A backlit, lime-green bar is the
of Hotel Casanova’s lobby and lounge.
Striking decor, GPS devices on loan, Mexican-Spanish fusion
cuisine, an indoor-outdoor spa and a bright-green bar are among the
innovations at the creative Hotel Casanova.
The newly redesigned Hotel Casanova, part of the Spanish Rafael
group, aims to make a name for itself as Barcelona’s hippest hotel.
In everything from cuisine to decor and amenities, the hotel has a
modern, youthful and edgy feel.
Even in this city where it seems every building is more
eye-popping and beautiful than the next, I could spot the hotel
from a distance, thanks to the big, glowing green globes hanging in
the entrance. Also visible from outside were oversized pillar
candles, a startling lime-green lobby bar, gauzy sheer curtains,
sculpted black chairs, retro chrome stools and music videos
flashing on the walls. To a passerby, it might almost be mistaken
for a happening nightclub.
Located in the heart of Barcelona, the 124-room hotel opened
just over a year ago in a stylish 18th-century, eight-story home
that was once a palatial residence with a handsome limestone facade
and ornate iron doors (the only remnants of the original
structure). Despite the hotel’s newness, it already completed a
redesign and image makeover and just announced its second “debut,”
including its new membership in Small Luxury Hotels of the
Among the hotel’s recent additions are a choreographer who
regularly rearranges everything from seating arrangements to
lighting and music; a very Zen, indoor-outdoor Stone Spa; and a DJ
who spins tunes on weekends. A rooftop pool and bar, as well as a
fitness center, are scheduled to open this summer.
The glass-walled restaurant, Mexiterranee, combines
Mediterranean, Catalan and Mexican ingredients to create an
adventurous fusion cuisine with entrees such as steamed lamb with
chilies, garlic and cactus flowers and olive oil-poached cod in a
habanera sauce. The bar offers Barcelona’s only ceviche menu and
surprisingly decent margaritas (served in martini glasses).
Executive chef Jaume Brichs admitted that words like “tortilla”
(which means an egg-potato dish in Spain) created a stumbling block
when chefs convened to devise the menu.
Guestrooms are sleek and minimalistic, with plasma-screen TVs,
in-room Wi-Fi, retro furnishings, clear globe lamps and L-shaped
bedside tables the perfect size and height for breakfast in bed. A
small box of chocolates from Cacao Sampaka, the city’s ultra-hip
chocolatier, is the nighttime turndown treat. It beats a mint any
time. Some stylish touches in the guestrooms, however, were a
little impractical, such as the moody inset lighting. (Not so good
if you need to actually see.) And when I wondered why there were no
tissues, I was told that they are waiting to find the right box
holder. And, while I’m complaining, a clock, as mundane as it may
seem, would have been helpful.
But those minor annoyances were more than overshadowed by the
hotel’s innovative, fun outlook. And that includes a creative array
of excursions, from helicopter tours of Barcelona ($202), day trips
to wine country or nearby pueblos ($98) to yacht charters (from
$1,400). Those who want to stay in town can join a local chef on a
shopping tour of La Boqueria, the public market, followed by a
cooking class and lunch ($28). And tech-savvy guests can borrow a
GPS system to get around on their own ($7). Sure, there are some
travelers who may not appreciate the ironic appeal of munching on
ceviche or sipping margaritas in Barcelona. But for your clients
who want the newest and trendiest, Hotel Casanova is a perfect
Hotel Casanova is located at Gran Via de les
Corts Catalanes 559, a short walk from Placa Catalunya, Passeig de
Gracia and La Rambla. Rates start at $432.