17 Mar 2022 • Hospitality
The future of hotels has arrived in Barcelona
A members’ club with co-working spaces and private offices is the most noteworthy post-pandemic amenity of the Sir Victor hotel in Barcelona. The membership program will soon be extended across the Sircle Collection venues in Amsterdam, Berlin and Vienna.
Located just off of Barcelona’s luxury shopping street Passeig de Gracia, Sir Victor opened its doors in 2019 after a complete overhaul of the Omm Hotel at the same address. New owner Sircle Collection, an independent Amsterdam-based hospitality company, commissioned Israeli design studio Baranowitz + Kronenberg to refurbish the lobby area, a petite shop with local products and steakhouse Mr Porter. Sircle Collection’s in-house design team took care of all the other spaces, including immersive, dusty-orange hallways, 91 comfortably furnished hotel rooms and a vibey rooftop bar with a swimming pool. There’s also a fitness studio and du-jour wellness space, the latter organic and vegan.
Soon after opening, COVID hit the hospitality sector, forcing Sir Victor to close. When it re-opened in May 2021, one floor had been transformed into a co-working space, with phone booths and private offices. Only members of the new Sircle Club have access. Other Sircle Collection hotels will soon boast a similar refurbishment, becoming an ever-so stylish answer to the Soho House.
As we’ve written before, the pandemic has made clear that the hospitality sector needs to transform. For too long, hotels have depended on renting out rooms that basically only offer a place to sleep and shower. But travel has come to a virtual standstill in the past two years, leaving hotels with a big problem. Even if occupancy rates do get back to pre-pandemic levels, about 20 to 50 per cent of rooms will stay empty on average. What’s more, a ‘sleep factory’ isn’t exactly an attractive place to hang around in, and there are still many of them in Barcelona.
The Sircle Collection has understood which changes are necessary to make hospitality thrive in the future. First of all, passersby need to be greeted by an inviting, lively lobby. Secondly, guests feel reassured about their choice if their hotel accommodates a premium restaurant like Mr Porter, which also attracts a local audience. The real innovation, however, lies in the Sircle Club membership programme and the work-related facilities it offers access to. It not only makes Sir Victor less dependent on travellers, but also builds an international community. Its members will thus most likely be loyal to the hotel chain when in Amsterdam, Berlin, Vienna or any of the Sircle Collection’s other venues.