Travel: Hotel Claris, Barcelona

The great thing about low cost airlines is the freedom they give you to get away for a weekend break somewhere new and exciting. There are so many cities in Europe that are 2 hours or less from the UK, there really is no excuse to stay at home.

Hotel Claris, Barcelona

I’ve just spent a couple of days in Barcelona and the airport (El Prat) is just 25 minutes away from the very centre of the city by train. It means light travellers (like me) can be enjoying tapas and a glass of Priorat while some other people are still waiting for their trolley to arrive at the baggage reclaim.

Hotel Claris – Barcelona

I was staying at the Hotel Claris, a 124 room (and suites) 5-Star Hotel & Spa located in one of the most fashionable parts of Barcelona. It is just 100 metres from the Passeig de Gràcia shopping area and very close to the Egyptian museum. It’s also just 5 minutes walk from one of Gaudis most interesting creations, Casa Batllo.

The Hotel was originally Vedruna Palace, a 19th-century neoclassical building before becoming a hotel exactly 25 years ago. It is a member of the Derby Collection, a series of luxury Hotels in London, Madrid, Paris and Barcelona that have built up an enviable reputation for style and originality.

Jordi Clos, Chairman of the Hotel collection has an amazing passion for ancient civilizations and as a result the Hotel actually has a small private museum of over 200 pieces of pre-Columbian art from the Chimú, Nayarit, Tairona, Quimbaya, Veracruz and Jalisco cultures (among others). These are in addition to the many pieces of Mayan, Roman and Buddhist art that are featured all all over the hotel (and in the rooms). They add a unique sense of history to the Hotel that sets it apart from many others.

We’re staying in a Junior Suite and the room is beautiful. It has a mezzanine area that contains a large sofa and TV together with ancient artefacts and antique paintings and would be the perfect cosy place to stay if you just fancied a night in. However this being Barcelona, I’m sure most people decide to go out and for us we have a dinner reservation waiting for us.

Junior Suite – Hotel Claris

La Terraza del Claris

The Hotels restaurant and bar is on the top floor of the building. In the bar area is a small, but perfectly formed Hollywood style outdoor pool surrounded by lazy loungers and banana leaf palms. It’s a bit cold for me at this time of the year to go for a dip, but it’s achingly hip and a great place to hang out with friends and enjoy a cocktail or two watching the sun go down over the city.

Top floor swimming pool & bar – Hotel Claris

The restaurant, La Terraza del Claris has a real passion for inventive and imaginative fish and seafood dishes. The menu has been put together by Aurelio Morales, he was trained at El Bulli and chef at the Madrid restaurant CEBO. His mantra is to produce Mediterranean-inspired cuisine using high quality home grown products.

Incidentally I did notice was an absence of (m)any vegetarian options on the menu so if you’re going to eat her ask them about Vegetarian dishes before you go to eat there. We are treated to not one, but 2 tapas style amuse-bouches that were delightful and gone in a second. In Barcelona everywhere you go from the simplest tapas bar to the most luxurious Hotels, the bread, tomatoes and olive oil is always fantastic. Our waiting staff were very knowledgeable and happy to help with suggestions from both the food and wine menus.

La Terraza del Claris

For starters I take Anchoa ‘000’ Como Una Gilda, which is anchovies served with an egg yolk (I think it is a quails egg) and caviar ice cream. It tastes as unusual and as eclectic as it sounds. It’s also quite delicious! My partner has the Tuna Tartare (Tartar De Ventresca de Atun Rojo Con Ostras y Matices Orientales) when she’s not looking I steal a taste and there is a really nice freshness and zing to it. We order a bottle of Spanish White Wine (obviously) a reasonably priced José Pariente 2017 notable for its final finishing in oak casks. Its dry, crisp and goes great with the fish dishes.

La Terraza del Claris

The service at La Terraza del Claris is quick and attentive and for mains I have the ‘Monkfish with Trinxat’, (Rape del Mediterranean, Trinxat, Cochifrito su Jugo) a Catalan speciality made with potatoes, cabbage and pork meat, together with kale chips. The pork and fish flavours are unusual together, but the Trinxat is fantastic and doesn’t overpower the fish. My partner on the other hand enjoys a gorgeous Mediterranean Wild Sea Bass with Mollusc and Saffron.

For dessert I order ‘Torrija’ toast with sweet wine, cinnamon and ginger anise Ice Cream and Jamaican Pepper which is as sticky, sweet and indulgent as it sounds. The ‘Follies of Baked Apple and puff pastry’ which is a strudel type dish is sooo moorish too.

There’s also a €65 set menu which has some really interesting dishes on it, including “Matured Beef Shin Glazed and Served with Eggplant Caviar” or “Black Andalusian Baby Squid” and Crunchy pig’s Ear ‘Brava Style’. The quality is befitting such a beautiful environment, which I’m sure on a Summer evening is even more special. You may have to forget the diet for one night to eat here, but for a culinary experience that embraces some of the regions past, present and future and I’d say its definitely a price worth paying.

Incidentally, there is also another restaurant attached to the Hotel called Mr. Kao Chinese cuisine Restaurant and Bar. I LOVE dim sum, but because of my excitement at trying some Spanish cuisine (in Spain) I didn’t get a chance to go there, but maybe next time?

Mayan Spa

Mayan Spa – Hotel Claris, Barcelona

There is a well equipped, small gym at the Hotel if you over indulge at the restaurant and have the energy to work up a sweat, but if you just want to go with the flow, the perfect answer is to take a treatment at the exotic Mayan Spa.

Situated on the lowest level, it’s a tranquil escape from the city hustle and bustle. Here you can enjoy treatments such as a ‘Hydrating Rose Kaolin Clay Body Wrap’ while listening to the sounds of a gently cascading waterfall situated just outside. The Spa uses Carita beauty products and a wide range of facial and massage treatments are available for singles and couples.

Mayan Spa – Hotel Claris, Barcelona

Spa Specials

Worth mentioning is that the Spa currently has a ‘Stay & Mayan Secret Spa Package’ which includes, accommodation for two people in the King Suite or Grand Suite Duplex. A complimentary bottle of wine and breakfast for two in your room. A bottle of champagne and a selection of chocolate-covered strawberries in the room, a revitalising 50 minute Mayan Yaakunah massage for two people in the Mayan Secret Spa. Not to mention, exclusive access to the Temazcal, a unique pre-Hispanic sauna handcrafted, and to the hotel’s chromotherapy shower and a late checkout. The price is £705 per night and could be the ultimate Mothers Day present.

There is also a £375 per night offer that includes dinner with choices from ‘The Seventeen’ exclusive Michelin star CEBO restaurant and a range of other goodies. For more info visit derby hotels.com/en/special-offers

Also In The Area

There are dozens of chic tapas bars and late night hang outs in the area (Vinitus is 2 mins from the Hotel has a bright modern twist on Tapas and is especially great). Bar Nolla is a lively place to grab a glass of wine. I was there on International Women’s day and there was a freshness and vibrancy about Barcelona that was inspiring and life affirming. In fact, even the graffiti here is more colourful.

Vinitus Tapas

Aside from the Egyptian Museum and Casa Batllo and its proximity to the main shopping area there are also some really nice boutiquey stores close by to the Hotel too. Have a look in Virutas (just past Mr Hoo’s restaurant), for designer clothing (women especially) and other simple, beautiful things at surprisingly affordable prices.

Casa Batllo

Art & Culture

Stanley Kubrick Exhibiton

We visited the cccb which is a pleasant 20 minute walk from the Hotel close to the University area. If you’re quick you can still catch the incredible Stanley Kubrick exhibition on there (if not it’s heading to London and the design museum in April, more info here). There are exhibitions on of new and established artists and despite being quite busy there was minimal queuing time.

Barcelona is a cool place and in two days we barely scratched the surface. It was, however plenty long enough to know I’ll come back and while Hotel Claris is not the cheapest Hotel in Barcelona by any means, if you’re looking for great facilities, service and personality, right in the heart of Barcelona then it’s the perfect place for you.

For more info and up to date prices visit www.hotelclaris.com

By the way, this was my first trip away with my über cool Buckle and Seam Canvas bag and I have to mention how happy I am with it. It’s the perfect size for a long weekend away and there are lots of little compartments inside for your passport and toiletries etc. You can also take it on board without having to pay extra for hand luggage and it’s really tough. You can read more about it here.

Buckle and Seam Canvas bag

Editor of Flush the Fashion and Flush Magazine. I love music, art, film, travel, food, tech and cars. Basically everything this site is about. You can follow me on Twitter HERE or on Instagram HERE

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