Edited by: Jessica Merritt
& Juan Ruiz
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After a weekend in Amsterdam, my tour of Europe continued in much warmer Spain, with my first stop at the seaside city of Barcelona.
I’d been to Barcelona a few times before this trip, but my mom, who was still traveling with me, hadn’t been. I was excited to show her around this lively city, take in its famous sights, and enjoy its delicious cuisine.
On previous visits to Barcelona, I’d stayed in numerous accommodations, from hostels to 5-star hotels. The W Barcelona, housed in an iconic sail-shaped glass building directly on the Mediterranean, had always caught my eye.
Lo and behold, the W worked perfectly for this jaunt to the city, and I was eager to check out the property featured prominently in just about every photo of the city you see.
Read on to find out what my stay was like and what you can expect if you book one.
I’ll start off by saying the W Barcelona‘s location can be its biggest drawback, depending on what you’re looking for in a trip to Barcelona.
It’s almost at the tip of the city’s marina area, generally known as “La Barceloneta.” The area is served by buses but not the subway system. If you’re uncomfortable navigating the bus routes, you’ll need to walk about 20 minutes to access the nearest metro stop or take a taxi to the places you want to go.
There are numerous restaurants and shops within a short walk from the hotel, and the upside to this location is that it’s right on the water and the beautiful beachfront promenade that stretches for quite some distance. But if you’re looking to get into the heart of the city to explore, prepare yourself for taking some extra time to get to where you want to go.
We had amazing weather while we were in town, so it was no problem for us to tack on the extra 20 minutes to our walks. And we didn’t mind attempting to walk off all the patatas bravas and croquetas we were eating. But this W is not in a central location for accessing the major sights.
I can see this location being favorable to some people. For example, travelers coming from other European countries (or other areas within Spain) looking for a beachfront getaway at a resort-style property who aren’t as interested in the tourist circuit might love this property’s Mediterranean setting and the beachfront promenade.
At any rate, the hotel is located just about 11 miles from Barcelona El Prat International Airport (BCN), and the journey took about 25 minutes by car with light traffic.
I used Cabify (iOS, Android), a rideshare service popular in Spain, to get a ride from the airport to the hotel, which cost €25 (~$28) one-way. Uber operates in Spain, but I find Cabify to be more reliable and generally a little less expensive.
I got a great deal at the W Barcelona for my mid-April 2023 stay, at least relatively speaking. I had used the large majority of my Marriott Bonvoy points balance on my weekend at the W Amsterdam, so I paid cash for this stay.Hot Tip:
Learn the best ways to earn tons of Marriott Bonvoy points in our complete guide!
During my stay, I paid an average of €310 (~$341) per night, though the rate varied each night. In total, I spent €1,466 (~$1,610) for the stay, including taxes and fees. That’s a considerable amount of money to spend for a hotel, but much better than what I would have paid had I traveled later in the year. Mercifully, there’s no resort fee at this property.
In May, when the European tourist season begins in earnest, base rates creep into the €400-range on the low end and soar to over €1,000 on specific nights.
Had I had Marriott Bonvoy points to use, I would have needed to use 220,000 for the 4 nights, which equates to 55,000 per night. We value Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.7 cents apiece, so 55,000 Bonvoy points are worth about $385; I think I did well to pay cash for my stay even though I didn’t have a choice.
I put my stay on my Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card to earn 6x Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent on purchases at the property. In total, I earned 18,726 Bonvoy points for my stay, inclusive of bonuses I received as a Platinum Elite member.
I had Suite Night Awards in my Bonvoy account thanks to my Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status, and I thought the W Barcelona would be a great place to use them in hopes of getting a larger room with a view of the water.
As soon as I made the reservation, I applied 4 of my Suite Night Awards to my reservation, and a few weeks later, I got an email saying that I had gotten an upgrade — score! But, when I arrived, it didn’t work out as I thought it would.
We arrived in Barcelona on a flight from Amsterdam (AMS) at around 12:30 p.m. on a Sunday. By the time we got to the hotel, it was 1:30 p.m., and we went right to the check-in desk, which surprisingly wasn’t very busy.
The check-in agent was extremely friendly and started running through the hotel’s features as well as the benefits I was entitled to as a Platinum Elite member, which included a 50% bonus points on hotel purchases, “enhanced” room upgrades (subject to availability), and late checkout (4 p.m.).
My favorite perk as a Platinum Elite member is the choice of welcome amenity — I was offered bonus points or complimentary breakfast each morning. I chose breakfast and was looking forward to trying it at this hotel.
The agent then moved on to discussing our room. He noted that he saw that I had used my Suite Night Awards, and said he had a large suite reserved for me. However, he noted that the view wouldn’t be of the water and the city’s beachfront, but rather out into the city. He then explained that he had a room with 2 double beds that had a fantastic view of the beach that he actually recommended more than the suite.
And finally, he explained that he would credit my Suite Night Awards back to my account if I were to choose the lower-level room with the better view.
My mom and I immediately agreed to the room with the better view because, just like in Amsterdam, we weren’t intending to spend a lot of time in the room and preferred the view to the extra space.
Unfortunately, I forgot to check on the return of my Suite Night Awards while I was at the hotel, and as of this writing, they’re not back in my account. I emailed the hotel directly, but if that doesn’t work, I’ll call Marriott customer service to explain the situation and see if they can remedy it.
In contrast to the tiny lobby at the W Amsterdam, where I had stayed just before this property, the W Barcelona had a soaring atrium-style lobby with tons of natural light pouring in from all directions.
There were several check-in desks and a couple of concierge desks toward the right while the elevators were in the center.
In front of the elevators were several “hanging” chairs that were quite fun to sit in, along with a few leather benches and chairs.
To the left of the main lobby area were the hotel’s Fire restaurant, the W Lounge, the W Bar, and the entrance to the WET Deck outside.
Much of the lobby was painted a deep red, which isn’t the first color that would come to mind when thinking about a beachfront hotel, but there was plenty of space and light, so it didn’t feel dark.
The W Barcelona is a resort-style property, so you can expect plenty of amenities — here’s a look at what’s on offer.
There are a total of 3 pools available at the W Barcelona. The 2 main pools are outside, and 1 is indoors within the spa facilities.
The primary pool is outdoors and in the WET Deck area. The deck around the pool is expansive, with several paired loungers set up neatly around the rectangular pool. These were covered in white leather and finished with bright purple towels with “W Hotels” branding.
I loved the pop of color from the towels and the way the bright white chairs contrasted with the dark wood of the deck.
Elsewhere there were numerous daybeds and groups of chairs with tables that groups of people often occupied for drinks and/or snacks.
The WET Deck featured great views of the beach below and the Mediterranean. My mom and I loved sitting by the pool for a couple of hours after breakfast each morning before heading out into the city to explore.
There’s another, smaller pool outside that’s located 1 floor above the WET Deck. It is a beautiful area, with an infinity-edge pool and a number of loungers scattered on the deck. The views from here are perhaps even better, and it’s a much more quiet area than the WET Deck. But, it could be harder to get poolside service as it never looked too crowded, and I’m not sure how frequently staff members checked on guests up there.
Finally, there’s an indoor pool that’s part of a space called “Getaway,” which is part of the spa and designed to be a haven for anyone that’s just had a spa treatment or simply wants to relax in a serene space after a long night out in Spain.
Reservations were required, though I wasn’t aware of that, so I couldn’t check out the space while I was on the property.
This property’s fitness center was open 24/7 on the “E” floor, along with the entrance to the spa.
It was an expansive space with plenty of state-of-the-art equipment and incredible beach and coastline views. It featured floor-to-ceiling glass windows that allowed plenty of light in — an ideal place to get a workout in while on vacation.
The spa at W Barcelona, located on the E floor, is open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. As you’d expect, it offers a wide range of services from massages to facials to nail services. Appointments are required, and any guests of the spa will be able to take advantage of the aforementioned Getaway area for relaxation after any services.
One of these days, I’ll actually book a massage at a hotel that I stay in, but I didn’t have time to squeeze anything in while exploring the city.
For anyone who happens to be traveling with a pet, the W Barcelona has a “Pets Are Welcome” service to accommodate them — as long as they’re 40 pounds or less — for an additional fee. You’ll need to sign a waiver at check-in and be charged an additional nightly fee of €25 (~$28). On top of that, you’ll need to pay a non-refundable €100 fee (~$110), no matter the length of your stay. Service dogs are exempt.
In exchange for the fees, your furry friend will receive the following:
The W Barcelona offered complimentary valet parking, excluding tips. Self-parking was available for €28 (~$31) per day, and the property had 1 electric vehicle charging station available.
Free Wi-Fi was available to all guests throughout the property, though I had trouble staying connected one morning by the main pool. When I first arrived, it was connected with no issue, but I moved to a different lounger and the Wi-Fi completely cut out. It finally came back after a bit of time, and this was the only issue I had with the connection my entire stay, but it was a little odd.
While I didn’t ultimately end up in a large suite, I really liked my room at the W Barcelona, mainly because of the views it offered as well as the general feeling of spaciousness.
The room’s brightness struck me as soon as I opened the door for the first time. A small entry foyer led straight to the large window at the end of the room, providing loads of natural light throughout the space and a fantastic view of the beach below.
To the right, in the foyer, was a wardrobe unit.
One of the cupboards contained the room’s closet space that featured several drawers, a safe, a robe, an iron, and an ironing board.
To the left was another cupboard that housed the room’s minibar area.
There was a shelf with a Nespresso machine, a kettle, coffee pods, tea, and mugs for complimentary use.
Below that was the room’s minifridge with a number of soft drinks and some mini bottles of liquor — all available for purchase.
At the very top were some wine glasses, a bottle opener, a bottle of wine available for purchase, and even some W Barcelona-branded merch (also for purchase).
Moving into the rest of the room, I was impressed by how spacious the room felt, despite it being just an ordinary guest room instead of a suite.
The ceilings were very tall and wide, giving my mom and I plenty of room to spread out with all of our luggage.
I have to note the ocean-inspired blue carpeting — typically I’m not a fan of elements like that but I think it worked quite well in this room. It brought the ocean inside, so to speak.
There were 2 “twin” beds in the center of the room, though, like in Amsterdam, each felt bigger than a twin we’re used to in the U.S. And, also like the W Amsterdam, these beds were extremely comfortable, and I had no trouble sleeping brilliantly. It helped that I had mostly gotten over my jetlag when we arrived in Barcelona.
The beds were accented with a single navy blue leather headboard unit and navy blue leather side tables, each with a Type C power outlet (common in the EU) and 2 USB-A ports. It was easy to keep all my devices charged at this hotel.
Between the beds was a panel for controlling the room’s lighting, as well as another below it that had some that gave away the property’s age, such as a port for an ethernet cable.
Across from the beds was a massive, floor-to-ceiling mirror, as well as a long desk that could be used for working (we used it for storage), a chair, and a large flat-screen TV.
Under the TV was another bar area with larger liquor bottles available for purchase.
And finally, each corner next to the window had seating areas and a small table for drinks or food.
Without a doubt, though, the highlight of the room was the views it provided of Barcelona’s iconic cityscape butting right up to the shores of the Mediterranean. It was especially magical around sunrise and just before sunset.
The bathroom, just like in the W Amsterdam, was mostly integrated into the rest of the guest room, but there was a bit more separation in this room.
There was a clearly demarcated bathroom area, even though it was separated from the sleeping area with a simple curtain that only extended half of the length of the space.
That said, I had no problems with this bathroom at all — and I quite liked it.
The toilet was in its own little room surrounded by frosted glass.
The shower was enormous, with plenty of room to move around. There were 2 showerheads, a removable one and an overhead. The water pressure was a bit lacking — consistent with my experience in many European destinations — but the temperature was great.
I found the same MOMO-branded toiletries as I’ve had in several other W properties, and they were just as good as I found in previous stays.
Finally, there was a single vanity with plenty of extra towels below and a magnification mirror that my mom praised.
There are plenty of places to have a meal or grab a drink at the W Barcelona. Here’s a look at what’s on offer.
FIRE is the W Barcelona’s all-day dining venue that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day of the week.
We had dinner plans each night we were in town, so we only ate breakfast at FIRE, and it was a great experience each morning.
Our breakfast was included thanks to my Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status, and we could enjoy the buffet and order items from the à la carte menu.
The buffet was expansive and should satisfy anyone’s breakfast tastes without issue.
A complete cold-item station featured an array of juices, sparkling wine, water, various kinds of cereal, yogurts, several types of milk, and more.
Next to that was a corner devoted to bread, with baguettes, slices of toast, and rolls available, along with a toaster and any condiments you could want.
As we were in Spain, there was an area with delicious cured meats like Iberian chorizo, salami, jamón Ibérico, and various kinds of cheese, including one of my favorites: manchego.
Of course, there were plenty of pastries to choose from.
I particularly loved the extensive fruit offerings — I always find fruit in Spain to be especially delicious.
Finally, there were numerous hot dishes available, including scrambled eggs, bacon, chicken sausage, grilled tomatoes, grilled mushrooms, and tortilla Española (my personal favorite).
I more or less had a variation of the same plate each morning and enjoyed each breakfast as much as the day before.
FIRE was open for breakfast from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. It’s open for lunch from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. daily and dinner from 7 p.m. to midnight daily.
Guests can order food and drinks from the bar on the WET Deck, which is adjacent to the main pool.
One day, we found ourselves a bit peckish in the early afternoon, so we ordered a plate of patatas bravas (€10 or about $11) to share.
Other food offerings included salads, grain bowls, sandwiches, raw bar items, desserts, and more. And, of course, there’s a full bar to choose from and a menu full of craft cocktails, wine, and beer.
The bar at WET Deck was open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
SALT is a beachfront indoor/outdoor restaurant focusing on Mediterranean tapas dishes and inventive cocktails.
This was our other option for breakfast each day, though we never went, as it was sort of a hike to reach it from the hotel lobby, and we were set in our routine of starting our day out at FIRE.
Plus, it was on the chilly side in the early mornings, and the seating was primarily outdoors for breakfast service at SALT.
The beach club wasn’t set up during my stay, presumably because it wasn’t quite beach season yet in Barcelona, though the outdoor seating looked like it’d be quite a nice place to hang out for a long afternoon lunch.
SALT was open for breakfast from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday and until 11:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For lunch and dinner, it’s open from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Sunday and until midnight on Friday and Saturday.
Located just off the lobby next to FIRE restaurant, W Lounge & W Bar looked like a fun place to get a drink before leaving for a night on the town.
A DJ booth was set up in front of the glass windows, and I noticed a DJ playing each evening, starting from around 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Unfortunately, while there was a lively atmosphere in the late afternoons, I never found the time to sit down for a drink here.
W Lounge & W Bar was open from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday and Sunday. On Friday and Saturday, they were open from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Eclipse is located high in the “sail” portion of the hotel and offered a menu of craft cocktails and Asian-fusion bites.
Unfortunately, Eclipse was closed (and remains so at the time of this writing) for a complete renovation, so I couldn’t check it out during my stay.
Room service was available from 7 a.m. to midnight daily. You can check out the menu online.
Aside from the snafu with my Suite Night Awards, I have nothing but positive things to say about the service I experienced at the W Barcelona.
From the helpful front-desk staff to servers we became friends with at breakfast, I was pleased with how this hotel was run.
We had an issue with the safe in our room, and the front desk sent someone to look at it within minutes. Turns out it was broken, and we needed a new one. However, we were in a bit of a rush to make it to a tour. He “understood the assignment” and found a new safe in under 10 minutes, brought it back up, installed it, and showed us how to use it all before our deadline for leaving.
My mom and I enjoyed our stay at the W Barcelona. The room was bright and had an amazing view, the daily breakfast was excellent, the pool was beautiful, and the service was great.
Despite it being a little bit out of the way if you want to see Barcelona’s sights on foot, I wouldn’t hesitate to stay here again, especially if I can find rates similar to those I found for this stay.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® card, click here.
The W Barcelona is a beachfront property. The sand is just outside of the hotel.
The W Barcelona is located about 11 miles away from Barcelona El Prat International Airport (BCN). It takes about 25 minutes to get to the hotel from the airport in light traffic.
Valet parking is complimentary at the W Barcelona. Self-parking costs €28 (~$31) per day.
Rates vary throughout the year, but you can expect to pay anywhere from €300 (~$332) to over €1,000 (~$1,105) per night.
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