When you step inside the Cotton House Hotel, you step into another world; into a world of shiny marble, high ceilings, dark wood, books and fabrics. The final blow comes from the lingering scent of cotton which sweeps you a hundred years back; to the times of curious travellers, to the times of explorers.
And the Cotton House Hotel is, indeed, a good starting point for your expeditions in Barcelona, a city whose wealth grew hand in hand with the cotton industry. The house was built in the 19th-century’s neoclassical style, commissioned by the wealthy Boada family. In 1957, the house was acquired by the Cotton Manufacturer’s Guild to be used as the Guild’s headquarters.
The architect in charge of the refurbishment and enlargement was Nicolau Maria Rubio Tudurí. At this time, the original lounges on the noble floor were adapted as social “clubs” for the cotton industry. Much of the original features, such as the massive marble staircase, were saved, but also a new set of stairs was added: a spiral stairway you now see in many visitors’ Instagram feed! Rubio also added the emblem, cotton flower, on the upper part of the front door and on the floor of the lobby – the cotton flower is now the symbol of Cotton House Hotel, too.
In 2015, after a successful refurbishment, the building opened its doors as the Cotton House Hotel, as part of the Marriott’s Autograph Collection. The interior design by Lázaro Rosa-Violán reflects the building’s truly Catalan history: delicate yet strong.
The rooms, named as “Damask”, “Egyptian Cotton”, “Cotton” and so forth, also follow the cotton theme: the decoration is inspired by cotton’s colour palette of white, black and sepia, and the bed linen is made of 300 thread count mercerized Egyptian cotton. For me, the most important thing was that the bed was the most comfortable I have ever experienced, and made me to make a promise to my future self: buy this bed for your own home, too.
The same promise was made with the bathroom, or more accurately, the shower room, as the room only consists of a bathtub and a shower, leaving the toilet to have a room of its own. It was a luxurious experience, having a shower in a white tiled room, using Ortiga soaps, wrapping yourself in the softest imaginable bathrobe, and then climbing into the bed where the touch of a pillowcase was like angel caressing my face with a weather.
But I am getting ahead of myself!
Before calling it the night, I strolled around the hotel with my camera, first spending some time by the plunge pool admiring the view. Seeing the pointed towers of Sagrada Familia rising above Barcelona’s rooftops was a little dream to come true. I sat for a while in the former “club” room, looking at smartly dressed grandparents preventing the over enthusiastic kids from running around. People wandered in and out, many of them looking curiously around, and in a smaller room, a solitary woman was reading a book.
Next day, the morning broke too early: it would be a shame to leave the room – and the bed – behind.
Breakfast was served on the second floor and on a sunny day, you can enjoy it also on the terrace. The buffet setting is sumptuous: on one table you can choose your breads, meats and cheeses with yoghurt and fruits. On another table are the cakes and other delights for the sweet tooths and on the bar you can make your own bagel. The staff walks around with relaxed effectiveness and coffee was brought to our table quickly.
As in my room, and the plunge pool and the lounge, I feel like lingering forever over the breakfast. Sun is warm on the bright blue sky, and the turquoise and white shades mixed with the green plants are pleasant for the eye. Barcelona around me is waking up and getting ready for a new day.
And now, I am ready for Barcelona too: I have felt a glimpse of its past and seen the urban chic it is capable of now.
P.S. I wish to thank Cotton House Hotel for the opportunity to stay in this elegant and historic hotel. Cotton House Hotel is part of my series exploring Europe’s historic hotels and stylish stays. The collaboration does not affect the content of my writing, as I choose only culturally and/or historically significant hotels for the series. By this, I wish to ensure inspiring and atmospheric moments for my readers on their travels.