Where to stay
The Mandarin Oriental is right in the heart of the city in the trendy Eixample district, making it the perfect base for sightseeing, wining and dining. Our impeccable suite was so big that we could have moved in for good – and it came complete with its own dressing room and a bathroom filled with gorgeous Acqua di Parma products.
Not going out
A swim in the Mandarin Oriental’s rooftop pool is absolutely recommended. The views from up there take in the cityscape and the mountains that overlook it. And make sure you visit Banker’s Bar, a former bank vault with a super-cool atmosphere, for an evening cocktail. Eating presents its own dilemmas here. Choose Terrat, the hotel’s Chilean-Japanese fusion restaurant, for unique tastes, or for fine Catalan cuisine from Michelin-starred chef Carme Ruscalleda, choose Moments. For more choice, she also designed the hotel’s Blanc eaterie, open for 16 hours a day from breakfast to dinner.
Despite the many attractions of the hotel, Barcelona has so many must-visit destinations. Its Gaudí buildings are dotted across the city – we visited the iconic Sagrada Família and, at the foot of the mountains, the remarkable Torre Bellesguard manor house. At sunset, we caught La Font Màgica’s romantic fountain and light show at Montjuïc.
Another must-see is the hustle and bustle of Las Ramblas, a line of short streets popular for browsing, shopping and dining. Our quick visit turned into an all-day wander, stopping off at bars and cafés along the way. For dinner, we headed to Bellavista del Jardín del Norte, part-owned by footballer Lionel Messi. The menu certainly scored highly with us – we enjoyed so many delicious tapas dishes and the desserts were to die for! A perfect end to a superb city break.