Hotel Om was Barcelona's first contemporary design hotel when it opened in 2003. Surrounded by Gaudi landmarks, its own facade, by Capella Garcia architects, made the property a landmark itself, featuring curved limestone leaves hiding glass Juliet balconies. The Amsterdam-based Sir Hotels group took it over, renovated inside and in May it became the Sir Victor, the nomenclature in honour of Victor Catala, the pen name of important Catalan writer, Caterina Albert i Paradis.
Just off Passeig de Gracia, Antoni Gaudi's Casa Mila and unfinished Sagrada Familia are nearby. But this is a neighbourhood for locals, with ornate buildings along well-planned, wide streets full of businesses, markets, bars and restaurants as well as independent retailers.
A custom-made pool table covered in orange surprisingly doesn't dominate the lobby in which it is installed. But it makes a statement: this is a place of young, sophisticated fun. Everywhere, there's a clever detail such as the colour scheme reflecting Barcelona's position between the mountains and the sea, or oak flooring and earthy textures on an assortment of interestingly shaped furnishings that achieve that rare mix of beauty and comfort. Deep blue and burgundy leather upholstery seems to reference the jewelled hues in the stained glass windows of the city's Gothic churches.
The mezzanine level is a lovely touch; it's a library, dedicated to important women writers.
As a property built in the 21st century, the Sir Victor has that unusual quality for a European hotel: space. My room faces the street and has two of those little balconies, one in the sleeping area, another in the main bath and dressing room. The vibe is mid-century teak, and it's airy, comfortable and functional (mostly – see lowlight below). There are smaller rooms that face into a kind of courtyard with residential apartment blocks on adjoining perimeters. These have shady, large balconies and the rooms themselves are still pretty sizeable.
If you can hold out and eat dinner at Spanish celebrity time, you may see a Barcelona FC player or two holding court in an adjacent booth in the hotel's fashionable restaurant, Mr Porter. With a menu centred around steak – the finest, dry aged from Scotland – there's also a great selection of cold entrees such as a spicy king fish carpaccio served on crispy lotus root. If it's offered, don't miss the white chocolate cheesecake, a gorgeous little dumpling of cheesy goodness covered in edible gold leaf with a jam doughnut-like oozy centre.
Breakfast is next-level, with all the cold cuts and fresh veggies that make the European breakfast buffet great. At €29 for cold buffet, juice buffet, tea and coffee and one a la carte item – such as avocado toast with poached egg – it's not bad value. There's even a bottle of cava (Spanish bubbly) at the ready.
This area is a delight to wander, with shady trees and wide footpaths inviting relaxed exploration. It's also a gay-friendly enclave, with "Gaixample" found nearby, the nickname for the village within a village a play on its proximity to Barcelona's longest street, Eixample. And, of course, you are in Gaudi territory.
I adored this hotel and the access it offered to a part of the city in which I hadn't stayed previously. It's funky, fun and super-cool. Pack your most dope trainers.
Sir Victor: Carrer del Rossello, 265, Barcelona. Rooms from €220 a night. See sirhotels.com
The shower and toilet were in a separate room with no mirror or sink.
he amazing rooftop pool and bar with sublime views of Sagrada Familia and Casa Mila.
Julietta Jameson travelled as a guest of Oceania Cruises and stayed as a guest of the Sir Victor.