Do you look for five-star coolness and built-in nightlife in a
? Spanish chain
might have your solution.
In 2006, the company launched ME by Melia, a boutique division designed to take on
Starwood Hotels & Resorts'
W line. After launching properties in Mexico and Madrid, Spain, the company beat Starwood by opening a
last year. Starwood plans to open a W Hotel there in October.
ME by Melia in Barcelona features a pool deck that turns into a nightclub when the dark descends.
What to expect:
The 31-floor hotel is in Barcelona's Poblenou neighborhood, a transitional area that can leave a first-time visitor feeling isolated from restaurants and nightlife. The location is ideal for beach lovers looking to indulge in the city's redeveloped seaside communities. The hotel is also close to the biking and jogging path along Diagonal Avenue as well as Jean Nouvel's Agbar Tower, a cucumber-shape high-rise that visually defines this up-and-coming district.
A costly cab ride from the airport passes Barceloneta, Olympic Port and Gothic neighborhoods where many might prefer to stay. A teak deck runs the length of the hotel. The lobby feels like a W Hotel but more minimalist with concrete floors and a sleek lobby lounge with a white-glass bar.
Finding your room:
I booked a Loft Suite on the 23rd floor for 300 euros a night, or $413. Inside a heavy steel door, I found an open-plan lounge and bedroom featuring city views. The fee covers entry to the Level Lounge on the 25th floor, where one can find endless bottles of wine and Champagne.
The hotel has been offering its more basic rooms at a promotional rate of 150 euros, or $207.
Rooms are built for pop stars and their entourages with red lacquer furnishings and fluffy white sofas. Flat-screen TVs offer first-run movies and
Wii video game consoles. Wireless Internet access and iPod stereos are available for tech-loving guests. Luckily, concrete walls and floors ensure no one will hear your midnight concert.
Bathrooms and details:
A single panel of glass behind the bed contains a serene all-white bathroom. The hotel's turndown service will light votives around the deep-soaking tub. Be careful: Slippery glass tiles require careful footwork.
The bathroom is stocked with Aveda products and fluffy bathrobes. The only downside is the shoulder-width shower, which has a wobbly stone floor grate that's both stylish and dangerous.
Gym and spa:
The hotel's YHI Spa tempts the senses with the aroma of eucalyptus. Treatments include blue-corn scrubs and Caribbean ginger facials. Gym fiends will find a membership-worthy workout area with a full-size weight room.
Hit the pool:
Guests will find the pool on the hotel's sixth-floor roof. The lap pool could be larger and the views are lacking, considering the location. It's surrounded by Italian outdoor furniture with metal cabanas, white loungers and a groovy bar that extends from the nightclub.
ME by Melia offers a continental breakfast, cocktails and afternoon tea at its Level Lounge on the 25th floor. The lounge is open to guests staying in the hotel's pricier rooms and suites. For the added cost, guests can take advantage of the lounge's concierge service, which can make restaurant and nightlife reservations.
Those looking for a proper meal can choose between the café-style menu in the casual Sky Food Bar and the swanky Dos Cielos on the 24th floor, which features an outdoor terrace and gourmet creations by Chef Sergio Torres.
The top nightlife draw is the Angels & Kings Club on the sixth floor, where hotel guests get preferential treatment at the door. Inside the club, which is owned by rock star Pete Wentz and celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, partiers will find several interconnecting rooms, a long black bar and a DJ booth. Clearly, ME by Melia is all about having a good time.
Michael Martin is the managing editor of JetSetReport.com -- a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in In Style, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine, ITV and BBC.