It was the flowers I noticed first -- a fanciful and clever profusion of arrangements in a mulitude of style and colors, the likes of which I have never seen quite before. The floral art throughout the hotel changed a few times during our stay and never failed to startle in a pleasant way.
After our early-morning arrival, we waited for check-in behind a rather tedious line of cruise passengers arriving on overnight flights from America. My room was not ready, but I was escorted to the veranda on the second level.
What? Another sight for sore eyes, the Frank Gehry designed "bronze fish" three stories tall overlooking the Mediterranean ocean. Fresh herbs bloomed in the little patches of terrace separating the pool, dining rooms and cafes. The entire rooftop landscape was accomplished with a similar flair to the earlier admired flowers.
When shown to our room, we found the stylish decor minimalistic but most utterly comforting in the cool colors and neutral tones of "hush, do not disturb."
We stayed at the Hotel Arts for ten days and really enjoyed every minute of it. The concierges were extremely helpful as I had many travel plans to secure and reorganize during my time there. They often placed the calls themselves, as even though Barcelona is Spanish, the language is Catalan and even though everyone speaks Spanish and some English, they respond better to Catalan.
Later at the wine/cigar bar we discovered a favorite concoction or two. In this setting we continued to be entertained throughout our stay by the international clientele and the attentive staff who always brought nuts and snacks with every drink.
Tea time in the lobby cafe is a royal treat with harpists strumming and murmuring multi-lingual conversations in the background.
It was only a $4 taxi ride to the Ramblas, Pasea de Gracia, the Old City or the Wharfside. With a wonderful view from the 30th floor overlooking the Olympic Village and the sea to one side and the entire city of Barcelona stretching to the mountains on the other, we felt we had found a truly comfortable spot to roost.
The Hotel Artes is a Ritz-Carlton association and seems to capture the eccentric, fanciful and beautiful flavor of the city of Barcelona.