The ME Barcelona
Located on the chic Passeig de Gràcia, the ME opens its doors on 16 November, promising a combination of art, technology and music alongside a rooftop bar, restaurants and a sprawling urban garden. Rooms are chic, if a touch corporate, in shades of stone and taupe, while the restaurants are swathed in greenery and serve Mediterranean dishes, with ingredients sourced from local producers. Resident DJs are set to keep the place hopping on evenings and weekends, with the bars and restaurants of the Gothic Quarter just outside the door.
Doubles from £202, room only; melia.com
An elegantly restored mansion in the quiet Sarrià-Sant Gervaisi district, the Mirlo opened in April, offering a unique wellness experience – each of the 16 rooms has its own private hammam, while suites also boast their own sauna. Outside, pristine gardens surround the house and outdoor pool – perfect for cooling off after a day exploring, before dinner in the excellent restaurant. Breakfasts are superb: crisp patisserie, frisels (mini baguettes filled with jamon iberico) and piles of fresh fruit. The Mirlo is ideal for those who want to be out of the hubbub of central Barcelona, with the main attractions an easy 15-minute taxi ride away.
Doubles from £168, B&B; mirlobarcelona.com
The Vividora opened its doors briefly in February 2020, before re-opening in August. Set among the atmospheric streets of the Gothic Quarter, its big draw is the Terrazade Vivi rooftop bar and pool, complete with lush greenery, sunloungers and spectacular views of the city’s skyline. Rooms are stylish, with bold wall panels and splashes of blue, a nod to the city’s coastal location. Fauna restaurant serves modern Spanish cuisine and has an excellent regional wine list, while Café Got on the ground floor is coffee house by day, cocktail bar by night.
Doubles from £154, room only; kimptonvividorahotel.com
The latest branch of Robert De Niro and Nobu Matsuhisa’s ever-growing hotel brand, Nobu partially opened in December 2019, and is now taking bookings from February 2022. The hotel promises its classic pared-down interiors, albeit with nods to Gaudí’s mosaic techniques. The restaurant offers spectacular views from the 23rd floor – and the trademark black cod dish; Kozara in the lobby will have lighter, more traditionally Spanish flavour. The hotel is close to Sants station, and all the main sights are within a 30 minute walk.
Doubles from £174, room only; nobuhotels.com
RESTAURANTS & BARS
One of the city’s hippest places to eat, and located on a quiet street in PobleSec, this restaurant is helmed by two young chefs, one from Galicia in the north, the other from Salamanca in the west. The menu draws on traditional regional dishes, served as small sharing plates; highlights include octopus stuffed with chorizo and egg yolk, smoked sardines, and Tarte de Santiago, a Galician almond cake. Reservations are essential; ask for a table opposite the open kitchen to see the chefs in action.
Located in Esquerra de l’Eixample (recently named the coolest neighbourhood in the world by Time Out), Besta has a weekly seafood-based menu – think tortilla gazpacho with tuna belly, tortilla with just-cooked shrimp and asparagus, or pintxos of anchovies, olives and spicy guincilla peppers. Kick off with a gin infused with oysters, and ask the sommelier for wine suggestions from the interesting list.
Vegan Junk Food Bar
Amsterdam’s most famous vegan restaurant opened its first outpost beyond the Netherlands in November 2020, when the VJFB landed in the El Born district. The place for everything vegan food is supposed not to be: sticky ribs, barbecue “no-wings”, fries smothered in jalapeños or garlic sauce, and burgers loaded with toppings. With a hip-hop and R&B soundtrack and a backdrop of street art, this isn’t the place for a quiet romantic dinner, but there’s nowhere better in the city for a vegan blow-out.
The Sips Drinkery House
Possibly the hippest cocktail bar in the city, Sips has an impeccable pedigree, run by two of the world’s most famous mixologists: Simone Caporale, fresh from the Artesian in London (named best bar in the world for four years running) and Marc Alvarez, former head of mixology for Ferran Adrià’s restaurant group. At Sips, cocktails are served tapas-style: small measures and affordable prices, so drinkers can try several concoctions. A wide choice of wines and beers is also available. sips.barcelona
The Moco Museum
The first outpost of Amsterdam’s acclaimed Moco Museum, this new gallery opened in October, and has a focus on combining iconic works by modern and contemporary artists and less-familiar pieces from rising stars in the art world. There are two permanent collections: Moco Masters Modern, including works by Salvador Dalí, Damien Hirst and Yayoi Kusama; and Moco Masters Contemporary, highlighting artists including David LaChapelle, Julian Opie and Takashi Murakami. Several spaces are given over to cutting-edge digital art, while the first guest exhibition is a collection of works by Banksy.
Open daily, from €13.50; mocomuseum.com
Gaudí at the National Art Museum of Catalonia
Running from 18 November to 6 March 2022, this exhibition focuses on the architectural works of Barcelona’s most famous son. Guests can explore Antoni Gaudí’s creative process and ideas through the political, social and ideological upheavals that took place in Catalonia at the end of the 19th century. Alongside the chance to see Gaudí’s original drawings and impressions of the Sagrada Familia basilica and other buildings, the permanent collection houses a huge range of works by Spain’s most famous artists including El Greco, Velázquez, Picasso and Miró.
Open daily, €12; museunacional.cat