Barcelona was on my travel bucket list for the longest time. It remains a city that holds a real sense of allure and definitely has a unique vibe about it. However, to my dismay, every time I attempted to book a trip to the Spanish metropolis, my trip never came to fruition. But people often say, “whatever is meant for you won’t pass you by”, and they are right. This time around, luck was in the air, and my time to visit was on the cards. Above all, I was determined to make it the most idyllic trip, right from restaurant choices, hotel stay, and attractions. Starting with my home away from home, while in the city. I had three hotels in mind. And the criteria was a hotel that offered accurate five-star luxury service, was centrally located and provided an in-house oasis, where I could wind down a bit during my visit. Hotel Claris was the leading hotel out of the three hotels and stood out the most. It had the perfect amount of materialistic thrills and frills I wanted from a hotel, and let’s just say it was utter bliss.
Arriving into Barcelona, the elegant facades of Hotel Claris gave me the warmest of metaphorical welcomes, followed by a gleeful doorman who was at the ready to open the door of a taxi, welcoming me with much grace, into the hotel. Walking into the lobby, I was greeted by extensive glistening floors, dark chocolate brown sofas, and romanesque art-deco vibe that set the scene of the pure elegance within Hotel Claris. Making my way to the front desk, each front of house member wanted to do their part to help me; from transporting my luggage checking to my room, to offering me a welcome drink of sparkling Cava. There are very few hotels that have made me feel so at home, especially when visiting a new city – a huge kudos to Hotel Claris.
The art-deco vibe extends from the lobby of the hotel, right through to the bedrooms. We stayed in a Superior Room dressed with dark oak woodwork, mixed with golden tiling and brass detailing, finished with an assortment of unique art pieces and exquisite sculptures. The room itself had was set across two levels, one slightly raised than the other, providing a separate bedroom area with two large single beds, fitted wardrobes and a lovely street view of Barcelona.
As you step down to the lower level, there was a tasteful living room area with plush leather sofa patterned cushions that faced a flat-screen television, and equipped with a Bluetooth enabled speaker, an excellent addition for a musicophile like myself. It’s those small additional details that reassure me the room design and layout had been well thought out, ensuring guests have an enjoyable stay.
The bathroom resided on the lower level. It boasted more upscale interiors with red stone marble running throughout, fitted with a large tub, and sink, which is ideal for people like myself travelling with company, a separate toilet and bidi area too. The bathroom itself was huge in comparison to the total size of the room – that truly impressed me.
However, I was excited to see what bathroom amenities the hotel provided since I am known to be an “amenity snob”. To my delight, the amenities did pass my judgement with an impressive selection of The White Company products. Fantastic!
Spa & Other Facilities
Mayan Secret Spa
The spa is inspired by the Mayan tribes, which is a Mexican tribe of indigenous people who inhabited in southern Mexico. The Mayan people focused a lot around spirituality and had a significant influence on holistic healthcare. Their methods still inspire many spa treatments today, like at Hotel Claris. The Mayan Secret Spa is one of a few Mayan spas in Barcelona and Europe, sharing the glorious treatment methods from decades ago.
My treatment session started off visiting the Mayan style steam room, which is essentially a clay hut with a hot stove in the middle with burning coal, where eucalyptus water is added to initiate a steam bath that fills the air. It’s completely different from a typical steam room in spas, but the Mayans believed the clay steam room went above and beyond playing a major part in cleansing your spirit too.
I was booked in for an innovative treatment called Jak’Ool, a Mayan relaxation massage, and it was precisely that. When comparing the technique of this massage, it differs entirely from your traditional massage. Usually, the massage starts at the back and ends at the feet, in a two-part process. However, the Jak’Ool massage begins with the left side of the body, followed by the right. The treatment involves using stretches and massage techniques that relax the muscles, and it worked, as I genuinely fell asleep at various points throughout the treatment, and woke up feeling invigorated.
Post-massage I was treated to a glass of Cava and some chocolate buttons to finish up my treatment. The perfect way to end a relaxing afternoon in Barcelona, exactly what I needed before a few days of exploring.
The spa has additional facilities, such as hydrotherapy rooms with innovative water and light treatments which helps you relax even more post-treatment. Overall, the Mayan Secret Spa was a very unique experience, and I’m intrigued to experience more of what the Mayans have to offer.
The hotel itself has extensive facilities such as the rooftop pool with sun loungers surrounding it and natural shade from the foliage surrounding it too, making it the perfect spot to cool off during the peaks of Barcelona’s balmy climate. Alternatively, there is a lounge area that is perfect to have a midday cocktail or stop off for lunch before exploring the city.
Dining at Hotel Claris
Breakfast at Hotel Claris is a delight. When checking-in to the hotel, you have the option to upgrade your breakfast option or stick to the usual breakfast offering. Both are great, but it entirely depends on what kind of breakfast experience you are looking for. The traditional breakfast is served on the ground floor of the hotel, which is a continental buffet style with fresh fruits, croissants, freshly baked bread, cakes, cereal, an array of cold meats and cheeses, pancakes and my favourite part – an egg station. However, if you’re looking for more luxe experience, there is also the option to have breakfast on the rooftop of the hotel, with additional a la carte choices. Imagine prawn tartare, black truffle eggs, champagne on tap, accompanied with a gorgeous view of Barcelona at height. We chose to stick to the traditional breakfast offering, and it certainly did not disappoint.
La Terraza del Claris
We knew we were in for a treat at the hotel’s resident restaurant, La Terraza del Claris when I popped up earlier that day to have a cocktail in the sun. I started ogling the menu, and imaging all the mouthwatering delights I was going to indulge into later that evening. The restaurant offers signature Mediterranean Cuisine in a beautiful glass-enclosed space restaurant filled with vast amounts of foliage, mimicking the idea of dining in a rooftop greenhouse. There is an extensive selection of dishes to choose from with thanks to the talents chefs at work behind the scenes, overseen by Aurelio Morales, Executive Chef of Derby Hotels Collection. Aurelio talents know no bounds as he has been awarded a Michelin star and two Repsol Suns, from the Spanish Repsol Restaurant guide and is quite the honour within Spain.
We kicked things off with a few palate cleansers, the first consisting of an olive oil emulsion mixed with minuscule fried shrimp. Seafood is quite a delicacy in Barcelona, especially with it being so close to the sea, there is always a fresh selection at the ready every morning. Followed by the next palate cleanser, a toasted cheese flatbread, which was absolutely divine. The flatbread had a lovely crunch, and when combined with the full-flavoured melted cheese, it became the most more-ish palate cleanser I have ever tasted. It needs to make it into a starter.
Speaking of starters, I ordered the classic Spanish croquettes made with Leon’s Jerky, delicious cured beef and Idiazabal cheese – made from sheep’s milk in the Basque region of Spain. The outer shell was crisp and golden and as you bit into it, the warm, creamy, cheesy, gooey treat awaited inside. It would be the perfect thing to eat during the Christmas period, with a glass of wine at the ready.
Moving on to the main course, I ordered the mature beef shin, which was glazed in a beautiful lacquer and served with eggplant caviar. The meat itself was incredibly tender and melted in my mouth, and with every bite, there was a small amount of eggplant caviar, completing the dish beautifully.
Finishing up with a mix of sweet and savoury desserts, as we could not decide. We ordered an extensive cheese platter and a chocolate “mess”, which was an assortment of small chocolate brownies with chocolate soil and a beautiful cacao ice cream.
The food was a hit, but the fantastic service we experienced that night truly topped it off for us. Luckily we didn’t have to go far with our food babies.
The overall experience at Hotel Claris
My overall experience of staying at Hotel Claris was genuinely exceptional. From a warm greeting every time we walked into the hotel, right through to the concierge staff going above and beyond to help plan our adventures across the city, with my long list of places I wanted to see. It doesn’t stop there though, the food served at both breakfast and dinner was delicious, and the guest relations team went the extra mile and left us a complimentary bottle of bubbly, which was a lovely surprise. Even when we needed additional amenities, the housekeeping team delivered them in seconds. No ask was too big or small, and for me, they truly gave us five-star service throughout our stay. Above all, the location is spot-on for perfect for tourists. It is in the centre of all the sights, and you are in the district for the best restaurants and bars too. Hotel Claris is a must-visit for any of you heading to Barcelona – take my word for it!
Until next time…