Only in architecturally adventurous Barcelona would one find a downtown grand hotel in a style like this; the Claris is a postmodern mélange of the modern and the classic, visible from a glance at the exterior-the 18th-century shell of the Verdruna Palace remains, but it’s as though the palace’s roof has been removed, and the taller, narrower, modern metal-and-glass Hotel Claris dropped in from above.
Obviously anything but your typical chain hotel, the Claris is owned by the art collector Jordi Clos, who has outfitted the hotel’s first floor with a collection of pre-Columbian artworks, and placed Egyptian carvings, Turkish kilims and Hindu sculptures in the guest rooms. The reception is adorned with a fifth-century Roman mosaic, and the restaurant, East 47, is hung with original Warhol lithographs.
Top marks for art and architecture, to be sure, but the hotel’s no less impressive; guest rooms are floored with polished hardwood, and rakish modern lamps and sofas sit alongside 18th-century English antiques. The rooftop is home to an outdoor pool and a terrace restaurant with panoramic views of the city, and East 47’s cuisine is fine enough you may not even notice the art collection. Naturally, this place is a favorite for visiting arts and media stars, but it’s eminently suitable for all sorts of business-in fact we’d like to imagine a world where this is the business hotel standard, with not a beige carpet or floral bed cover to be found.
Pau Claris 150, Barcelona