From the Members’ Forum:
“We just returned from two weeks in Spain, including five nights at ABaC Hotel & Restaurant in Barcelona. Without question, the finest staff, top to bottom, we’ve ever encountered. The hotel is beautifully and pleasantly modern, with top amenities. The restaurant, which is designed as an integral part of the hotel, is one of the two best restaurants in which we’ve ever eaten. The service is superb, as is the food. The tasting menu is a must. It’s just astonishingly good.”
From the September 2009 Hideaway Report:
During the last decade, Barcelona has acquired a number of intimate, stylish hotels. Located in the leafy Tibidabo district and housed within an old mansion that formerly contained the American Consulate, the new 15-room ABaC hotel is an excellent example of the genre. With a striking contemporary exterior embellished by slats of teak, the hotel occupies a charming private walled garden, where dinner is served during good weather. (Some avid foodies may recognize the name, since the Michelin two-star ABaC is one of the great restaurants of Barcelona, and Xavier Pellicer among Spain’s most creative chefs.)
On arrival, we were impressed by the warmth and efficiency of the front-desk staff, and appreciated a brief tour of the hotel before being escorted to our compact but beautifully designed and furnished Deluxe Room overlooking the garden. Decorated in a scheme of oyster and cream, with bleached oak floors and a pair of chaises longues covered in pearl-gray velvet, our room managed the trick of being minimalist and cozy at the same time. The double bed was made up with fine Rivolta Carmignani Italian linen sheets and piled high with pillows. It also had a headboard with two built-in reading lamps.
Lighting throughout the room was excellent, with the main lamps controlled by switches offering a variety of pre- programmed dimmer settings. The blinds were remote- controlled, and amenities included a large-format Bang & Olufsen TV. The bath was well-designed and strikingly appointed with white limestone surfaces, a Jacuzzi tub with chromotherapy lights, a separate rainfall shower and Hermès toiletries.
One evening, we enjoyed a predictably superb meal in the gourmet restaurant. This consists of two stylish white dining rooms, one accommodating 45 people and the other 18 in a space used primarily for private parties.
In addition, a terrace has eight tables for outdoor dining in fine weather. Guests are welcome to visit the kitchen to watch maestro Pellicer in action, so long as they keep to a pathway clearly defined by LED lights. The menu offers “innovative Catalan” cuisine, and we especially enjoyed two signature dishes: mushroom, avocado and crab tartare; and Iberian pork accompanied by a mango tarte tatin.
ABaC has a small spa on the lower ground floor, but with skylights to let in the sunshine. Walls of pale stone and surfaces of stone tiles deliberately evoke the atmosphere of a Roman bath. We found it to be such a congenial spot that we paid a visit every afternoon, becoming particularly addicted to the supremely relaxing whirlpool hammocks submerged in the thermal pool.
All told, ABaC is a delightful property and a fine choice for anyone who likes small hotels and doesn’t mind being in a quiet residential neighborhood. Given that the rates are relatively reasonable, when we return, we will probably opt for one of the third-floor suites with private patios.