Self-contained city living at five-star hotel, El Palauet in Barcelona’s L’Eixample neighbourhood
Designed in 1906 by revered architect Pere Falqués, El Palauet translates from Catalan to Little Palace, which is a wonderfully apt title for this majestic, Art Nouveau jewel on Barcelona’s esteemed Passeig de Gràcia boulevard.
The five-storey modernista marvel opened as a hotel in 2010 and original features have been painstakingly preserved, from decorative ironwork and elaborate, moulded ceilings to the original lift installed in 1906. Dramatic, carved wooden doors unfold into a mosaic-tiled lobby with plush white leather sofas, setting the tone for a charming and chic hotel that pairs century-old architecture with ultra-modern décor.
The hotel is furnished with a sweep of names including Philippe Starck, Mies van der Rohe and Charles and Ray Eames, and former guests are equally well-known. George Clooney and Madonna are among those who have booked into the boutique, five-star hideaway, renowned for its privacy and self-contained opulence.
I stay in the Mezzanine Tibidabo, one of six, sprawling apartment-style suites in the luxury hotel. The immaculate, gleaming white pad has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a dining space, fully equipped kitchenette and a terrace with joyful views of the Catalan capital. The creamy colour palette is offset by metallic light fixtures and a pair of sleek Arne Jacobsen chairs, while high-tech details include a Japanese heated toilet seat and opulent light projections that dance across the walls.
I visit during summer and therefore spend the majority of my time lounging on the balcony, however I can easily see how tempting it would be to hunker down here in winter – unwinding in the deep bathtub and curling up on the sofa beneath a twinkling light display.
El Palauet is located on Barcelona’s esteemed shopping row and sits in good company amongst Bulgari, Prada and Stella McCartney, to name but a few. There is no public bar or dining space at the hotel but a wonderfully well stocked kitchen, plus a breakfast menu from which you can order everything from poached eggs to pancakes. Discreet but attentive staff are on hand 24 hours a day – the final clincher at a truly memorable little palace, which will make you feel like royalty.