There is simply no better way to recover from a grueling transatlantic flight (which included a change of planes and hour-long layover in an empty, closed-up airport in Madrid at 7am, thank you very much!) than checking into a Club room at the Hotel Arts in Barcelona. We were ushered up to the 33rd floor of this glass-and-metal high-rise, and greeted with ''what would you like to drink'' and ''which table would you like to sit at?'' while we checked in. Our drinks were brought to a cozy table overlooking a marina on the Mediterranean sea, and as we sipped our bracingly strong coffee and grazed at the buffet teeming with cheeses, cereals, pastries, and made-to-order strawberry pancakes, our bags were brought to our room.
The room itself was beautifully presented, with a red rose on the turned-down bed and muted classical music playing on a Bang & Olufson stereo. Checking into a hotel has never been so relaxing.
The Club Floor has its own restricted access lounge, with ocean and city views and a full-time concierge, not to mention five different daily buffets: breakfast, mid-morning snack, afternoon tea and cakes, pre-dinner tapas, and evening cocktails and chocolate - all served with an assortment of drinks, including unlimited Veuve Clicquot champagne. One need never leave the hotel - or pay for a meal, while staying in a Club Room.
The concierges, though unfailingly polite, occasionally disappointed. One offered to make us a 2pm lunch reservation, but called back to tell us that since 2pm was ''early'', a reservation would not be needed, and we could just show up. When we did, the restaurant was closed, with a sign outside stating that they only serve dinner.
Note: room rates depend on the season. Call ahead!