“A perfect boutique hotel: stylish and romantic rooms, creative and delicious gastronomic food & a small spa”
We loved Hotel DO's beautiful rooms. Light-flooded, high-ceilinged and spacious, most have old wooden beams and French windows looking onto the square or over to Las Ramblas. There are various categories according to size, but all feel remarkably quiet considering the location. The Junior Suite, with an elegant four-poster, was our favourite, but we would have been very happy with any of the smaller rooms we saw; there's no such thing as a dud room here. Expect modern art and quirky headboards, Egyptian cotton bedlinen, colourful rugs, and rollered leather Mies van der Rohe chairs in the biggest rooms.
The well-travelled owners (a family from Catalonia) wanted to make their hotel extra special, so they added lots of lovely little touches: really good hairdryers, a free minibar of soft drinks, enormous wardrobes with wooden hangers and umbrellas, and a little stationary set in the Suites. Bathrooms are decadent throughout, with wooden flooring, massive walk-in rain showers (some also have tubs), Molton Brown toiletries, thick robes and slippers.
Honeymooners should splurge on El Terrat, a rooftop room with a plunge pool on its private terrace and views over the Gothic Quarter. If you're coming with kids, ask for the Junior Suite and Standard that interconnect.
Memories of our meal at La Cuina, the underground restaurant with its graceful brick arches, will stay with us for some time. It was, quite simply, one of the best meals we've ever had; amazing produce married with immense creativity and flair. There are loads of tempting à la carte options, but in the end we went for the tasting menu. Although it's not cheap, it's terrific value for the parade of endless dishes that come to your table (many of them surprise amuse bouches, such as a frozen Caesar's salad).
There was lightly roasted lobster with mustard foam; suckling lamb terrine; sea cucumbers with swiss chard and ham essence. Standout, though, was the no-rice mushroom risotto (mushrooms are minutely chopped so it looks like a risotto), which had a beautiful depth of flavour. Green-tea ice cream with chestnut was our first dessert; a nitro tart of cocoa nibs, milk snow and banana ice cream followed. Unfortunately we were so full we could only nibble at the petit fours - mini Magnums, macaroons and cakes, all really dainty and tasting exquisite. Service was warm and knowledgeable, formal but not stiff, and the wine cellar is vast.
For something more simple, there's La Terrassa, Hotel DO's tapas and Mediterranean restaurant, inspired by seasonal, market-fresh produce. We didn't eat here but the menu looked good - Galician veal burger, fresh sardines, salt-cod stew with ratatouille - and tables are alfresco on the side of the Plaça Reial, facing the magnificent Three Graces by Gaudí. Breakfast (said to be excellent) is served up on the roof terrace when it's warm enough, and included in the rates for i-escape guests. Expect pastries, homemade jams and various cooked options.
Barcelona is lined with great restaurants if you want a change of scene. We enjoyed an excellent meat and fish barbecue at Japanese restaurant Carlota Akaneya, a 10-minute walk away.
Families are welcome. Children aged 0-2 stay for free in a baby cot or in their parents' bed; there is a supplement charge for older children in an extra bed. There are no specific facilities for children, but reception can arrange babysitting.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
The Junior Suites can fit a rollaway bed; the smaller rooms can fit a baby cot. There is a Junior Suite and Standard which interconnect.