QH Editor, Natalie Bannister, checks into one of Barcelona’s coolest hotels to discover a haven where art, design, fashion, and luxury converge to create an unparalleled experience.
Situated just steps away from Plaça de Catalunya on Barcelona’s golden mile, ME Barcelona by Meliá stands as a beacon of new-wave luxury, art and design in a city built on the avant-garde. I’m midway through an epic European summer adventure, and, with a few nights in my favourite Spanish city on the itinerary, there’s no better place to stay and play than this so-cool-it-hurts hotel.
Every detail tells a story at ME Barcelona, which has pulled on the visionary design of local studio FITARQ and the interior design concepts developed by Mur Arquitectos and ASAH, in a testament to the city’s love for creativity. Juggernauts of international design have further refined its style, with renowned designers such as Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Patricia Urquiola, and Jaime Hayón all leaving their indelible mark on the hotel’s furniture and decor, ensuring that ME Barcelona exudes artistic allure.
The hotel boasts 164 rooms and suites distributed across eight floors, all accented with bright bursts of colour, and bold contemporary artworks. Signature pieces, such as decorative glass bottles inspired by Catalan Spanish architect, sculptor and painter, Josep Maria Jujol, a close collaborator of the legendary architect Antoni Gaudí, the greatest exponent of Catalan Modernism, serve as focal points.
We’re indulging with a stay in the Studio ME+ Suite, an exquisite space designed to soothe the soul and stir the senses, with a gigantic king-sized plush bed, uber-cool art, light-filled and expansive windows with views out over the inner courtyard, a large open-plan bathroom with rain shower, and an oversized bathtub in the bedroom. It also includes all the benefits of ME+, with exceptional details such as personalised welcome service, and a direct telephone line with the Guest Experience team if you have any requests or want to make reservations (hello, hottest restaurant in town?!).
The hotel’s dedication to providing personalised bespoke experiences is exemplified by its Aura Team of hospitality professionals, committed to curating unforgettable moments tailored to each guest’s preferences and desires. From the moment of arrival to the time of departure, the Aura Team ensured that every aspect of our stay was meticulously crafted to exceed our expectations and create lasting memories.
The hotel’s culinary offerings are nothing short of extraordinary, with three distinct gastronomic concepts designed by the BELBO Collection. Belbo Terrenal, a Mediterranean restaurant, creates a green oasis within the city, while Belbo Fasto, an Italian restaurant with a rogue touch, exudes elegance and sensuality. The chic cocktail bar, Belbo Luma, pays tribute to the art of distillation, offering a selection of indulgent libations.
ME Barcelona is the perfect launching pad to unforgettable moments in Barcelona, a captivating destination with a rich blend of art, architecture, history, and modernity. The city offers a wide array of attractions, none more awe-inspiring than Antoni Gaudí’s masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia, which has been under construction for over 140 years. Its intricate design and vast interior are truly remarkable — jaw-droppingly beautiful, Gaudi’s vision for the basilica combines Christian and biblical stories and symbols through complex sculpture and organic, geometric shapes, prominent in every column, tower and stained-glass window.
If, like us, you depart La Sagrada Familia swept up into a Gaudi-inspired love affair (and how could you not?!), don’t miss a visit to another of the master’s architectural gems, Casa Batlló — its surreal design is another enduring testament to Gaudi’s creativity and artistic brilliance, work that has greatly influenced the face of Barcelona.
Other city jaunts that were high on the daily agenda were walks through the Gothic Quarter, or Barri Gòtic, a beautiful old neighbourhood characterised by its stunning cathedral and labyrinthine medieval streets interspersed with peaceful squares. There’s a huge array of restaurants and bars in this area, and we had our most memorable meal on the terrace at El Cercle restaurant in the 15-century Palau dels Comtes Pignatelli, housed in the same building as the Reial Cercle Artístic de Barcelona, which offers a relaxed alfresco dining experience with an artistic ambience.
Eating at a tapas bar is a must-do in Barcelona as well — you’ll find a tapas joint on just about every road and down every alley in the city — and we never tired of the famous pa amb tomàquet (bread with tomato, considered a staple of Catalan cuisine and identity) alongside nationwide favourite patatas bravas (crispy fried potatoes tossed with salsa brava or bravas sauce) and pimientos de Padrón (a popular chilli traditionally served sautéed in olive oil and lightly salted). It’s a great way to connect with the daily lives of the locals as they indulge in the fine art of eating and drinking, Spaniard style.
Each day of sightseeing ended with afternoons back at the rooftop terrace of ME Barcelona, basking in the warm Mediterranean sun while sipping on cocktails, lazing in the pool or on the shaded sun loungers, and soaking in the vibrant energy of the city below. If Barcelona is beautiful, you can consider a stay at ME Barcelona by Meliá to be pure perfection!