El Palauet: Visiting Barcelona Like an A-Lister
I might as well warn you. You’re going to want to live in Barcelona. One vacation to this gorgeous Catalan city is usually all it takes to make you desire it, again and again.
With its endless list of hip bars, inspiring food, whimsical architecture and people who know how to carpe the heck out of every diem, Barcelona gets under your skin, provokes a commitment, makes you consider a permanent address.
So here’s what I suggest. Stay in a place that feels like home. A place that oozes everything that’s cool about Barcelona.
Stay at El Palauet, a five-star boutique hotel right on Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona’s leafy answer to Rodeo Drive.
El Palauet is where you’d stay if you’re Madonna or Neil Patrick Harris or Lin-Manuel Miranda. Here’s why:
1. It has a fascinating history. Designed in 1906 by the famed architect, Pere Falqués, El Palauet (it means “little palace” in Catalan) is a stunning example of Barcelona’s Art Nouveau architecture. Original stained glass, molded ceilings, carved wooden doors, decorative ironwork and dramatic staircases have all been painstakingly preserved. And each of the boutique hotel’s six suites feature high ceilings, ornate balconies and sleek contemporary furnishings by Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, Philippe Starck, Antonio Citterio and other designers who can also be found in the permanent collection of MoMa New York.
2. Did I say suites? They’re really more like apartments. Each of El Palauet’s six offerings rings in at a whopping 1600-square feet and has a fully-stocked kitchen, dining room, living room, two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
3. George Jetson would feel right at home. You’ll be grateful that each suite also comes with a personal assistant, because well, the technology is so space age that, unless you’re Steve Jobs, you might need help. There are mirrors that turn into TV’s, bathroom lighting that adjusts to suit your mood and iPads that control everything from the lamps to the air-conditioning to the in-house music system.
4. You don’t need a cab. La Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudí’s Unesco World Heritage Site and the one must-see on every tourist itinerary, is a short fifteen-minute walk. Other Gaudí masterpieces, La Pedrera and Casa Batllo, are also in the neighborhood. And if Gaudí’s name doesn’t excite you, add these neighbors to your Christmas card list: Hermes, Jimmy Choo, Prada, Louis Vuitton.
5. You can be famous without anyone noticing. From the rooftop terrace where you can soak in a hot tub, lounge on chic white leather sofas or sauna the day away, you can look out over your newly-appointed city without anyone noticing. And if you really want anonymity, you can come and go through a discreet back door entrance.
6. Your wish is their command. Your personal assistant has a little black book with gourmet chefs from around the city who are just waiting to come to your suite to prepare meals. Or if you need babysitting, a hair dresser or a personal shopping spree, one call is all it takes.