Arrival/Check-in: Opened in February 2007, this slick business hotel in Barcelona’s business district is somewhat distant from the best parts of the city, but equally distant from the noise and exhaust fumes. Nearby shopping is noteworthy, but food options outside the hotel are dismal. The hotel was rather quiet during my stay, so I usually had the undivided attention of the desk staff whenever I wandered up with a question, including during check-in, which was swift and friendly. (29/30)
Guest Quarters: Designed partly by world-renowned architect Rafael Moneo, the rooms are modern and all hard angles, wood and mirrored surfaces. Superior rooms have a view of a small park, ringed by inexpensive lunch spots popular among business people, as well as separate baths and showers, coffee facilities, and free use of the spa. Beds are decent and equipped with giant lounge pillows for propping yourself up while you watch the flat, wide-screen TV. Bathrooms have average toiletries, good towels and plenty of mirrors. Hint: Though they aren’t automatically provided, guests in standard rooms can request one of the hotel’s plush, baby-blue robes. WiFi is provided by two third-party ISPs — Swisscom and Telefonica — and is not inexpensive. Though doors are heavy and windows thick, screaming children and loud TVs in other rooms were easily discernable. And when those heavy doors slammed, windows shook three rooms away. (23/30)
Services/Amenities: The hotel has two restaurants, including Nhube, designed by Michelin star chef Ferrán Adriá, serving Mediterranean cuisine in a space that’s equal parts restaurant, lounge and bar. The modest Elysium-run spa offers standard treatments. The rooftop pool is fronted by sun beds. The meeting facilities are massive and modern, with modular-walled meeting halls, breakout rooms, party terrace and catering.
The hotel has an arrangement with a nearby Europolis for fitness facilities. The complimentary buffet breakfast is a dizzying mix of fruit, pastries, cereal, hot and cold meats, cheeses, breads, juices, sweets and even mimosas if you’re so inclined. A small, two-PC kiosk with printer passes for a business center. The hotel provides the services of a personal shopper/fashion consultant in case you require translation/style support. (37/40)
The Experience: The 308-room hotel is designed like a skyscraper on its side. It’s nice to look at on the outside, but long hallways inside lack aesthetic appeal. The multi-national desk staff wield varying degrees of practical knowledge of the city, but all are unfailingly nice and helpful. Although I enjoyed myself immensely while on the property, getting anywhere involved tackling a new form of public transport or forking over the fare for a slow taxi ride through Barcelona’s traffic-heavy streets.
Total Score: (89/100)
Calle Deu i Mata, 69-99
08029 Barcelona, Spain
tel 34 93 281 1500
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