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Regular strollers along the recently revamped Port Vell Marina will have noticed a rather glitzy-looking cube going up. This is the new One Ocean Club, the restaurant and cocktail bar of lucky captains and crew with super yachts and indeed more humble vessels in port. But unlike many luxury marina club houses, it comes with a brand new vision thanks to Salamanca Group Owner Uri Nachoom, who explained, as I took a sneak peek around the place prior to opening night, that he wanted to create a synergy between the port and the residents of the city. “The goal is to turn this old, unloved port into the best super marina in the world, to integrate yachting people with locals, and to create a hub for enjoying an exclusive Mediterranean lifestyle.”
It’s a lovely thought in a city that has traditionally turned its back on the Mediterranean. Though Barceloneta’s beaches are a massive draw for tourists soaking up the sun in the summer, residents have been more reticent about the area, but there’s an unmistakeable whiff of change in the air and new openings, like the Hotel Serras on the Passeig de Colon, One Ocean Club and the soon-to-open Soho House, are regenerating the area in ways that were unimaginable not so long ago. Suddenly the uptown crew are heading downtown in search of adventure, and if your heart’s set on dazzling your friends in your own private hideaway of eye-popping design, sexy surrounds and swanky vibe, then membership of One Ocean Club is for you.
Signing up is easy—it’s just an online form—and free, which makes it useful for those of us who can’t even afford a canoe never mind a super yacht, but don’t mind dipping into the lifestyle now and then. But, and this is crucial, you do need an existing member to recommend you, or come with your own list of desirable credentials. What you get in return is access to one of the prettiest bars, restaurants and harbour-side terraces in town. Designed by local firm El Equipo Creativo, the space is split into two distinct sections that are connected by several wraparound terraces that float above the water: one offering a chill-out zone for snacks, drinks and watching the sunset, another a little more private with its own bar and sun beds if you just want to relax, and a third that’s planted with elegant succulents and sea grasses and cunningly encased within cylindrical cut out screens inset with glass, so you get the sense of being outside while being safe in the knowledge that it’s all waterproofed and heated—perfect for those chillier spring days and nights.
The main room is all sultry deep sea greens and oceanic blue banquettes, lit by copper pencil lamps shooting down from the ceiling that look like pipes of coral. A state-of-the-art kitchen, headed by Llorenç Valls, produces dishes that range from Michelin-inspired creations, like lobster sous vide on the creamiest potato parmentier topped with a soft poached egg (dreamy), to more clean-living plates of grilled sea bass and octopus served with simply steamed vegetables.
Personally, I’m a sucker for oyster bars even though I can’t eat the damn things, but I was happy to tuck into a succulent ceviche, singing with bold fresh flavours of chilli, red onion, coriander and lime juice, and then slink over to the Blue Wave bar for a cocktail. In fact, very handy this, it opens from 8am until late, so you can feasibly pop in for breakfast, catch up on work for a few hours and then meet friends or clients for lunch. Bottom line is, for injecting a little glamour into your life this place is pretty darn fabulous, but before you get carried away with it all, try to remember the actual eating and drinking can escalate.