I’m sure you know that Barcelona, Spain tops many “best places to visit in 2018” lists. In addition to its unique architecture, think Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos I for myself.‘s Park and La Sagrada Familia, the Mediterranean weather is welcoming, as are the people. I recently learned that Barcelona is also home to the first Fairmont-branded hotel in all of Spain. I’m a fan of Fairmont Hotels, so this doesn’t surprise me, however, I was curious to check out
As it was shoulder season in Barcelona, my husband and I were able to experience five star luxury – at an off season price – in an executive suite looking over the city skyline. The modern hotel was originally built in 1992 by Catalan architect Carlos Ferrater in time for the Barcelona Olympic games. In 2014 the 433 room hotel was acquired by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and completely renovated in all rooms and suites, in addition to the grand lobby.
You’ll notice the grandeur of the hotel upon entrance, with it’s soaring ceiling and sparkling B-24 Restaurant and lobby bar. If you happen to be flying in from the United States, or any other country, you may not adjust easily to the Spanish time clock – and by that I mean restaurants that don’t open for dinner until 7:30 p.m. and evening meals that don’t get underway until 10 o’clock at night. My husband and I were still on West coast time when we checked in, and so appreciated that B-24 Restaurant was open 24/7.
Spanish dishes such as jumbo shrimp and octopus are tasty, but when in Spain, you must try tapas. We loved the Iberico ham, as well as the Basque cheese plate, served with local jam. A sparkling glass of cava compliments the meal. Speaking of cava, if you are feeling adventurous, have the concierge service arrange a visit to nearby Cavas Codorniu, thirty minutes outside of Barcelona. I appreciate having access to a knowledgeable concierge staff for local restaurant recommendations and help with online tickets to attractions that require advance reservations. Don’t worry if your high school Spanish skills are rusty; nearly everyone speaks English here.
If you prefer to relax and stay on property, meander through the 19th century gardens or visit the swan in the private lake. Hang out by the outdoor swimming pool, play a game of tennis at the Royal Club Fitness & Spa (you’ll have to pay an additional fee for tennis or a spa treatment) but there is no additional charge to use the spa and soak in the hot tub. Another option is to participate in the monthly food and wine classes. During my visit, the workshop was about creating healthy meals. Again, these workshops are for an additional fee.
In addition to room service, there’s the Market restaurant where breakfast is served. The restaurant offers a wide-ranging buffet, in addition to cook-to-order egg dishes. As with all my Fairmont hotel stays, I look forward to experiencing the Fairmont specialty teas. While guests can always expect the familiar and luxurious bed linens, pillows and Rose 31 shampoo in their room, no matter what country, the tea collection is a fun discovery for me. Do you have a favorite amenity from a special hotel?
Room rates start at 229 €, depending on the time of year and hotel occupancy. The property is pet-friendly – for an additional fee. WiFi is complimentary, and unlike many Fairmont properties, you don’t need to be a member of the President’s Club to get free internet access. Parking is available on site. As always, check the website for current prices and packages. To stay at the hotel, make your reservations through Accor Hotels. You can also compare rates at one of the many booking sites such as Travelocity or Expedia and book with them.
Hotel review by San Francisco-based Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. Photos © Nancy D. Brown. Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos I arranged my stay for review purposes.