Since its opening in 2009, the W Barcelona has fit right in almost straight away despite its sleek and somewhat pretentious reputation. Far from the typical charms of the old city's winding streets and exposed brick, the hotel has made a surprisingly suitable landmark.
Inspired by the sail-shaped Burj al Arab Hotel (Jumeirah Hotels) - minus the helipad - in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (see our review), the glass and aluminium structure marks the beginning of the beach and balances out the equally adventurous architecture of the Hotel Arts at the end of the beach towards Via Olympica.
Set at the end of its own drive, the hotel juts out towards the sky boasting a lit-up 'W' on its side, like an eye surveying the rest of the city in the night sky. The hotel's opening was met by harsh criticism from the locals who sought to hold onto Barcelona's irresistible beat-up charm, but we were pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere once inside. Staying true to its reputation for somewhat eye-wateringly sleek design, the pink and green neon lighting help create different ambiences throughout the day.
The lacking intimate atmosphere and the seldom contact with staff takes away from a boutique feel and positions the hotel as a mass market establishment. However once we saw the infinity-edged pool looking out to sea and Bareloneta Bay, we were taken aback - little did we know the pool would just be a taster for what was to come. When we arrived in our room is when we were really blown away: the view, half city-half sea, was absultely magical. Changing with the light from dawn till dusk, the landscape was mesmerising. We could have laid in bed all day watching the colours change on the city's walls and the bay lining the glistening sea.
Although we loved the pool, the rest of the hotel was average due to the lack of outdoor spaces - most W hotels have beautiful exteriors, which is a shame not to have in Barcelona due to the great weather.
The main restaurant, WAVE, has indoor and outdoor seating. It serves à la carte meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In terms of facilities there is a BLISS spa, a SWEAT gym, a fully-equipped business centre and a bar on the 25th floor, the top floor.