Barcelona’s Casa Camper: A Hotel With “Sole”

Posted on November 1, 2010

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by AnneLise Sorensen

The bohemian-chic Camper, Spain’s best-known brand of footwear, knows how to make great shoes. It turns out they’re also good at hotels.

The Mallorcan shoe company eschewed the normal route of diversifying into, say, handbags or watches because, as co-founder Miguel Fluxá puts it, “Food and shelter, like shoes, are a basic need.”

We’re a fan of Camper’s cheeky, comfy shoes, so we were intrigued to see how their signature style – wonderfully silly, a touch subversive – would extend to a hotel. It’s one thing to excel at chunky heels and zany stitching. But to apply that to a living space?

Upon entering the whimsical lobby, where bicycles hang from the ceiling, our first thought was: Bravo! And when we walked into the cherry-red rooms that face a giant “vertical garden” of bright-green aspidistras: Olé!

The word “camper” means “peasant” in Catalan, and the hotel’s aesthetic can be summed up by something you’ll find in every room: Hammocks. Simple, functional, earthy – very much like their shoes. As for playful? The hotel has that in spades, including cute handwritten labels – “caliente – hot” – for the shower faucets.

Camper’s philosophy of “Comfort for our feet – and our conscience” is evident throughout the hotel. Recycled water is used in the bathrooms, and solar energy for heat. In place of minibars, the hotel offers a free, 24-hour buffet, with fruits, sandwiches, and café con leche.

Barcelona’s appeal lies in its ability to reinvent itself while preserving the past, and Casa Camper is a terrific example of this: Inside, the hotel is colorful and contemporary, but the exterior of the 19th-century building has essentially been left as is – old stone, unadorned, with just glass doors and a discreet sign announcing “Guests Only.” You have to make a special effort to find it, which, it seems, is very much the point.

Room rates start at around $195 a night.

Travel Transforms (or, Aha!) moment: Aesthetics + Ethics. Good words to live (and travel) by.

Read my Casa Camper review on HotelChatter.

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Posted in: Barcelona