The hotel W Barcelona, also known as “Hotel Vela” for its sail shape as well indicates the name. It is a building 98.8 meters high although its initial height was 179 meters. Designed by the Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill, it is part of the expansion of the southern area of the port of Barcelona. It is part of the Marriott International hotel chain.
Its construction was controversial, and various associations denounced the illegality of this project, since it involves the privatization of land in the public domain. From the same has been asking for the demolition of the building for not respecting the Law of coastal protection, since it is 20 meters from the water and in port facilities.
At the time of its presentation the project had a tower in the form of a candle that reached 168 meters, but the city council forced the architect to modify the project so as not to alter the silhouette of Barcelona that should be crowned by the two towers of the Vila Olympic, so when it was inaugurated, on October 1, 2009, it was 98.8 meters high, consisting of 26 floors and 473 rooms in total (67 suites between them).
It is just a 20-minute walk from the Barceloneta metro station and buses 17, 39 and 64 stop in front of the hotel.
Mapfre Tower is one of the tallest skyscrapers in Spain and the first in Catalonia with the Hotel Arts of equal height, both built in 1992 for the Olympic Games in Barcelona. It is located next to the beach and the Olympic Port of Barcelona, on the seafront and are part of the Vila Olímpica del Poblenou.
The building measures 154 meters high with 40 floors, visible from the entire city and 44,000 m² of surface. The windows of the skyscraper reflect the floor, with which it acquires the aspect of a gigantic mirror. On the ground floor there is a shopping center. The tower is mainly occupied by the offices of MAPFRE, one of the largest insurance companies in Spain, although it also houses offices of other companies. On the roof there is a heliport, visible only from the air, only for emergencies.
The Hotel Arts is one of the most luxurious hotels in Barcelona. Located in one of the towers that crowns the Olympic Port, next to its neighbor Mapfre Tower with the same height, it was built between 1991 and 1992 for the 1992 Olympic Games. It has 44 floors and is 154 meters high.
Its exterior structure of steel and glass and its imposing appearance, designed by Bruce Graham, allow you to guess a spacious and open interior, as well as the most spectacular views of the port and the sea. It is a glass tower of green and gray colors, surrounded by a white iron structure, designed by the Colombian architect Bruce Graham, owned by Deutsche Bank and headquarters of a luxurious five-star hotel of the Ritz-Carlton chain, which It opened its doors in 1994. It also integrates 30 luxury apartments that occupy the last nine floors. The hotel is home to half a dozen restaurants, including chef Sergi Arola’s. In the basement of the tower there are several entertainment venues, including the Casino de Barcelona.
In front of the south facade of the tower stands the sculpture of a large Golden Fish, the work of Frank Gehry, another of the emblematic elements of the building’s surroundings.
The Golden Fish has become one of the symbols of post-Olympic Barcelona, it seems to float on the Mediterranean. The sun is reflected on the golden scales of this fish-shaped sculpture that dominates the seafront of the Olympic port and the beaches of Barcelona.
It was built in 1992 by the Canadian architect Frank Gehry as an iconic element of the area facing the Olympic Games of Barcelona, it is 56 meters long and 35 meters high, located on the Barceloneta seafront, at the foot of the Torre Mapfre and Hotel Arts. The animal seems to want to jump into the blue Mediterranean sea on which it climbs, in fact with the contrast with the blue of the sky gives the feeling that is in the sea.
The sculpture is formed from a large golden framework of fine stainless steel lines supported on a metallic structure: a soft and subtle shape, marked by the intensity of its golden color. It is the result of the play of solar rays on this skin, which, depending on the intensity of the light, becomes a scale and accentuates the organic form of this great piece. Visible from the beach of Barceloneta and the Olympic Port, the Peix is already a consolidated icon of the city.
Next to the Golden Fish, there is another sculpture also by Frank Gehry, it is a sphere that seems to be about to fall from its pedestal, almost suspended in the air. It still does not have its own name and represents the perfection of geometry and its fragile and safe ordering.
Entering Port Vell is another attraction of these outings. The modern port of Barcelona has been perfectly integrated in this city. The largest and most modern cruise ships visit the city every day, and mix with the mega yachts of the One Ocean, right next to the most genuine Barceloneta, where you can still get lost in its narrow streets with the clothes extended in its balconies and find pubs where excellent tapas are served.
We can not forget the “when”. Barcelona has many faces throughout the year and the day: calm dawns that will seduce us by its brightness, and reddish sunsets, with many reflections dismissed from the mountain of Montjuic where the sun wants to hide. The garbí, the thermal wind that usually accompanies the days in Barcelona is disappearing little by little, and as the saying goes: “The garbí at night goes to sleep”. Enjoy the sunsets in Barcelona aboard a catamaran and a good glass of cava is something that we keep in our retina for a long time.
The Barcelona is skyline fashionable! We are reminded every day by the multitude of tourists who visit it and the increasingly European who decide to fix their residence here after being seduced by its charm. Few cities can boast such a complete offer: mild Mediterranean climate, wide and rich cultural offer, creative architecture mix of Gothic and Modernism, and a cuisine that fits perfectly with its landscape between the sea and the mountains.
In Barcelona everything is “at hand”. It has the services and cultural offer of a large European city but without the hassles of big cities. We can go by public transport to any of its beaches, where we can spend a pleasant day taking a bath in crystal clear waters and beaches with all the necessary services.
What will we see?
When we go sailing we can contemplate a different image and skyline of the city. We quickly perceive that mixture of modernity and tradition in its architecture: from the Agbar tower to Montjuïc, passing through the Sagrada Família, the Mapfre towers, the W hotel, the Columbus monument, the Port Vell, or the three chimneys of the Paral·lel , among many.