Skin-exposing weather, open-minded attitudes, and none of the romantic expectation of Paris makes Barcelona an easy aphrodisiac. But in a city where one person’s arousal is another person’s eye-roll (two words: Camp Nou), what cuts it as a couples’ classic if you didn’t hack the Disfrutar waitlist? Where can you be loved-up without the pair next to you dry-humping during your entrée? The following ideas all match-make panache with privacy to give you the best of romantic Barcelona.
The Secret Overnighter
Apparently the matronly neighborhood of Tres Torres has a sultry side. Primero Primera, a 30-room boutique hotel that looks like any other residential building from the outside, hides a quiet interior perfect for a quick respite for harried couples looking for a weekend escape without leaving town. The building has been the home of the Sala-Perez family (that includes the dashing Formula 1 racers Luis and Daniel Sala-Perez) since 1955. Venture through the back door of the hotel’s warm little bar/resto into what appears to be a tucked away patio and you’ll discover stairs to an immense greenspace, with swimming pool and scattered chairs perfect for sitting and holding hands (keep it PG rated out there!). Inside, a clubbish salon lets you cosy up for long conversations. If you prefer to be closer to city center, here are some other flirty options.
Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down: Erotica you won’t blush buying
Your mind might be broader than La Sagrada Familia’s expansion plans, but that doesn’t mean you’re comfortable buying the contents of your bedside drawer just anywhere. And so, on a mission to elevate erotic products from low-rent and rubbery to genuinely covetable, Barcelona duo Marta Aguiar, formerly in PR, and graphic designer Elsa Viegas created Bijoux Indiscrets – a high-end intimate range made by women, for women. Its unique selling proposition is a focus on foreplay: there are gold body chains designed to hang suggestively over a black dress, bracelets and ankle cuffs that turn into handcuffs, PETA-approved vegan harnesses, plus a paraben-free cosmetics range named Slow Sex that features tingly nipple gels. The brand is now stocked in 40 countries globally, and is available at all three branches of Love Stop BCN or at the online store for Bijoux Indiscrets.
Rubbed the Right Way: The new tandem spa at W hotel
Any danger of a couple’s massage being awkward will be forgotten about 75 seconds in, when you’re both falling… asleep. The latest place to enjoy blissed out, side-by-side time is in the spa of the ever-handsome W hotel, which launched a sleek and spacious double cabin this January. Our picks for most likely to give you that relaxed after glow effect? The Reset or De-stress massages, which both live up to their names – leaving you both loose-limbed and giddy. Finish the effect with a date-night dinner downstairs at La Barra de Carlos Abellan, where the seafood is first-rate and the ambiance is stoked with live music.
Afternoon Delight: Feast on the high-end picnic trend
An El Fornet bocadillo can prevent everyday hanger from causing relationship fights. But true romance calls for more luxurious catering. Culinary cupid Cheese&Berry creates bespoke picnic boxes that are easy on the eyes and the stomach. Hunky cheese, meaty slabs of sausage, mini bottles of wine, and seasonal fruit and veg, all sourced from local markets and deliverable around the city (a box for two people, tailored to your dietary requirements, starts from €35). Once ordered, retreat to a secluded part of Barcelona’s park scene, such as Parc de Cervantes’ pretty rose garden in Pedralbes, or Barna’s oldest garden, Parc del Laberint d’Horta with its famous hedge maze, neo-classical pavilion, and beautiful mansion, Torre Soberana.
Aphrodite Approved: Oysters on the half shell
Oysters – or ostras – have an important double function in Spain. Firstly, linguistically, shouting ‘ostras!’ is one of those marvelous, sound-like-a-local words for expressing surprise – whether you’ve heard about someone’s torrid affair with a new amante or spotted the sales bargain of the decade in Santa Eulalia. Secondly, in the edible sense, oysters are just really good here. The intimate circular Oyster Bar in El Nacional brings all the eye candy while you work on slurping them in stylish surroundings. For that market-fresh experience, jostle your way to the front of the bar at the award-winning Huîtres Amélie in the center of La Boquería, where you eat them shucked in situ or get them to go. Or try BOB Oyster BCN in Eixample – a well-priced little nook where oysters are the stars of your plate and its unique light fixtures.
Tantric Basics: Have her at Om
One caveat: you need to know some Spanish for this one. But if you feel relatively confident in Castellano and are curious about the basics of tantra – from what it actually is, to how to bring into your personal life – Tantra With Astiko runs approachable, non-intimidating introductory classes. You can attend solo or with a partner – and, of course, you don’t need to be in a relationship at all. If you’re wondering (okay, panicking), no, it doesn’t require nudity or contact with other people. Instead, the focus is on meditation, breathwork and observation to awaken the energies inside your body – which makes it enlightening and empowering, without being too out-there. Classes take place at Espai Cosmos in Poblenou – a creative space well worth checking out for workshops in ecstatic dance (a spontaneous, free-flow dance where you move according to your body’s rhythm), yoga, and personal development.
Heartbreaker: Gourmet chocolate for a sweet ending
If you already know Bubó, it’s likely been your secret Spanish lover for a while now. If not, this haute dessert haven in El Born – a sinfully good chocolatier designed to resemble a jewelry store – will soon be doing terribly bad things to your self-control. New for Valentine’s Day is a romantic special called Break My Heart: a dark chocolate heart filled with 12 mini hearts (in macadamia, Gianduja chocolate hazelnut, and brownie flavors), plus a secret love note that you can personalize and pop inside. Then comes the best bit. Not the eating (well, not just the eating), but the smashing it open with the actual hammer that comes with the dessert. We won’t ask whether you´re channeling your desire to get to the chocolate inside or romantic frustration.