Design Destination: Cotton House, Where Old And New Spanish Style Intersect
Barcelona offers design lovers a unique and arresting mix of old and new.  In this ancient Spanish city, the architecture of Antonio Gaudi and the Romans, the middle ages and modernism meet -- to stunning effect.  At the Cotton House, a new hotel from the Autograph Collection of hotels, a division of Marriott Interational that celebrates individuality, artist-turned-interior designer Lazaro Rosa-Violan underlines this juxtaposition for a boutique hotel that emphasizes the best of Spain.

Rosa-Violan has transformed the 19th century landmark building, the former site of the Association of Cotton Manufacturers, into a visually rich space with a sense of history and a touch of humor.  The 83 room hotel -- including 12 suites -- is a treat for the senses and includes 24 hour room service for guests eager to enjoy Spain's legendary late night life.  The original architectural details have been preserved, including the building's beautiful spiral staircase.  Built in 1957, it is not supported by the floor below, but hangs, suspended. from the metal frame of the upper floor, a feat of engineering.

Guests are welcomed through a beautiful covered hall of mirrors which leads to a magnificent octagonal hall with two sweeping staircases.  An elegant library, a restaurant and a cocktail bar, a light-filled conservatory, a lushly landscaped terrace and a rooftop pool complete the picture.

Of course, given the hotel's name and heritage, the beds are dressed in finest and most luxurious 300 thread count cotton sheets.  Plush towels and honeycomb bathrobes and slippers wrap guests in comfort and softness and organic products from Ortiga, made with ingredients sourced in the Mediterranean, caress their skin and hair.

Located in the Eixample District, a coveted area of the city that includes many Modernist buildings and a grid pattern of streets designed to maximize sunlight, ventilation and visibility, the hotel is a ten minute walk from la Pedrera and Casa Batlló, two reknowned buildings by Gaudi.  La Boqueria, the city's famed marketplace, is also a short stroll from the hotel.  While you can't bring jamon iberico, Spain's famed ham, into the US, Vincon sells blow up hams as well as other knick knacks, to bring back for your friends.  Check out the secondhand bookstalls near Sant Antoni on a Sunday morning before heading to breakfast or settle in for a cocktail at ElsTres Tombs later in the day.  With five restaurants in the Albert Adria empire in town, satisfying your inner molecular gastronomist shouldn't be a problem.  To tide yourself over until dinner time -- Spaniards really do eat dinner at 10 pm -- try La Cova Fumada in Barcelona's port area for the best potato cakes in the city.