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In case you have not been reading news about Spain as of late, let me tell you that Spain’s economy is not doing well. Unemployment is high and the government is cutting social services left and right. Money is tight, construction has halted and times are tough. This is why it is somewhat surprising that several four and five-star hotels will open their swank doors this year. While it’s questionable how much business they will be doing in 2012, it’s a blessing that these hotels are debuting because they are providing much-needed jobs to locals. Here are a few unique hotels to keep an eye on this year.
Hotel Do Placa ReialA short stroll away from the Liceu Opera House, Boqueria Market, Gothic Quarter, Placa Catalunya, Palau de la Musica and Palau Guell, Hotel Do Placa Reial has the right location for top Barcelona sights. A Boutique Gastronomic Hotel, Do features “locavore” foods from Catalonia at its La Cuina Restaurant and at La Terrassa, an outdoor eatery. The hotel’s 18 plush rooms were decorated by local designer Lázaro Rosa Violán and have views of Placa Reial and the Ramblas. The hotel, which opened in February, also has a petite rooftop pool, a small spa and an intimate lobby bar. Plans for a third restaurant, serving Mediterranean seafood dishes, are in the works for summer 2012. www.hoteldoreial.com
Iberostar Gran MenceyLocated in the Atlantic on Tenerife Island, this five-star property got a “nip and a tuck” and reopened last year. In downtown Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the hotel’s 261 rooms have garden and urban views and some have balconies or terraces ideal for relishing in Tenerife’s temperate climate. Guests at Gran Mencey can sip regional wines in its two bars, dine at Los Menceyes restaurant, meander through the gardens, swim in the pool and unwind at the state-of-the-art spa. Gran Mencey is part of Iberostar, a Spanish hotel group with luxury resorts all over the Iberian Peninsula as well as many international destinations. www.iberostar.com
Jumeirah Port SollerIn April, the Jumeirah Group made its mark on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca with its newest, high-end 120-room hotel, Jumeirah Port Soller. Set on the cliffs above Port Soller, the family-friendly property has all the ingredients for a deluxe holiday including a Talise spa and wellness center, two restaurants, four bars, two pools and a pirate-themed day club for the kids. www.jumeirah.com
Catalonia FiraDesigned by architects Ribas & Ribas and Jean Nouvel, the 26-story Catalonia Fira will open across the street from Barcelona’s newest convention center in June. At 360 feet high, this will be one of the most towering hotels in the city, offering spectacular views of the city and the sea. With a twin tower design and a vertical palm garden, this four-star property offers 357 rooms, a panoramic restaurant on the 14th floor, a spa and a rooftop terrace with a 65-foot-long pool. www.hotelcataloniafira.com
Mas TinellIn hopes of highlighting the Catalan wine region of Penedes, Mas Tinell will open in the fall of 2012 when the grapes are ripe on the vine. Mas Tinell vineyard has been producing award-winning brut reserva cavas and chardonnays for 20 years and will now try its hand at the hospitality business.
Very boutique, its 10 standard rooms and one sumptuous suite are set in an imaginative building that resembles wine bottles. Owner Manuel Valderrama of Olivia Hotels has invested more than $5 million in the new five-star property. www.mastinell.com/hotel/habitaciones