It’s the sixth tallest building in Barcelona and the winner of the prestigious architecture prize, Emporis Award 2010, for Best Skyscraper in the World (2010).

Designed by Japanese architect, Toyo Ito, winner of the Pritzker Prize (2013), the Hotel Santos Porta Fira, piercing the Hospitalet de Llobregat skyline with scarlet fury, is a testimony to the beauty of ‘conceptual architecture’: the place where the real and virtual worlds meet.

Ito has defined architecture as ‘clothing’ for city dwellers; with every architectural creation, he aims to find the balance between the public and private life of human beings. His masterpiece, the Sendai Mediatheque in Japan, imagines what a public museum and library should look like in the digital age.

Designed in 1995 and completed in 2001, it is considered one of Tokyo’s most iconic buildings, built entirely in glass and harbouring 13 steel-ribbed shafts that provide stability for the vertiginous structure, which is surprisingly located in the heart of a known earthquake-prone area.

It is known for breaking established boundaries, however, and nowhere is this more evident than in his graceful homage to the beauty of the lotus flower: the Hotel Santos Porta Fira.

A Ruby Red Jewel in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat

The Hotel Santos Porta Fira boasts a deconstructivist style and a double skin design; its inner layer is made out of stainless steel panels, while its exterior comprises red aluminum tubes coated in metallic resin. The tubes are an abstract representation of the leaves of the lotus flower, wrapping the building in a ruby red sheen as it soars towards the sky.

The modern, sleek interiors are the perfect complement to the building’s exterior; they set a contemporary, urban tone, without sacrificing the comfort and practicality which characterises the world’s best hotels.

A Room in the Clouds

The Porta Fira has 311 fully equipped rooms, with creature comforts like individually-controlled air conditioning, Wi-Fi, an outdoor telephone line, cable-satellite TV, etc. There are four room categories.

Urban Rooms (measuring 24m2) are an ideal choice for a couple, have a double or King-sized bed, plasma TV, a separate shower and toilet, etc. They bear a neutral look, with white and beige holding sway in the décor and bedding.

Privilege Rooms (30m2) can be shared with a child or baby; they are decorated in line with the building’s architecture in red, black and white, and also have a double or King size bed.

Privilege Class Rooms (45m2) are located on the 22nd floor of the Hotel, affording dreamlike views over the city of Barcelona. Bright and chic, they boast an abundance of white, with blood red touches in select furniture pieces and bedding.

For ultimate comfort for a bigger group, the top choice would have to be the Family Room (60m2), which can accommodate two adults and two children or even two children and a baby (just ask for an extra bed or cot). The connected Family Rooms comprise two Privilege rooms, one of which has a King-sized bed and the other, twin beds.

Some of the many services that will make your stay at the Porta Fira a dream include:
Wi-Fi in common areas
A Wellness Area (featuring a sauna, massage cubicles and sensation shower)
Concierge service
Laundry and ironing service
Business centre and conference rooms
24-hour parking
Daily newspapers, etc.

Creative International Cuisine at Spiral

Spiral, the Hotel’s restaurant – serving breakfast, lunch and dinner – is a bit of a hotspot for savvy urbanites who call the City of Gaudí home. The menu reads like a gastronomic tour through the length and breadth of Spain (with dishes such as Andalusian style calamari or northern anchovies), though international influences can also be noted (the octopus with Kennebec potatoes, red pepper gelée and winter sprouts is famed for its tenderness, while the cocotte in a perigueaux, foie and pancetta sauce pays homage to the renowned French gastronomic tradition).

Despite being one of the most elegant establishments you are likely to find in the area, the restaurant offers surprisingly affordable ‘menús’ (the ‘Menú Ejecutivo’, for instance, costs just €23 per person). Kids, meanwhile, have their very own menu, while those up for something a little quicker will find what they are looking for at the cafeteria and snack bar.

Life’s a Celebration

The Hotel Santos Porta Fira is marketed at families and entrepreneurs alike, with a variety of function rooms for everything from weddings to banquets, meetings and conferences

Location is Everything

The Porta Fira is not located in the heart of the city, though there is a tube stop just around the corner. In just 15 minutes, you can reach the middle of the city that has inspired artists, filmmakers and architects alike, to produce some of their most brilliant work.

Words Marisa Cutillas Photography courtesy of the Hotel Santos Port Fira