By Art Terrero
The new ME Barcelona is in a burgeoning area of the city called the “Innovation District”; it’s also close to the Barcelona International Convention Center, which is spurring other construction nearby. Although the property’s proximity to this business area may keep the hotel filled with conference-goers, we found ME Barcelona to be a fun, stylish and lively hotel that is already starting to draw a loyal local market. The scene is set as soon as one walks in the door: An inviting lobby bar with DJs playing world music and floor-to-ceiling windows are the signature design features of this wide-open space. Also on the ground level is the curiously named Sky Restaurant & Lounge, a casual dining venue that’s already creating a local buzz with its Thursday and Friday night parties. The hip Angels & Kings Bar’s concept has been imported from Manhattan’s downtown nightclub scene. This new sixth-floor outpost takes it all a step further, however, with an outdoor terrace and covered pool where cocktails and tapas are served.
We found our room (No. 1608) at ME to be just fine for solo travelers. The bathroom’s sliding door served as the only privacy element in the room. If you’re sending a couple who might want a bit more space and privacy, request an Urban Suite, which has a separate living room and a private dressing area. The sea views from the Urban Suite are magnificent, and early risers can enjoy the sunrise as they listen to their favorite tunes over the in-room iPod Tower Speaker. Those who prefer sunset views can select from the following room categories: Supreme City, the Level Supreme City or the Loft or Sky Suite, all of which have city views.
Residents of the Urban Suite can also enjoy the services of the Level Lounge, which offers VIP access to a private reception area, where a top-level buffet food service is available all day. Those with Level access—which is limited to 14 deluxe guest rooms and 23 suites—receive an iPod for use during their stay that comes preloaded with some of Barcelona’s most popular music. Guests here also have the use of a private meeting room, as well as a playroom. The hotel does not market to children, and does not have a formal kids’ program. However, the hotel’s “aura experience manager” Claire Jones is happy to assist in planning a family adventure, such as a visit to the Barcelona Zoo, bike tours around the city, excursions to the aquarium or to Park Guell. She’ll also point clients with children to the fun Imaginarium shop on the famed Paseo de Gracia.
The property recommends that families book an Urban Suite or the Sky Suite (No. 2901), both of which have sofa beds, lots of closet space and access to connecting rooms. The Sky Suite boasts a private playroom with a Nintendo Wii, a Play Station and home surround-sound cinema. Even more appealing to families is the fact that there are two bathrooms with showers in the suite, a guest bedroom and the ability to rent the entire floor out, since all rooms connect. (This will also go over well with your security-conscious VIP clients.) The suite’s dining room seats six comfortably.
General Manager Alex Hugot is happy to take calls from travel advisors with VIP requests; Claire Jones is another good contact if you have specific questions. Both can be reached at the hotel’s main number, 011-34-93-367-2050.
For those clients who require their own personal shopper, Jones will call on Fabiana, who has extensive contacts throughout Barcelona and can also intersperse shopping into local cultural tours. A large shopping center is just around the corner and the Paseo de Gracia is a five-minute taxi ride away. The hotel has a free shuttle bus that runs on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays to and from the port, the casino and the city center.
The hotel’s Dos Cielos restaurant has a one-month waiting list for reservations, a tribute to its popular tasting menus and its open kitchen where the Torres brothers craft their cuisine. For those who want to enjoy their meal in private, an exclusive dining room seats 10.
For those seeking high-end dining off property, we suggest Gaig (011-34-93-429-1017) and Alkimia (011-34-93-207-6115), both in the Exiample district. Those who prefer a more casual environment will love Cal Pep in the Born Area (011-34-93-310-7961) and Els Pescador in the Villa Olimpica area (011-34-93-225-2018).
ME Barcelona also has a “YHI” spa that offers four treatment rooms, one for couples. Those who wish to be pampered outside may request a treatment by the pool during the summer months. We hear that the most oft-requested massage therapist is Spa Manager Boris Peter Decker (email@example.com, 011-34-93-367-2062). Be sure to reserve spa appointments at least two days in advance.