Nothing beats a spa session, or a really good massage. So we did some exhaustive research into finding Barcelona’s best spas. A tough job, but someone had to do it...
Located right at the top of the Hotel Arts, on the 43rd floor no less, the hotel’s spa enjoys incredible views of the beach. There are two areas – one for women and one for men, although mixed couples can ask to be together when making the reservation – with a hydromassage pool, a hammam and a sauna in which to sweat to your heart’s content while gazing at the horizon. The spa offers beauty treatments from Spanish skincare brand Natura Bissé, as well as massages: put yourself in the capable hands of the charming Anita Gomes, and you’ll believe you’ve made it to heaven. Admission to the water circuit area is €45. An affordable luxury.
Situated in the basement of Hotel Diagonal Zero, but with natural light and views over a small patio, the Spazio Wellness offers everything you need to relax at a competitive price: admission to the water circuit – which also gives you access to a fully equipped gym – costs €15. And from Monday to Thursday (except public holidays) they offer a two-for-one deal if you reserve online. They also do massages (for couples, if you want) and beauty treatments.
A gift pass to Barcelona’s Arab Baths is one of those reliable presents that never disappoints. Few places can compete with facilities like these: saltwater, icy, cold, warm, hot and bubble pools, plus saunas and a hammam in a setting straight out of the Arabian Nights. It’s so popular that booking can be difficult and, unlike other spas, there’s a time limit on your stay: two hours. A sure bet, from €31.
It’s not the most exclusive or the most intimate by a long chalk, but its down-to-earth character makes for a fun atmosphere. Sitting in the hot tub and letting the bubbles do their work, while you eavesdrop on the regulars chatting, is an excellently authentic Barcelona experience. There are saunas – women-only and men-only – a hammam, a hot tub and a pool with water jets that will rearrange every fibre of your tired muscles. A one-off pass is €6.59 (on top of the basic €12.47 entrance fee).
A stone’s throw from Plaça d’Espanya, this spa has some impressive facilities: as well as dry and wet saunas, there's a bubble pool with waterfalls of different intensities, a small cold-water pool and a pebble circuit that stimulates reflexology pressure points. The bravest souls can even dump a bucket of icy water on their heads. Access to the water circuit area, with no time limit, costs €20, or you can buy a pack that includes admission to the spa for two, plus a 30-minute massage, for €69.
Down-to-earth Barcelona is connected to Eastern luxury by a short walkway, and it’s the one that separates Passeig de Gràcia from the Mandarin Oriental, a temple to the concept of pampering, whose facilities, obviously, include a spa. And what a spa! After relaxing on a mosaic-encrusted recliner while your pores open up, and cruising a length of the 12-metre spa pool, a therapist will attend you to find the ideal treatment. Their signature service is the Oriental Essence, an ultra-relaxing massage during which you are daubed from head to feet with Quintessence oil, made with mandarin, ginger and frankincense – a luxury that will set you back €130 for 50 minutes.
The first boost to your general well-being hits you on the way up to the Hotel Miramar’s lofty location, high up on Montjuïc. The spa’s most spectacular feature is an indoor pool – including waterfall – illuminated by natural light from a huge window. They also have two separate spa circuits, for men and for women – with a hot tub and dry and wet saunas. You can enjoy the facilities as long as you like for €30 (free if you buy a treatment or a massage, from €55).
It can’t claim to be the spa with the most character in the city, or the newest, but Aqua offers fantastic value for money: for €28 you can enjoy their ‘well-being circuit’, which includes a spa pool with water jets, Turkish bath and a circular shower with essential oils. It also includes a glass of fruit juice or cava to help you return to reality after the 90-minute session. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the spa is that they will close the doors by arrangement, to allow a single client to enjoy total privacy.
If it wasn’t for the sense of calm and the sparseness of the crowd, I could be in Morocco. There, as in so many other parts of the Arab world, a trip to the hammam is a traditional part of the daily hygiene, health and beauty routine, and where the water is also used to wash laundry. At Rituels d’Orient, a subterranean palace just off Diagonal with all the classic elements of the hammam, including two steam rooms – one at 45°C with 100 percent humidity – and a cold-water pool with salts, a sepulchral silence reigns. For €47 you can take the plunge and finish off with an Oriental exfoliation with a horsehair glove and black eucalyptus-scented soap. Under that rough surface you’ve been calling ‘skin’, there’s another layer that’s as smooth as velvet. But if you want the authentic Moroccan experience, add a 40-minute massage with argan oil. It’s twice the price – but twice the pleasure.
Àngels Verdaguer, director at Spaciomm – the spa at the five-star Hotel Omm – is passionate about her job, which, when all is said and done, is to ensure that when her clients step out of this aquatic paradise, they’re as relaxed as fluffy koalas. The interior fittings in Spaciomm are all made of natural materials, which makes for an incredibly inviting space, and the facilities include a spa pool, hammam and relaxation room. Àngels has a hard time selling her range of exclusive treatments because she doesn’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. Every client is unique and receives personalised attention. Look out for her monthly special offers, which include a personalised massage (€57 for one hour or €76.80 for an hour and a half) after your dip.
Small but perfectly formed, this Eixample basement space is waiting to be discovered – it’s been open barely a year. The facilities are modest, with just a spa pool and a sauna, but it’s warm, welcoming and reasonably priced: €45 gets you an hour on the spa circuit, 40 minutes of Ayurvedic massage with hot oil, plus a glass of cava. Cheers!