros ($5.50) and taken 45 minutes to an hour to reach the hotel. (You had to change lines at Urquinaona, about a 10-minute walk from the hotel.) The trusty Aerobus was 5.90 euros ($7) and went from the airport to Plaça Catalunya, a walk of 10 to 15 minutes from the hotel.
The rundown former office building that was the hotel’s former life was redesigned by Carlos Ferrater Studio with angled windows jutting from the dark-hued façade for a truly striking look.
Check-in and Lobby
I arrived around noon and was greeted by two friendly agents behind the reception desk who asked about my trip, how I was feeling and whether I needed any information on the city.
The one checking me in took my passport and credit card then informed me that, thanks to my Gold status, I’d been upgraded to a superior room. The rate difference for my night would have been 46 euros, or a little over $50. That was surprising, given the only differences I could tell were that there was 1 to 3 more square meters of space in a superior room than the standard room I’d booked, and a city view.
I thought the lobby itself, meanwhile, was understated but beautiful. The first thing that caught my eye was the huge blue chandelier over the entrance, designed by Eric Schmitt.
The rest of the furniture pieces were based on designs by famous Catalans like architect Antoni Gaudí and artists Salvador Dalí, though the chairs were designed by Christian Liaigre.
Beyond this was the main restaurant, Bar Veraz, which I’ll get back to later. Toward the back of the lobby, the elevator bank was illuminated by a light fixture inspired by Yves Klein and his iconic blue. On the other side of a dividing wall, a striking, white spiral staircase led to the first floor, where the gym and the Punch Room bar were.
One of the bellmen escorted me to my room on the third floor and showed me around. It was right off the elevators, though I was not bothered by other guests coming and going during my stay.
There was a short entry hallway with the bathroom to the left and the closet to the right.
The room looked a lot like other Edition hotels I’ve visited, including the one in London, which is to say sophisticated and simple. There was walnut paneling on the otherwise white walls and bleached oak parquet flooring.
The king bed was extremely comfortable (I got a great night’s sleep) and dressed with white Anichini linens that were soft and luxurious. I especially liked the embossed leather headboard, which gave the room a distinctly Spanish feel.
One nightstand held a Bluetooth speaker and electrical outlets, including one with an adapter plugged into it for easy use with international devices.
The other had the phone and more electrical and USB ports.
Next to the bed and overlooking the street, the window seat was formed out of the angled window. I especially like that design.
It was a really nice way to incorporate the new façade into the room, and a comfortable place to sit and get some work done.
I’m not sure about the “city view” of the room, though, given I was just looking out over recycling bins and a place where people parked their motorbikes.
Across from the bed was a simple, light-colored wood table that served as a desk and had a compartment with (European) electrical and USB plugs in it.
The bedroom was separated from the bathroom by a peekaboo window with wooden shutters between it and the walk-in shower. The one design note I’d make here is that you could open and close the shutters from the bedroom rather than the shower, so you’d better trust the person you’re staying with if you want privacy.
The bathroom was tiled in marble. I thought it beautiful but a bit dark, with dim overhead lighting and sconce-style bulbs by the single sink. The matte brass fixtures on the sink and in the shower were a nice touch, though the gilt-framed mirror was quite a statement.
The hotel stocked custom Le Labo bath products and provided a loofah in the shower and a little box of amenities like shaving, dental and sewing kits.
The closet was small but had enough space for one or two people. One side held the minibar, which was stocked with mostly local products like Vichy Catalan water and locally made chips, cocktail nuts, cookies and even a bottle of olive oil.
There was a Krupp coffeemaker. I used a water glass to make a larger cup of coffee, since there were no bigger mugs.
The Wi-Fi was free and worked well.
Overall, I thought the room was beautiful and spacious, especially by European standards, but I’m not sure it justified a rate of over $500 per night.
Food and Beverage
Like other Editions, this one was meant to be as much a space for public enjoyment as a hotel. To wit, this location had three restaurants, two bars and a roof terrace with a plunge pool.
The hotel’s food outlets were overseen by Sebastián Mazzola, who used to be the creative director of the Adrià Group’s restaurants. The main restaurant was Bar Veraz down in the lobby. It had a beautiful bar lined with stools but also restaurant-style seating and semicircular booths for folks who wanted those options.
As I mentioned, breakfast was included with my rate. I ordered a delicious and filling shakshuka, a cappuccino and a glass of juice of cold-pressed apple, kale, ginger and celery that would have cost 28.50 euros ($35) in total à la carte. The menu also had other specialties like banana-chocolate-chip waffles, and a variety of healthy yogurt and fruit bowls.
During the day, the restaurant served snacks like cured Iberian meats, pa amb tomàquet, saffron arancini and burgers. During lunch and dinner hours, you could get fancier things like grilled endive with foie gras, and lamb leg with tonnato sauce and Sicilian capers.
Downstairs was the hotel’s Cabaret Supper Club, which seemed to be a unique concept for the city, with upscale Mediterranean dishes and live performances. It opened at 9pm, while I was out to dinner with friends, so I did not get to check it out during my stay.
On the first floor, the Punch Room was a swanky cocktail bar like the one at the London Edition. The most eye-catching feature was a yellow-felt billiard table that was the center of the action when I poked my head in around midnight.
You could order individual cocktails, but the shared punches included the Spanish milk punch with Hennessy cognac, Havana rum, Pedro Ximenez sherry, pineapple, saffron, lemon sherbet, oolong tea, lemon juice and whole milk and spices. The Edition’s own signature punch was a mix of Plymouth gin, Benedictine, lemon juice, oak-moss syrup, silver-tip jasmine tea and orange-flower water.
Finally, the hotel had a gorgeous rooftop bar on the 10th floor. One side of the roof included a small bar, couches and tables looking out on the city skyline toward the mountains. The menu here was Latin-Asian fusion with dishes like hamachi tostas with aji amarillo and sweet potatoes, abrui squid causas with avocado, cilantro and yuzu, and vegetable gyoza. Though I was headed out for the afternoon, the bartender suggested I come back in the evening for a cocktail.
On the other side was an area with white-upholstered day beds for relaxing in the sun. The views from here looked out over the old city toward the Mediterranean.
Behind the bar was a small pool for folks who wanted to cool off, though it was more for plunging than active swimming.
Aside from breakfast, I chose not to stick around the hotel to eat.
As for other amenities, the hotel had a small gym on the first floor around the corner from the Punch Room.
It had several cardio machines and an area for weights.
I found the service at the Edition to be delightful all around. The several staff members I met were young, energetic and mostly Spanish. They all seemed genuinely excited to be working there and eager to help guests, myself included, with everything from luggage to suggestions where to eat and shop. I can’t say enough about how outgoing and helpful they all were, which set the perfect tone for my first day in the city.
The Barcelona Edition is a swanky, sexy addition to Barcelona’s mostly traditional hotel scene. Its location in the heart of the old city is a real asset, as are its charming staff members. The public areas of the hotel felt welcoming and cool, especially that showstopping rooftop bar. My room was spacious and chic, and I got a great night’s sleep in that plush bed. While the room rates felt a bit high, both in general and for Barcelona in particular, I would stay here again if they drop, or if I have the 60,000 points per night to spare in the future.
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