Toronto Hotel Lobby

I took this picture in the lobby of the Delta Toronto Marriott when I was there a few months ago. Have you ever noticed how hotels design lobby spaces to feel inviting? This one is a far cry from the Motel 6 we stayed at when I was a kid.

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Toronto Hotel Lobby
The lobby of the Delta Toronto Marriott

When I’m in a big city, I like walking into lobbies and taking pictures of the architecture. The lobby is where the hotel puts its best foot forward. The idea is to convey a sense of luxury and comfort at the same time. Comfort usually means plush furniture and pillows that make you want to sink into them.

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Anyway, I was walking through in the evening, and the colors caught my eye. I had been sitting here a few hours earlier to meet someone, but hardly noticed it in the daylight. I’m continually surprised at how light affects a place. In my opinion, it’s the key to photography. On the top floor, there is a lounge with a spectacular view of the CN Tower. And my room had a pretty nice view of the lake as well. I think the hotel is rated four stars, but from a photographic perspective, it’s easily a five.

The Bar at Hotel Arts

Here is a photo from the bar at the Hotel Arts in Barcelona. I’ll admit I’m not very sophisticated when it comes to swank establishments like this. More often than not I don’t know what to order. But the ambience can be a work of art and something I like to capture, with or without a cocktail.

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The Bar at Hotel Arts
The Bar at Hotel Arts in Barcelona – Ritz Carleton

I’m a reluctant photographer. I get a little uncomfortable setting up my camera in places like this. Yet I’m always happy when I do, so the trick is overcoming the hesitation. In this case the hotel is filled with tourists so it’s not unusual that I would have a camera. It was no big deal.

photos from Barcelona

Cameras attached to our phones are getting so good that soon we won’t have to choose between quality and conspicuousness. No one notices when we take a photo with an iPhone. Once smart phones can produce this level of quality in low light we will no longer need regular cameras. Maybe.

Section of the Agbar Tower

This is a small section of the Agbar Tower that I took one night while in Barcelona. I wasn’t even supposed to be there but the flights got cancelled due to weather back home. The tour company picked up the tab and I was fortunate to have a few extra days.

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Section of the Agbar Tower
Section of the Agbar Tower in Barcelona

Something I love about Barcelona is that people are out at all hours of the day and night. This was taken after midnight on a Sunday. No matter where I went I found people out walking or just hanging out.

The colorful Agbar Tower is an iconic landmark and we stayed next-door at the Diagonal Barcelona. You can see it to the right with the Barcelona sign. It’s a hip hotel with nice spaces to chill like a rooftop pool and bar that provided great views of the city.

more from Barcelona

Being so close to the tower made it easy to get back to the hotel. Whenever I took a taxi back I could just say, take me to the Agbar Tower. I’d definitely stay here again on my next visit, because even with three extra days it’s not nearly enough time to take it all in.

Hotel W Barcelona

One evening in Barcelona we walked along the beach from one end to the other. At the far end is the Hotel W Barcelona, where we stopped for a drink before heading back. I took this as we walked away just after sunset.

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Hotel W Barcelona
Hotel W Barcelona

The architecture is unique but also bears a vague resemblance to Dubai’s Burj Al Arab, I think that’s why it caught my attention.

For miles along the beach are juice bars, ice cream shops, bistros and restaurants. Just a few minutes after taking this we stopped at an open-air bistro on the beach. Sitting next to us was our United Airlines flight crew from the day before. What was surprising was that they even recognized us; nevertheless we struck up a conversation and had a bunch of laughs as we enjoyed a fun evening with our friends.

more architecture photography

Europeans eat late and so as we walked back the hotel, the restaurants were still packed. It was fun to see and experience all of this and it’s something I could go back and do again in a heartbeat.

Hotel Arts Barcelona

This is from one of the many terraces at the Hotel Arts Barcelona. We arrived here in the morning after an overnight flight from DC. In fact we were too early, so while waiting for our room I walked around to explore and take a few pictures. The hotel gets its name from the collection of public art in and around the hotel.

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Hotel Arts Barcelona
Hotel Arts Barcelona

Unlike other areas, this is in a modern section of town and the outdoor art accents the area to give it a unique feel. It’s in contrast to an area like the gothic quarter, but like any big city there are distinct districts with completely different atmospheres.

some of my favorite photos

Even though we couldn’t check-in right away the terraces and patios were nice places to decompress after a long flight. It didn’t hurt that they seemed to have an endless supply of complementary champagne while we waited.

The W Hotel

This is one of the two big hotels on the beach in Barcelona, well surely there are many more but two that I know of. One is the Hotel Arts Barcelona and the other is this, the W Hotel. I stayed at the Arts but one of my first questions to the bellman was what building this was. Others must ask the same because he quickly mentioned it’s just become a sister hotel. They both fall under the Marriott parent company.

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The W Hotel
The W Hotel in Barcelona

The next day we walked down the beach to have a look at The W. The architecture vaguely reminded me of the sail motif of the Burj al Arab, only it’s not nearly as big. This one was designed the Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill.

This is a vertorama, three images stacked in a vertical panorama. Because I was using a prime lens I couldn’t zoom out, so I took several images knowing I would recombine them in Lightroom.

The architecture is such that it defines the skyline along one end of the beach while the Hotel Arts defines the other. It’s interesting enough for me to want to capture it.

more architecture images

I’ve been a Marriott member for years and so it’s fortunate for me that they keep growing. It’s getting to the point that I can pick and choose which hotel to stay at in any city. So maybe I’ll stay here at some point, although the Arts hotel is pretty amazing too, so who knows, I’ll just have to cross that bridge when I come to it.