We’ve said it before, but the rate at which the Room Mate group is expanding should give even its most aggressive competitor cause to pause. Its newest property is one more example of its talent for scouting prime locations in agreeable neighbourhoods. Steps from Barcelona’s golden retail strip of Passeig de Gracia, the 81-room Anna is contained within an early 20th-century Modernist pile that was, till a few years ago, the University of Chicago campus and venue for the 20th anniversary of Casa Décor.
Interior designer Lorenzo Castillo has parlayed previous outings with Room Mate on their New York and Florence hotels, into an assured, grown-up bolt-hole where breakfast is served till noon and the circular rooftop pool features views of the Agbar Tower and Gaudi’s Casa Batlió.
In keeping with Barcelona’s proximity to the sea, turquoise and aquamarine hues dominate, alongside bespoke timber furniture, brass finishes, and the occasional maritime tchotchke by way of red Trapani coral and shells. Castillo says his design scheme is a deliberate move away from the contemporary penchant for neo-industrial Nordic chic in favour of a return to Barcelona’s Catalonian Mediterranean roots.
And just in case one needed more proof of Room Mate’s ambitions and bullish optimism for Barcelona, the group has plans to open two more properties in the city by next year.