To borrow the words of Wartime British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, El Palauet Living in Barcelona is ‘a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.’
No-one seems to know exactly when the exquisite building housing this boutique hotel was first constructed (around the turn of the 20th century,) and who originally owned it (the Bonaventura Ferrer family, perhaps, whose members made their fortunes from cane-sugar and Bacardi in the then colonial French-Caribbean) – this lack of precise information adding more than a hint of mystery to any visit.
Regardless, now standing proudly amidst the hubbub of downtown Passeig de Gracia, it effortlessly exceeds expectations. Designed by architect Pere Falqués – who also designed the ornate lampposts on the Passaig – it is overtly Modernista in style, with a decorative array of natural elements such as leaves, waves, grapes and flowers.
Historically listed and protected under city law, El Palauet displays a bewildering array of architectural tastes, from its Modernista art – a chandelier created from 14,000 pieces of Bohemian enamelled glass – to a cavernous underground system with arches dating from ancient times, no doubt, harboring secrets from its mystical Pagan past, and now hosting a wide variety of celebratory events and product launches. Such has been the extent of renovation; there are 45 varied styled ceilings in the hotel.
Lending El Palauet a decidedly modern touch, an open-air Jacuzzi, waterbeds, a massage room and sauna adorn the top-floor terrace, with panoramic views over the city below. For fun, try it at midnight.
In terms of stats, El Palauet offers six exclusive double suites of 150 square meter space, with interiors carefully restored to match contemporary luxury. Even the furniture, much of it from French oak and walnut, cries ‘Modernista,’ with works by Eames, Saarinen, Platner, Jacobsen, Van der Rohe, Starck and Citterio, among others. Enhancing this post-Modern feel within a solid Old Age building, is the domotics, which allowed us as guests to select temperature, light and music to fulfill our desired ambience. If the in-house music doesn’t suit your tastes, don’t fret, there’s also an I-pod dock, thus making it easy to choose your own rhythmic favorites, from soothing classical Schumann to breezy Bourbon Street jazz.
Forgive me if I am being crude, but as for bathroom experiences….Mmmmm! Spacious bathtubs, stimulating showers and Japanese-style toilets with heated rims, represent the best in new technology. And the most voluptuous of pleasures.
Dog lover? Never fear. El Palauet welcomes all such creatures, large and small. And, as if you might possibly lack for anything more, every guest has a personal assistant assigned to them to deal with your every whim, from last-minute concert tickets to after-hours museum visits. He/she can even organise a chef to prepare your meals in your kitchen room – including organic – a massage, hairdresser, personal shopper, make-up artist, personal trainer, babysitter and car rental.
The hotel, gay and hetero friendly, also recommends weekly suggestions of cultural events, the best restaurants and coolest clubs around Barcelona and VIP access to social events. Public parking is conveniently located just across the street, with constant surveillance.
So, spoil yourself, check out El Palauet.