Striking the right note in Barcelona
First impressions aren’t made by sight alone. Every one of our senses contributes to the sum total of our experience. If one sense is out of sync, the whole experience can be diminished.
For a business like a hotel, which depends upon its customers feeling a certain way and picking up a certain vibe, taking a holistic view of the atmosphere you create and understanding the individual sensory components that create it can have a tremendous impact on your success.
One of the most successful and widely beloved luxury brands in the global hotel sector is Mandarin Oriental. It owes its reputation not simply to the fantastic locations of its properties, perfectly judged service across the board, or its invariably exceptional standards of design, but to the way all these diverse elements cohere to shape the overall guest experience. For every Mandarin Oriental hotel team, that experience is all.
With a hugely covetable location on the fashion-forward, city-central Passeig de Gràcia, Mandarin Oriental Barcelona is a flagship property for the group. Arguably the most luxurious hotel in a city full of fierce competition, it attracts an affluent, well-travelled and culturally attuned international clientele, who are drawn to its peerless service standards and perfect design balance of contemporary chic and period prestige.
To stay ahead of the game, the guest experience has to be pitch perfect. Which is why, when the Mandarin Oriental team identified that the hotel’s music had become the weak link in the experience, they were quick to address the issue.
The soundtrack from the hotel’s existing provider had become out of step with the design calibre of the hotel and the clientele it sort to cultivate, so we were invited to develop new sounds for each of the Mandarin Oriental’s key areas.
These included the dramatic open lobby space extending into all-day dining restaurant Blanc and the Mimosa garden; the two-Michelin-star restaurant Mimosa; the rooftop poolside Peruvian bar Terrat; the spectacular cocktail spot Banker’s Bar; and the spa. Each required a distinct soundscape that complemented the design of the space and the changing pace of the day, striking a balance between the Spanish location and international clientele, matching the fashionable vibe of the hotel’s setting, and expressing the upmarket, new-luxe identity of the Mandarin Oriental brand.
To address the needs of complex, multifaceted property such as this requires an in-depth understanding of how the space is lived day-to-day, taking into account the diverse and changing needs of users (for example, the lobby playlist needs to communicate a sense of theatre to guest arrivals, accommodate business guests conducting meetings, and create a buzz for diners lunching in Blanc – all at the same time). By spending time on site, engaging each of the restaurant managers and on-the-ground stakeholders, and experiencing the hotel as a guest would, we were able to develop a family of soundscapes that enriched the drama of the hotel’s design while meeting the needs and enhancing the moods of every type of guest.
Music Concierge’s collaborative approach to sound design has helped restore the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona guest experience to what it should be: an elevated, immersive expression of contemporary luxury in which every one of the senses plays a part.