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The Mercer Barcelona, a grand new hotel by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo.

The Mercer Hotels Group has just opened the Mercer Barcelona in the city’s Barri Gòtic. The project represents an important recovery of Barcelona’s ancient heritage, as the building’s structure incorporates part of the old Roman Wall along with remains dating from the 1st century. The project was carried out by the architect Rafael Moneo over a four year period.

More on Rafael Moneo in diarioDESIGN.

Stone is the star material used in this hotel, which has accumulated remains of different architectural styles throughout history dating from the first century to the 19th. Its medieval facade, replete with balconies, welcomes guests through a large solid wood door. Inside, a courtyard featuring orange trees and 17th-century columns leads the light to the interior.

The original ceiling height and wooden beams have been conserved in the Mercer’s 28 rooms. Moneo’s interior design plan was to integrate the building’s heritage and restored elements with contemporary pieces made of the finest materials. Examples include the use of Corian in the bathrooms together with austere pieces of furniture in the rooms.

The two watchtowers of the old Roman Wall crown the hotel’s terrace, from where guests can see the dome of Santa María del Mar, the San Just i Pastor Basilica and Barcelona’s Cathedral. In the evening, the terrace opens to the public and offers a unique rooftop view of Barcelona’s Barri Gòtic at dusk.

The hotel also features the Mercerino Restaurant, which is led by the chef Josep María Massó. It’s situated under the shadow of the Roman Wall, surrounded by colourful 13th-century frescoes; it overlooks the interior patio as well. A more informal tapas bar, the Vermut Mercerino, has direct street access.

The hotel is full of historic references. Its library, located on the main floor, is situated in the passage between the bastion 28 and 29 of the old Roman walls of the city. It features medieval frescoes discovered during the restoration process of the structure. In the reception area, a 16th-century beam decorated with medieval paintings was also discovered. Throughout the restoration project, assistance from Patrimonio de la Generalitat de Catalunya and the Universidad de Barcelona was required.

Photos: Xabier Mendiola



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