Luxury Breaks in Barcelona
Our guide to high end hotels, luxury activities and VIP nightlife…
By Duncan Rhodes
How to spoil yourself in Barcelona. We look at the best luxury hotels and apartment rentals and some unforgettable activities like taking a Ferrari for a spin around the city…
We all need a bit of pampering sometimes and, when it comes to luxury, Barcelona is undeniably one of the best cities in the world for spoiling yourself. The Catalan capital’s majestic Modernista architecture provides a fittingly grandiose backdrop for having fun in, and combine that with the indulgence of Spain’s fantastic food culture, the glamour that accompanies any Mediterranean coastal resort, and the residents’ innate taste for the high life, and you have a city ripe for enjoyment.
What could be better than an afternoon’s shopping in the high end boutiques on the Passeig de Gracia boulevard, amidst breathtaking buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi, followed by perhaps a Michelin-starred meal one of the city’s top restaurants, before heading out for a cocktail or three at the Port Olimpic, where a host of elegant lounge clubs provide perfect views of the boats sailing out on the Mediterranean…? There’s no need to be jealous, because tomorrow you can charter a yacht for yourselves!
Yes, Barcelona is a city that know how to live well… and if you’ve seen the film Vicki Cristina Barcelona you’ll already have a little taste of what’s in store. Elegance and effortless sass never go out of fashion in Spain’s second biggest city, and the Catalans have impeccable standards when it comes to food, wine and fashion. With some of Europe’s top spas, fantastic luxury shopping and glamorous nightclubs on offer, whether you’re here on a romantic break, hen weekend, or simply out of sheer indulgence, you’re sure to leave with fabulous memories. That is provided you don’t drink too much of the local specialty – Spanish Cava!
Luxury Hotels & Apartments
A luxury holiday starts with a sumptuous pad. And Barcelona offers you no shortage of palatial digs to call home for the duration of your stay. From the sparkling glass facades of the five-star hotels, like the Arts Hotel and W-Hotelon the coast, to converted historic tenements, such as the Claris and 1898 Hotel with first class service and bags of charisma – there are plenty to choose from.
Head to our directory for a full range of hotels and accommodation, or check out our list of professional apartment rentals in Barcelona, as most agencies have some extra special flats on their books, replete with Jacuzzis and sun terraces. Many companies, as well as offering quality furnished flats for reasonable prices, also offer a range of additional services, such as stocking your fridge with gourmet Spanish treats, or booking a masseuse or even a personal shopper for you.
If your wallet is inconveniently overloaded you won’t have any trouble unburdening it here in Barcelona, where a number of international brands boast flagship stores, alongside even more trendy independent fashion labels. Passeig de Gracia is undoubtedly the place for parading about in your Gucci shades and flashing your gold card over the counter. Chanel, Luis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana and Diesel all have shops on this grand central avenue.
Speaking of which the fashion and trend consultants at Luxury Shopping Tours will certainly offer to show you around. They have a database of every store in the city worth visiting and can provide a personal concierge shopping service to suit your needs, tastes and budget.
Luxury Activities & Treats
This is where the real fun begins! Barcelona is full of great things to do, and if you’ve just collected your Christmas bonus or inherited the family silver then the sky’s the limit. Quite literally if you fancy a helicopter ride, or hot air balloon flight! Two good options for those who love flying high.
As you’re by the coast it would be criminal not to take advantage of those emerald waves and there are several companies offering sailing trips in Barcelona. Pack a case of Cava and you’ll soon be living the high life, Mediterranean style. Other ocean pursuits include deep sea fishing, kitesurfing and jetskiing – head to our watersports page for more info!
Back on terra firma and you’re also spoiled for choice. Being pampered and preened at a luxury spa is an obvious choice for the girls, or for romantic couples, where every style of massage under the sun is available.
For something more macho you could get behind the wheel of super sexy sports car and go for a spin in the Catalan countryside. Read up on Ferrari driving in Spain if you fancy an afternoon of playing at James Bond. You can choose between cruising around Barcelona in a Ferrari California (prices from just €88), or heading out of town for a whole day on the road in the likes of the Lamborghini Huracan.
VIP Nightlife & Restaurants
Eating well is an intrinsic part of any luxury break in Barcelona, and lucky for you the Catalan capital doesn’t disappoint. In fact Michelin stars are springing up like champinons in season, and plenty more exclusive eateries offer dishes par excellence. For fine dining by the beach we’d suggest booking a table at Opium Restaurant or at El Boo, for Ferran Adria inspired excellence try Tickets (if you can get a reservation!), whilst Cafe de l’Academia, Cera 23 and Con Gracia are three more editorial favourites for a dinner for two.
No one in Spain goes to bed after dinner and you shouldn’t either. Barcelona is teeming with exclusive bars and clubs and cocktail lounges, particularly around the Port Olimpic where the likes of Opium Mar, Shoko and Carpe Diem Lounge Club ply their trade. For something more local you could try Sutton Club.
If you want to be sure of getting in you can read our guide to nightclub guestlists in Barcelona.
Meanwhile, if you want help getting the VIP treatment then drop us a line on email@example.com with what nights you are going to be here and we’ll book you a table with champagne in one of the hottest spots in the city. If you’re lucky you might even bump into an FC Barcelona player celebrating a win.
About the Author
Duncan established Barcelona Life in 2009, whilst freelancing for the likes of Conde Nast, The Guardian, Easyjet Magazine, CNN Traveller and many more. From interviews with Ferran Adria to revealing the secrets of the city’s poetry brothels, he knows the city inside out… and shares all his best tips right here.