New York, NY, May 20, 2005 "“ Last year Spain was hailed by experts as the "food capital" of Europe. This year, those in the know may well christen the country the continent's "design capital" with acclaimed architects like Santiago Calatrava, Peter Eisenman, Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid and César 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 city'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 Gaudi's undulating Casa Milà ("La Pedera") from the roof-top pool and dine on Catalan cuisine at Barcelona'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 Roselló 265, at the corner of the Passeig de Gràcia, the city's trendiest shopping street. Go to 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 city's renowned interior design store Vinçon, and Jordi Tió 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 "relaxation and camaraderie," so it's natural that Tentempié, the self-service cafeteria offers free continental breakfast and hot and cold snacks including salads, sandwiches, fruit and pastries 24 hours a day. The hotel's credo, "the secret to luxury lies in simplicity" is reflected in its no tipping policy, and smoking is only allowed in the outer lobby. Bikes are available free of charge, there's a pillow menu and the roof terrace offers great views of the city. Guest rooms "“ 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 city's famed pedestrian thoroughfare and some of Barcelona's hottest clubs and tapas bars. Doubles cost from $241 to $310 (190-245 euros.) Visit or call: 011-34-933-42-67-80.
A new concept in hospitality design "“ a hotel with its own soul" "“ will be unveiled later this month when the $94 million, 5-star Hotel Puerta América opens in Madrid. Eighteen world renowned architects and designers were invited by the Silken Hotel Group owners to "open guests' minds" and conceive an entire hotel floor. Reading like a who'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 Sofía), the building's façade "“ with retractable blinds that change color "“ is decorated with lines from Paul Eluard's poem "Liberty." The 360-room flagship property will feature a restaurant, lounge, bar, café, an indoor swimming pool, fitness center with sauna, business center and meeting rooms. A 26-foot-long marble slab is the bar in Newson's cocktail lounge and the circular couch in Arad's sixth-floor lobby mimics the round beds in his rooms. The décor of the guest rooms range from soothing to stimulating with Hadid's "flowing landscape" of white undulating seamless surfaces and the Zen luxury of Isozaki's chambers with shoji screens and cedar soaking tubs to Plasma Studio'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 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