FUTURISTIC, CASUAL OR ZEN-LIKE COOL
NEW DESIGN HOTELS OPEN IN BARCELONA, MADRID
New York, NY, May 20, 2005 â€“ Last year Spain was hailed by experts as the â€œfood capitalâ€ of Europe. This year, those in the know may well christen the country the continentâ€™s â€œdesign capitalâ€ with acclaimed architects like Santiago Calatrava, Peter Eisenman, Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid and CÃ©sar Pelli putting their signatures on everything from cultural complexes and museum expansions to waterfront restorations and wineries. The opening of several new hotels in Barcelona and Madrid demonstrates there is a hotel for every taste and style, whether it be casually hip, minimalist or radically ahead of its time.
Right in the heart of the cityâ€™s striking modernist Eixample neighborhood, the Hotel Omm is a study in cutting-edge, Zen-like cool. Guests at the 59-room property can enjoy views of Gaudiâ€™s undulating Casa MilÃ (â€œLa Pederaâ€) from the roof-top pool and dine on Catalan cuisine at Barcelonaâ€™s restaurant of the moment, Moo. Designed by architect Juli Capella and interior designers Sandra Tarruella and Isabel Lopez, the Hotel Omm is almost Scandinavian with its simple lines and natural materials. The expansive lobby has oversize leather furniture, hardwood floors and a double-sided fireplace. Diners at Moo Restaurant can gaze into a courtyard filled with a bamboo forest and steel sculptures and put their appetites in the very capable hands of the Roca Brothers who have the two-Michelin starred Cellar de Can Roca in Girona. In addition to the restaurant and pool, the Hotel Omm has a wine bar, the Ommsession Night Club, a reading room, fitness facilities with sauna and Jacuzzi and a business center. In the light-filled guest rooms, a floating screen of polished aluminum separates the bath from the sleeping area. The spacious rooms with king size beds and hardwood oak floors are equipped with TVs and lots of hi-tech gadgetry like CD players and Internet access. Rates for a standard king range from $192 to $378 (150-295 euros) and a superior king from: $352 to $448 (275-350 euros.) The hotel is located at RosellÃ³ 265, at the corner of the Passeig de GrÃ cia, the cityâ€™s trendiest shopping street. Go to www.hotelomm.es or call 011-34-934-45-40-000.
Camper, the trendy footwear company based in Mallorca, has ventured into the hospitality business with the January 2005 opening of its 25-room Casa Camper. Designer Fernando Amat, creator of the cityâ€™s renowned interior design store VinÃ§on, and Jordi TiÃ³ converted a nineteenth century building into a casually hip boutique hotel with the Camper ethic of good basic design, a bit of color and friendly service. Casa Camper aims to promote â€œrelaxation and camaraderie,â€ so itâ€™s natural that TentempiÃ©, the self-service cafeteria offers free continental breakfast and hot and cold snacks including salads, sandwiches, fruit and pastries 24 hours a day. The hotelâ€™s credo, â€œthe secret to luxury lies in simplicityâ€ is reflected in its no tipping policy, and smoking is only allowed in the outer lobby. Bikes are available free of charge, thereâ€™s a pillow menu and the roof terrace offers great views of the city. Guest rooms â€“ decorated in the red, white and black Camper colors have sitting rooms and bedrooms (separated by the main corridor that runs along each floor) with extra-wide beds, open-faced wardrobes, slate floors, walk in showers and complimentary jelly slippers. Located in the newly trendy barrio of El Raval and just across the square from the Richard Meier-designed Museum of Contemporary Art, the hotel is steps from the Ramblas, the cityâ€™s famed pedestrian thoroughfare and some of Barcelonaâ€™s hottest clubs and tapas bars. Doubles cost from $241 to $310 (190-245 euros.) Visit www.camper.com or call: 011-34-933-42-67-80.
A new concept in hospitality design â€“ a hotel with its own soulâ€ â€“ will be unveiled later this month when the $94 million, 5-star Hotel Puerta AmÃ©rica opens in Madrid. Eighteen world renowned architects and designers were invited by the Silken Hotel Group owners to â€œopen guestsâ€™ mindsâ€ and conceive an entire hotel floor. Reading like a whoâ€™s who of contemporary design, the team included: Jean Nouvel, Javier Mariscal, Richard Gluckman, Sir Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid, John Pawson, Christiane Liaigre, Arata Isozaki, Kathryn Findlay, Marc Newson, Ron Arad, Victorio & Lucchino and Plasma Studio. Designed by Nouvel (who just completed the dramatic expansion of the Reina SofÃa), the buildingâ€™s faÃ§ade â€“ with retractable blinds that change color â€“ is decorated with lines from Paul Eluardâ€™s poem â€œLiberty.â€ The 360-room flagship property will feature a restaurant, lounge, bar, cafÃ©, an indoor swimming pool, fitness center with sauna, business center and meeting rooms. A 26-foot-long marble slab is the bar in Newsonâ€™s cocktail lounge and the circular couch in Aradâ€™s sixth-floor lobby mimics the round beds in his rooms. The dÃ©cor of the guest rooms range from soothing to stimulating with Hadidâ€™s â€œflowing landscapeâ€ of white undulating seamless surfaces and the Zen luxury of Isozakiâ€™s chambers with shoji screens and cedar soaking tubs to Plasma Studioâ€™s hallway of buckling floors with metal fragments hanging from the ceiling and walls. Each floor will have junior suites comprised of a sitting room, bedroom and two bathrooms and there will be 12 suites on the 12th floor. Rates for a deluxe double start at $270 (214 euros). Visit www.hotelpuertamerica.com or call 011-34-902-36-36-00.
For further information about Spain, contact the Tourist Office of Spain, at 1-212-265-8822 or www.okspain.org