PHOTOGRAPHY BY GAYLETTER
A night at El Palauet, Barcelona
A hotel for people with good taste and fat wallets.
The Spanish city of Barcelona, with a population of 1.6 million, is super gay friendly. In fact, behind Germany, Spain is the most fag friendly country in the world. You certainly get the sense, not just from their love of Almodovar movies, that it’s a very laid back, friendly place. Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be featuring a few of the places we visited on our trip.
First up is the El Palauet in the suburb of Gràcia. It’s one of the most luxurious places we’ve ever been. The hotel manager wouldn’t tell me what celebrities had stayed there, but I’m sure I’ve seen an Instagram of Rihanna smoking a blunt in a double-denim-midriff-baring outfit on one of the same couches we had in our suite. And when I say “suite” I’m not exaggerating. Honestly they should be called apartments, cos they’re that big. Ours had an entry way, full kitchen, dining room, living room, 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms with walk-in closets. Then there was the chromo showers, Japanese toilets (they came with a menu of options) and full balcony overlooking the Passeig de Gràcia.
There’s no need to dial ‘0’ to reach the front desk when you need something at the El Palauet. Every guest is given access to a personal assistant who’s available to assist you 24 hours a day. Whenever we called our assistant Christian his response would always be the same: “I’ll be up in 5 minutes.” Didn’t matter if all we needed was a suggestion for a restaurant, or to ask how to turn on the TV, every time he’d appear at our door in 5 minutes as promised.
While we’re totally away not everyone can afford to stay at the El Palauet (rooms start at around $700 a night) if ever there was a place to splurge on (even for a night) this is it. We chatted with Lorna from the hotel to give us a little more info about the place.
How long has the El Palauet been open? El Palauet opened its suites to the public at the end of December 2009.
Can you tell me about the history of the building? The Bonaventura Ferrer family commissioned the architect Pere Falqués to build their family home which we use today as El Palauet. On the Tinell floor (lower ground) was the kitchen, the cellars and the servant’s living quarters. The rooms on the ground and first floor were the main rooms of the house where the family received their guests and enjoyed family time. Where the suites are now, were the family’s bedrooms. After being a family home the building was separated into private homes and offices. Finally, since 2007 the former living rooms were converted into spaces for private events and from the end of December 2009 the suites were opened.
You use the word “tolerant” a lot on your website when talking about the place. What does that mean to you guys? It’s our motto and it’s our way of describing the city.
“THE FAMOUS TOLERANT AND VIBRANT SPIRIT OF BARCELONA IS WAITING FOR YOU!”
Is Barcelona a tolerant city towards gays? Barcelona is a very cool and very gay friendly city, in fact Barcelona Pride week took place just last week!
Do you consider the place a hotel, it seems a lot more than that? We like our clients to feel completely at home when they stay at El Palauet and so we pride ourselves on a personalized experience. We enjoy going the extra mile for all our guests and that is one of the things that keeps them coming back again and again.
Who designed the place? The El Palauet Living Barcelona team.
I loved the chromo shower, Can you tell me about one of your favorite features of the hotel? For our Director, Jana Santamaria, one of her favorite things is how Modernist design is integrated in the building, like the carved wooden stairs, the chandelier which has 17000 Bohemian crystals combined with the up to date technology and the more modern materials. In the suites she loves the small details such as the peephole which is on the suite doors, made by artisan designers of the 21st Century is a replica of the original peephole in the access doors on the staircase. She also loves the terrace in the Principal Paseo de Gracia suite, having breakfast, first thing in the morning overlooking Passeig de Gràcia on that terrace is just bliss. In the Tibidabo suites she is head over heels about the original stained glass windows in the living room which give the suite a special quality.
Welcome to the chromo shower. Chromotherapy is a “complementary medicine“ method. Trained chromotherapists claim to be able to use light in the form of color to “balance energy wherever a person’s body be lacking, whether it be on physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental levels.” I didn’t know chromo showers existed before my visit to the El Palauet, and while it didn’t make me want to rush out and install one in my apartment, it was very relaxing. Above is me in my green phase.
Every room gets a personal assistant, what are some of the strangest requests they have been asked to do? The personal assistants have had many difficult, sometimes almost impossible requests but there haven’t been any really strange ones.
Can you tell me about the neighborhood the hotel is in? The hotel is located on Passeig de Gràcia, originally built to connect the old town with the village of Gràcia it is now one of the main shopping streets in Barcelona and the perfect street for luxury shops. Passeig de Gràcia is also home to La Pedrera and Casa Batlló, two of Gaudí’s most famous works and the ornate lampposts were designed by the same architect who designed El Palauet, Pere Falqués. To the north of the hotel is the Gràcia neighborhood. Once an independent village it’s now part of the city but still with its own distinct feel. Gràcia is perfect to explore as there aren’t many tourists or many crowds and in our, slightly biased, opinion, it is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Barcelona.