Upon entering the lobby of the Ohla Eixample in Barcelona and heading to the check-in desk, travellers are offered a glass of cava. It is a simple gesture, but an appreciated one; after any wearying length of time in transit, a little bubbly does just the trick.
It also sets the tone for a truly refined experience.
Opened in 2016, this Kiwi Collection hotel is charming and contemporary. The modest lobby is chic and minimal, with concrete flooring, angular seating with pops of deep red, and familiar Bocci lights hanging from the ceiling. Newspapers ready for the reading are laid out on a long wooden table, along with the aforementioned cava, sitting on ice and awaiting its next opportunity to shine. Just beyond that is the lobby bar, a casual place to grab a cappuccino or a martini.
Moving past the lounge, glass doors reveal a stairway up to a secluded patio, where it would be easy to sit and nurse a second glass of chilled white wine. Still, the real draw for outdoor space is the rooftop infinity pool and terrace, which gives a great overview of the city from above. Cushions are laid out in the sun, and a waiter is on hand to bring cold drinks and snacks.
If it’s time for more of a proper meal, a delicious buffet breakfast is served in the restaurant that is entered from the lobby. A mix of hot items and charcuterie, along with yogurt and pastry, means pretty much any appetite can be satiated. For dinner, the restaurant becomes Xerta, which was awarded a Michelin star in 2017. Take the exciting chef’s journey by ordering the multi-course tasting menu with accompanying wine pairings. A simple tomato salad is made stimulating with different balsamic vinegars and olive oils self-served from squeeze tubes; risotto is delightfully dark thanks to flavourful squid ink; and fish of the day is moist and fresh. This is fine dining, to be sure, but it is also friendly and inviting. Food is meant to be fun, and it is here.
The hotel’s location in the Eixample district means it is easy to find a satisfying aperitif; a short wander in either direction will take explorers to a plethora of welcoming restaurants, all outfitted with typical outdoor seating (ask the concierge for some informative suggestions). There is the tapas bar Cu-Cut, trendy and full of life; or the intimate Italian restaurant Bronzo. Whether ordering cava or a negroni, your choice is decidedly the right one.
When it’s time to finally fall into bed, the Ohla Eixample’s Attic room is delightfully comfortable and spacious, complete with terrace, rainfall shower, and calming ceramic walls. And good luck not indulging in the mini bar, where one might find some paprika Pringles—a staple flavour in this part of the world.
If heading out and about, perhaps to the city’s Gothic Quarter, stop at the hotel’s sister property, simply called the Ohla Barcelona, for a drink on its equally enthralling patio. There are comfortable booths to sit back in while taking in the heart-stopping view of Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia and sipping on a passionfruit cocktail.
Barcelona’s charms are caked onto windows and wedged between cobblestones. It’s a steady build, but a powerful one—secrets reveal themselves the more time is spent. Mysteries are uncovered. And at the Ohla Eixample, it all feels within reach.
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