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Barcelonaspain's sleepless city

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Best of Barcelona

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Where to Stay

HOTEL CASA FUSTER: This modernist mansion, the work of the great Catalan architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, sits atop the city’s most elegant esplanade, the Passeig de Gràcia. After renovations, it reopened as a 105-room luxury hotel replete with vaulted ceilings, art nouveau columns and a sultry jazz lounge that served as a backdrop in the movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Woody Allen’s 2008 homage to the city.

OHLA HOTEL: Near Plaça de Catalunya, this new boutique hotel has glass eyeballs jutting from its neoclassical façade, a gastrobar and Michelin-starred restaurant, a rooftop terrace and 74 minimalist rooms, some of which sport cheeky peek-a-boo showers.

W HOTEL (pictured): Designed by Catalan architect Ricardo Bofill, this singular hotel (and the city’s newest architectural landmark) appears like a shimmering sail at the tail end of the Barceloneta boardwalk. Unwind with a “blissage” massage at the in-house Bliss Spa or curl up in a cabana beside the pool. The 473 stylish rooms and suites boast picture windows framing stupendous sea and city views.
Where to Stay
The W Hotel's 26th-floor Eclipse bar.
Where to Stay

MANDARIN ORIENTAL: Extravagance is still in style in L'Eixample, the former neighborhood of Barcelona’s bourgeoisie that is now home to designer emporiums and upscale hotels, including this luxurious lodging with 98 airy rooms. Check out the elegant Banker’s Bar, where champagne cocktails are poured beneath a shiny ceiling lined with golden safety deposit boxes.

Pictured: The rooftop pool.

Where to Stay
Views from the rooftop of the Mandarin Oriental.
Where to Eat

TICKETS/41º EXPERIENCE: Adrià brothers Ferran and Albert focus their boundless culinary creativity on tapas at these adjacent restaurants. Tapas bar Tickets is a favorite of celebrity chefs and food-world glitterati (José Andrés and Anthony Bourdain are fans). Next door, find 41º Experience, an intimate genre-busting spot with a 41-course snacks-only tasting menu. 

PEZ VELA: After a day at the beach, retreat to this stylish new beachside restaurant tucked beneath the W Hotel for a romantic sunset meal on the terrace. Locals first flocked here for the terrific views, but they have been returning for the studded rice with cuttlefish and prawns.

ESPAISUCRE: Located in the newly hip El Born neighborhood, this innovative restaurant serves every child’s dream: desserts for every evening course. Tasting menus balance confections both sweet and savory for a truly unique dining experience.

TAPAç24: Carles Abellán is a Michelin-starred chef, elBulli alum and local superstar who also happens to have perfected tapas—from patatas bravas and Iberian ham croquettes to bite-sized foie gras burgers—at this bustling subterranean restaurant.

Where to Shop

AMATOSOLE: Some of Barcelona’s most interesting shops have sprouted in Raval, the edgy multicultural neighborhood west of Las Ramblas. One of the best is AmatoSole, a workshop and showroom where flea market finds are recycled and redesigned into covetable handcrafted housewares.

MUTT (pictured): The city’s creative class converges at this hybrid bookshop and art gallery to browse through hard-to-find design tomes, flip through magazines from independent imprints and admire the latest exhibition of contemporary art from up-and-coming local artists.

Where to Shop
VINÇON: Amid L'Eixample’s international designer shops, the city’s chicest home emporium is housed in a beautiful fin-de-siècle building. Sprawling across two floors, the store also boasts a design-minded art gallery, La Sala Vinçon.
What to See

MIBA MUSEUM: Step into a world of boundless possibilities at Pep Torres’ new museum of ideas and inventions, where a fresh perspective, inspiration and a sense of humor are all on display.

FUNDACIÓ JOAN MIRÓ: The world’s largest collection of paintings and sculptures by famed Barcelona native Joan Miró can be found in this museum atop Montjüic, a rambling wooded hill that rises just south of the city center.

MUSEU EUROPEU D’ART MODERN (pictured): Steps from the popular Museu Picasso, step inside this newly opened museum filled with Catalan sculptures and contemporary figurative paintings and lose the crowds.

More to Explore
PARK GÜELL: The undisputed king of modernism—and Barcelona, for that matter—is Antoni Gaudí. See, for example, Gaudí's visionary style in Park Güell on a hill in the northern district of Gràcia. Beside the park's wrought-iron entrace, a pair of whimsical houses appear to be plucked from a fairy tale, their rounded, toffee-colored walls and frosted, meringue-hued roofs suggestive of two life-sized gingerbread houses.
More to Explore
LA BOQUERIA: The chaotic Boqueria market teems with colorful fresh produce and hulking legs of jamón.
More to Explore
BUBÓ: Stop at bubó for one-of-a-kind sweet confections.

A guide to the creative spots in red-hot Barcelona that will quicken the pulse and waken the senses. Surprises are a given, so arrive with an open mind—and mouth.

Text by Ingrid K. Williams
Photos by Siqui Sánchez

This slideshow was adapted from the original article, published in the September 2012 issue of Sky.

Spill It: Tell Us What You Think!

Bill Black
You should do about 2 minutes of research before recommending place like 41 Exp & Tickets to know they don't have seating for Joe & Jane Tourists for AT LEAST 2 MONTHS. Promoting a place that is not available is a dis-service to your readers...who are often your frequent fliers. Wake up!
9/11/2012 12:08:23 PM

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