Casa Bonay, Barcelona
Casa Bonay, Barcelona
Merging Catalan neo-classicalism with local, contemporary craftsmanship at this 19th century mansion turned hotel
by Ross Belfer
There’s no denying Barcelona’s status as a mecca of brilliant architecture, art and design. If Gothic and neo-classical architectural edifices, clandestine, ornate gardens and awe-inspiring museums isn’t already enough, the timeless coastal city has recently succumbed to a new wave of properties and hospitality concepts that garner plenty of interest. The Barcelona of yesteryear is still delightfully present and its most impressive incarnation just might be Casa Bonay: a 67-room property housed in the restored 19th century mansion in Barcelona’s Dreta de l’Eixample.
Originally built in 1869 by Francisco Batlle, Casa Bonay was for many years inhabited by the aptly named Bonay family, whose youngest daughter, Antonia, married Carles Maní, a former friend and associate of Gaudí. With intensive restoration work by Brooklyn-based firm Studio Tack, incorporating natural materials such as stucco, clay and marble, Casa Bonay is a testament to Barcelona past and present.
“Living in the way of emotional design is part of the essence of what we’re trying to do here,” explains Casa Bonay founder Inés Miro-Sans. A Barcelona native and business-minded creative whose portfolio includes working stints with the Ace, Miro-Sans first discovered the property three years prior to its opening and instantly became enamored by its original solar-illuminated entranceway, ornate tiled flooring and winding neo-classical staircase—replete with yellow, red and blue-tinged stained class windows. Miro-Sans, along with her business partner Luis Rullán (a celebrated Barcelonian hospitality executive) and a team of contractors, architects, business developers and creatives, gave new life to the three-floor edifice with two additional stories strictly adhering to preservation regulations mandated by the city.
Entering Casa Bonay is a spectacle. Nested in Dreta de l’Eixample, a short walk from Barcelona’s El Born and Poblenou districts, the hotel welcomes guests with its marble-infused cylindrical corridor into a world of homegrown, artisanal offerings that pay homage to contemporary Catalan craftsmanship. Serving as a horse stable in the early 1900s, the corridor boasts Blackie Books, a local independent publishing house, which stocks the kiosk-like wooden shop with polyglot fiction, novellas, illustration books and lyrical journals available for purchase.
Through a nondescript lobby entrance sits playful neon signage reading “baTabasTa,” where the Shanghai-founded and now Barcelona-based brand has opened their first flagship store selling print-tastic, statement button-downs. Casa Bonay’s commitment to enlisting Barcelona natives is embedded in the very fabric of the property. The reception area, tables, stools and chairs are accredited to Marc Morro, a founder of AOO (Altrescoses Oltrascosa). Santa & Cole’s chandeliers, lamps and lighting pieces illuminate rooms, suites and public spaces; Asilvestrada curates the hotel’s flora with banana trees and succulents; and Las Lilas cultivates homegrown rosemary and olive, oat and bergamot for the soap and shampoo amenities.
Casa Bonay will delight gourmet diners and breakfast experts with five culinary offerings, including an outpost of beloved local coffee house and bakery Satan’s Coffee Corner. The main dining space is manned by the acclaimed chef Estanis Carenzo, who offers three different restaurant concepts: Elephant Crocodile Monkey, Tet and the cocktail bar, Libertine—ensnared in a cinematically lit lounge with warm wood furnishings.
Enjoying the panorama from the hotel's rooftop sandwiched in between Gran Via de Les Corts Catalanes and manicured private backyard gardens, it's clear that the cocktail lounge, yoga lessons and a tea garden (which will all be in full swing by summer) might prohibit guests from ever wanting to leave.
Images by Ross Belfer