On the eastern side of Barcelona’s Montjuïc hill is a steep cliff, offering a commanding panorama of the city. It is also the setting of an artistically restored palace, Hotel Miramar.
Steeped in Catalan history, Hotel Miramar’s building was originally a royal endeavour. First designed and built in 1929 by the renowned architect Ramon Raventós and promptly inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII, the palace was consequently the setting of graceful balls and banquets. Then, a change of scene, quite literally, when from 1959-1983 the Spanish Television studios moved in to inhabit the space. Finally, after more than twenty years lying empty, celebrated architect Óscar Tusquets recuperated the primary elegance and splendour of the building and in 2006 Hotel Miramar came into being. Tusquets retained the original facade of the prestigious palace, as well as the sumptuous proportions of the public spaces, but added his own flair of avant-garde décor to create a unique five stay urban hideaway.
The hotel grounds are equally impressive, where you can bask in sunshine on deckchairs by the swimming pool, or enjoy an intimate meal at a nearby table surrounded by natural beauty.
If you’re in need of more tranquillity, find your way to the hotel’s peaceful L’Occitane spa which offers an extensive treatment menu, infused with the brand’s sweet-smelling products, such as the Lavander Soothing Massage and the Shea Ultra-Moisturizing Body Wrap. Regardless of your chosen treatment, you are welcomed with a footbath performed with L’Occitane effervescent sugar cubes.
Given its size, you might expect Hotel Miramar to boast twice as many rooms as its modest collection of 75 bedrooms (and a grand suite). As such, you’re treated to a vast space, with an enormous bed and walk in shower. The real indulgence though is through the balcony doors, where you'll find a terrace so large, it boasts two sunbeds, a dining table and chairs, with still plenty of room to spare. This space is your private window to the sea, where you can people-watch to your heart’s content.
Most recently famous for being the location of many of the 1992 Summer Olympic games, the mountain of Montjuïc is a marvel, offering views of exceptional beauty. From the hotel grounds you can sneak into unique retreats such as the Patio de los Naranjos (the orange trees from which the court takes its name were planted in the 15th century), and the Garden of Tipuanas which offers the best viewpoints over the city.
Nearby you can visit the Fundació Joan Miró, a modern art museum celebrating the works of Joan Miró. After taking in the culture it’s off to the well-heeled district of El Poble-Sec to experience the nightlife of Barcelona’s answer to Soho.
Our obsession with the private terrace forced us to opt for room service over making our way to the Forestier restaurant, where the menu is an assortment of local market cuisine and experimental dishes. Making sure to sample the best of land and sea, we savoured Wagyu Steak Tartare and Bluefin Red Tuna. The bottle of cava in the ice bucket was our dessert.
Enjoying breakfast in the restaurant the next day, we could appreciate why the Forestier is named as such – it presides over the beautiful Jardines Forestier. Despite being a hotel restaurant, tables are popular with the locals as this is one of the few places in Barcelona where you can relish a meal while taking in the city views all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.
In a Nutshell
Staying at Hotel Miramar makes you feel as though you’re presiding over city and sea in your own secret palace. Old-school grandeur and modern design results in a luxury base from which to explore Barcelona (unless you’re too attached to your private terrace to leave).
Rooms cost from £155 per night.
Words by Gemma Brandler