Hotel Claris: At the Centre of Barcelona’s Sophistication
My wife and I were recently invited to stay in Hotel Claris, a 5 star Gran Lux Hotel & Spa in the centre of Barcelona. This was not only our first time staying in one of the Derby Hotel Collection’s hotels, but also our first time exploring and experiencing Barcelona together.
Whether you simply love art and culture, or are looking for elegance and luxury in the heart of Barcelona, we found Hotel Claris to be an exceptional choice in discovering all things Barcelona, from the local cuisine to the centre’s history and legacy.
When we first entered the corner building on Pau Claris, we were not only greeted by the wonderful and caring staff, but more so by the beauty and grandeur of this fabulous hotel. Wherever you look there is art, predominantly pre-Colombian and Mayan, from busts and clay heads, to some of the most amazing oil paintings and sculptures I’ve ever seen in a hotel.
We were invited to complimentary champagne, as the staff celebrated our arrival and showed us to our room, and we were in awe. Each room, all being recently refurbished, includes a private luxury bathroom, complimentary Nespresso machines, an all-inclusive mini-bar, and as throughout the rest of the hotel, endless culture-rich art. Our room was particularly large for a city-centre hotel, included individual climate control and a bed the size of my bedroom at home; it’s safe to say I had one of the most comfortable holiday sleeps I’ve ever had.
The Claris’ staff gave us a quick tour around, and in showing us some of the other rooms, explained that the hotel, once known as the Vedruna Palace, dates back to 1883 when building a palace like the Claris was entirely unprecedented in such a central neighbourhood. Whilst retaining most of its neo-classical façade, the hotel also succeeds in displaying the heritage and historical identity of the current owner and his wife, through both the portraits on the walls and the décor that adorns them.
After settling in and exploring some of Barcelona’s key landmarks, we were treated to a delightful and culturally educational lunch at the hotel’s pool & terrace space, La Terraza. Our host Jon talked us through each plate as if it were his family’s own honoured recipe. We started off with a variety of croquettes, prepared exclusively for us by Michelin star chef and CEBO specialist Aurelio Morales and Daniel Hernández. This was followed by an exquisite seafood lasagne and a mouth-watering spicy sausage paella, both rounded off with a perfectly picked Mediterranean wine. This lunch experience was definitely something to tell your friends about. To be wined and dined by the best in the business, and learn about Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine in such detail, was truly amazing.
With full bellies and a taste for Spain, at this point we were eager to take in as much of it as we could, but despite the hotel being just a brisk walk from Passeig de Gràcia, we opted to ignore the trams and taxis, and stick to La Terraza; we couldn’t get enough of it. I was particularly impressed by the terrace’s own individual decoration, the beautiful Persian rugs that pave the floor, and its relaxed, calm and cool vibe. It was the beginning of March when we visited Hotel Claris, so the pool was freezing cold, but we couldn’t leave without taking a quick dip! With a cocktail in hand and the high-rise breeze on our heads, it felt like Hotel Claris had given us a brief snapshot into the lives of the Spanish bourgeois, ripe with elegance, class and sophistication.
The next day, we decided to head into the busy part of town, by Las Ramblas, and take a look at some of the local restaurants and bars. We were pleasantly surprised by several authentic Spanish restaurants, and even more so by the street food vendors offering the nitty-gritty of local cuisine. Choosing to walk as opposed to taking the tram or a taxi was also a great choice, as it allowed us to experience the ins and outs of Barcelona’s backstreets and day to day local shops without compromise. Travelling to several of the other main landmarks did require the underground however, but that made it all the much easier to see everything in the time we were there.
We topped our weekend in Barcelona off with an evening visit to Barceloneta Beach, the sun was setting and we’d just about made it with our toes on the sand. We experienced the stunning view of the Iberian coastline and the perfect timing of it all left us in wonder and amazement. What makes it more amazing, is that within the space of 30 minutes we were already back in our hotel room, warm and cosy, ready for sleep.
Besides the luxury and sophistication, we found Hotel Claris’s selling point to be its positioning in the city centre, as we made great time getting to any local spot, in all four directions, from the Sagrada Familia and Las Ramblas, to Parc Guell and Montjuic. In fact, two of Gaudi’s famously designed buildings are but a stone’s throw away from Hotel Claris. My wife and I cannot recommend this hotel enough. Whether it’s a short weekend stay like ours, or a longer visit, leisure or work, we’ll be coming to Hotel Claris again and again.
*Photos taken from Hotel Claris’ website: https://www.hotelclaris.com/