Barcelona's Cotton House Hotel: Lively Sesign In An Architectural Landmark
It’s not uncommon to find a store selling clothing in a large city hotel but at The Cotton House Hotel in Barcelona, part of the Autograph Collection, L’Atelier on the second floor goes far beyond that. In the ornate, traditionally decorated salon, a choice of cottons and collars hints at the selection of tailoring available by the city’s famous tailor Santa Eulalia on site. But it’s more than just a guest amenity: it’s a reference to the neoclassical 19th century building’s history as the Fondacion Textil Algodonera, the Cotton Textile Foundation and an exemplary case of a redesigned landmark. It opened as a luxury hotel in the center of town last year.

The first thing you notice when you enter, though, isn’t the architecture—that comes later—it’s the platter of bite-sized opera cake as a welcome, a very effective choice.  Then you see the circular staircase with suspended globes of light, the imposing main marble staircase, the parquet floors and frescoed ceilings of the grand salons into which designer Lazaro Rosa-Violan has inserted modern touches such as contemporary furniture in white and bright blue leather. The rooms and suites are also generally white and modern, blending traditional and cutting edge.  Somehow it all works.

In good weather, most of the guests are upstairs on the plant decked terrace or around the rooftop pool. The terrace is an adjunct of the restaurant Batuar, named for the machine that pressed cotton to eliminate its impurities, and featuring an international/Mediterranean menu ranging from Spain’s classic croquettes to oxtail cannelloni with truffle béchamel and salmon sashimi with beet, radish and lemon emulsion. Since the restaurant is tucked away, residents weren’t originally aware of it given all of the choices in Barcelona but apparently after Mark Zuckerberg was reported to have had dinner with the singer Shakira there earlier this year, attendance briskly picked up. It also helps that the hotel has a very convenient location on the Gran Via:  Paseo de Gracia and its luxe designer boutiques and Gaudi masterpieces Casa Batllo and La Pedrera are just a few minutes walk away.