The crown jewel of the Derby Hotel Group’s unique collection, Claris Hotel & Spa is a five-star property that’s as much museum as it is hotel. Formal greeters in top hats and tails welcome you inside the majestic boutique as it plays on the contrast from its 19th Century façade with its avant-garde interior. Everywhere you look, you’ll discover priceless Pre-Colombian artifacts and Mayan antiques mixed with modern design to go with the highest end of service. Beyond the decorations, the hotel offers an array of unique services which helps solidify it as one of the best spots in the city.
The owners of the hotel also own the Egyptian Museum and you can get tickets to get in for free.
There’s a good mix of room styles here but the one thing that is consistent is the unique and original Pre-Colombian and Mayan art encased in glass. Hardwood floors are typical, as are daybeds, corrugated or glass cased headboards (with more art), Bluetooth speakers, Nespresso machines, and lots of bottled water. The duplex rooms are some of the most interesting as they feature loft spaces with comfy couches, second TVs, and a sense of living in your own apartment in the city.
Another nice amenity is the Handy device in every room. This gadget gives you unlimited Wi-Fi anywhere in Barcelona as well as free international calls. It can be a life saver.
Red-ish marble is typical for the sunken tub/shower combos. Antique dressers in the duplex rooms hold towels and hairdryers against the occasional mosaic tiled walls. The White Company bath products are standard in all Derby Hotels in Barcelona.
The part museum/part hotel aspect comes fully into play in the lobby area. Beige marble floors lead to original sculptures and mosaics positioned behind modern design furniture. Natural light pours in from the rooftop atrium that hovers over a faux koi pond (the pond is real, the fish are not). Climbing up one level of stairs takes you into the hotel’s actual museum, featuring Pre-Colombian and Mayan artwork that can't be seen anywhere else.
If you book directly on the hotel’s site, you’ll get a welcome drink (though everyone might get that anyway) an in-room bottle of wine, and a 25 Euro voucher to the spa.
The rooftop pool is open year-round and offers great views of the city and surrounding mountains. During the summer, high-tops are set up along the rooftop deck where sun-bathers can order food and drinks while catching their rays.
Mayan Secret Spa is the hotel’s unique space that offers a wide range of treatments that all involve ancient Mayan rituals. There are four treatment rooms as well as a Mayan sauna with volcanic rocks, and chromatherapy showers. The spa uses lux Carita products and there are also packages for kids and teens.
Up on the roof, the small gym is awash in natural light with three cardio machines, some free weights, and a sauna. Just outside the glassed-in space is a sitting area atop some Astroturf that has the best views of the city.
There are two great dining outlets at the hotel. The first in the lobby is Mr. Kao. A first-of-its kind Chinese/Mediterranean mixed joint, they have a delicious dim sum as well as fusion delicacies for lunch and dinner. Up on the roof is La Terraza del Claris, an indoor/outdoor spot helmed by a Michelin chef that serves classic Mediterranean and Catalan dishes with unique innovations.
Don’t sleep on the breakfast. Here you’ll get a mix of healthy items, a cooking station with freshly made eggs and pancakes, and an array of juices to cure whatever ails you. It’s 45 Euros though – so maybe look into booking directly through the hotel when they offer free deals.
Just like the restaurants, there are two bars from the same outlets. Mr. Kao has a great selection of Japanese whiskeys and sake. While on the roof at La Terraza, you’ll get more mixology along with DJ sessions and live music at times throughout the year.
The hotel is just a block from Passeig de Gràcia, a chichi shopping street with high-end outlets, great restaurants, and some impressive Gaudí architecture. The closest metro is about 5-minutes away, but this area was made for walking. Catching a cab here is also a breeze as its one of the most trafficked areas of the city.
If you want to have (probably) the best meal of your life, then make a reservation at Restaurante Lasarte (1-minute walk), a three Michelin-star supernova that you have to see to believe. Wanna go where locals eat? Try the gorgeous back patio at Jardín del Alma (2-minute walk), where inside the Alma Hotel is fresh, local, and inventive cuisine brought to you by Catalonia’s best French chef.
Cocktail lovers will want to head over to Boca Chica (7-minute walk) where you’ll find expert mixologists in a fantastically designed space. If you like vermouth and anchovies, there’s nothing quite like the little bar El Villa (10-minute walk), a locals hangout with the best of both.
WHY WE LIKE IT
For the art-loving traveler, this hotel is very unique in that it has its own gallery, but every room also features more from the owner’s extensive private collection. High on both art and design, you’ll constantly be wowed by the attention to detail from the rooms and common spaces to the spa and rooftop. Both restaurants are worth exploring and summer nights on the terrace are more reasons to stay (though the breakfast is pretty expensive). With unique amenities, staff at your beck and call, and a super central location, what’s not to like?