Cotton House Hotel Barcelona by Citizen Femme
Housed in the former headquarters of the Fundación Textil Algodonera, the hub of Catalonia’s once booming textile industry, sits the Cotton House Hotel. Bang in the middle Gran Via, the street itself is not the most inviting, but the location, central to the best of Barcelona is impeccable, within walking distance of the Gothic Quarter to the main shopping street.

An unassuming building from the outside with a discreet entrance and 2 potted plants, this landmark building has done incredibly well to maintain the history with which it has been gifted creating modern yet decadent public areas, combining heritage with new. An 1879 landmark building designed by Catalan architect Elies Rogent, Cotton House Hotel comprises of 83 bedrooms only (78 rooms and 5 suites). Redesigned by interior designer Lazaro Rosa-Violan, the architectural features of the building include the original 19th-century parquet floors, wood panelling and ceiling frescos which have been cleverly partnered with modern chandeliers and beautifully upholstered bright coloured-chairs, the main areas filled with mirrors adding space and richness to otherwise dramatic yet elegant areas. A welcoming, comforting and luxurious setting.

Enter into a reception area with high ceilings and floor to ceiling mirrors with stark white cotton couches. Perhaps my favourite feature of the hotel is through to the octagonal lobby where you will find the marble stairs on the left and the spiral stairs from the 50s to the right, both original of course, suspended from the ceiling instead of the floor, and the most photographed part of the hotel.

This leads to the first floor where you will find a grandiose library where you can romanticize about sitting for hours with a good book, and the Batuar restaurant. LA meets Paris meets Miami. An excellent and experimental menu serving Catalan dishes all day long, and a great place for an aperitif or nightcap. Have a bite in this old styled conservatory adorned with rich wood paneling combined with royal purple chairs, or head out to the terrace with palm trees and wicker chairs, read a paper and have a G&T – it doesn’t get better than this. Truly memorable were the bite-sized foie grass balls, wrapped up like Ferrero Rochez and chilled, that simply melt in your mouth. Accompanied by an excellent wine recommendation, I was very content. Breakfast is also served here, an excellent buffet selection of healthy options, fruit and gluten-free, combined with the completely indulgent pink frosted donuts and croissants, and cooked menu options with daily Spanish staples.

Heading to the bedrooms – they have maintained the cotton theme – Cotton, Egyptian, Panama, Madras. I stayed in an Egyptian room, each fitted with the finest 300-thread count Egyptian cotton for its linen and towels. I was unfortunate and victim to bad odours in the first room, but the staff were nothing but pleased to help and moved me to a higher floor. The rooms are a good size at 30 m2 for a quick weekend getaway. Luxurious simplicity and far more minimalistic than the rest of the hotel, with light flooding in through the windows leading onto a small balcony overlooking the Hotel’s inner courtyard. Very comfortable large beds and 50s style lamps sit on the side tables with 50s style furniture in a small seating area and a good amount of wardrobe space.

On top of the writing desk sits a book of sample English shirt fabrics from Thomas Mason where you can tailor your own bespoke shirt. Simply call the concierge, called the ‘Gossypium’, and they will arrange for your measurements to be taken from Santa Eulalia, one of Barcelona’s best tailors (€352 per shirt). In addition, the rooms have Nespresso coffee making facilities, a selection of great mini bar snacks and a bottle of red wine. Bathrooms were a good size with rainshowers, Ortigia products and other helpful bits like toothbrushes and required nail files! The only downside and a personal pet peeve was the terrible hairdryer. Top tip, take your own! Also provided is a daily turn down service with bottles of water.

For some downtime, take a walk to the roof of the building where you will find a small outdoor pool with views of the landmark Sagrada Familia. A gym is also provided and beauty treatments in the adjoining Mayan Spa. Whilst I didn’t try them, the spa was awarded “Best Luxury Spa in Europe” in 2015 by the World Luxury Spa Awards Academy, so it is in good regard that it is worth some pampering. The Concierge/ Gossypium were more than helpful, recommending a favourite, local dining spot Café Alfonso, serving Barcelona’s best tapas and wowing locals since 1934. Another excellent recommendation was hotspot Boca Grande, Barcelona’s place to be for pre-dinner cocktails and dinner. Dress up and wear those red soles, it will match the excellent martini cocktails the mixologists will whip up for you.

If you are looking for a city for a weekend break Barcelona is the place to go. Relaxing, friendly and charming and a city with over 20 Michelin starred restaurants, 8 World Heritage sites, 3 miles of beaches and some of Europe’s best weather. And The Cotton House Hotel is a well-rounded experience for an excellent stay in one of Europe’s coolest cities that has warranted a Citizen Femme stamp of approval.