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Claris Hotel

Listed under Best Hotels in Barcelona, Spain.

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"Central five-star city hotel with a rooftop pool and a mini-museum attached"

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Written by  travelintelligence.

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Claris Hotel

The Claris is the flagship hotel of Mr. Clos’s Derby Hotels group, sister to the Villa Real in Madrid. In line with his eclectic philosophy, the hotel is built around three central concepts - his taste in art, mostly primitive and / or classical, modern architecture with a nod to zen, and a modern array of suites, including duplexes.

The hotel was created in 1992 by the addition of a modern glass and steel ‘hat’ on top of an 1883 classical edifice, of which nothing remains except the façade. Inside, corridors are walled on the interior with glass, with views onto an open light well at the bottom of which is a small Japanese style garden with a fountain and a Buddha. To balance the glass, natural building materials - marble floors and reticulated stone walls - add solidity and a cooling effect in the heat of summer.

Inside the 120 rooms, wood predominates. Doors are of pale ash while, as in Madrid, the floors are all of polished mahogany, softened here and there with a colourful Indian runner. Cherrywood wall panels are well matched with mauve bedcovers and drapes. Furniture is modern - some rooms had leatherette sofas and chairs, others a cross between suede and velveteen. Odd bits of severely modern sculpture are dotted about, along with prints or engravings on the walls - some of classical scenes, others more modern. Bathrooms are generally small (although rooms are of a reasonable size), very few with separate showers. Done up in granite coloured marble with brown strips, they feel like miniature Roman baths - deliberate, considering the owner’s penchant for all things classical. His collection here, displayed on the mezzanine floor outside the small restaurant, contains an array of pre-Columbian figurines.

Junior suites have larger bathrooms and a seating area, while duplexes are generally two much smaller rooms, like tiny apartments, with little feeling of space. Since much of the clientele in the week is corporate, this hierarchy of duplexes and suites is presumably a convenient way to add value for VIPs. But for comfort, the larger doubles are to be preferred over the duplex unless you are holding a miniature cocktail party, or you are someone who likes to climb stairs to go to bed.<BR><BR>On the roof there’s a small pool, a shaded bar/restaurant, a few bits of gym equipment, a sauna, and places to sunbathe. As in all central city hotels however, the noise from the traffic is ever present, and there are no compensatory views other than of roof tops. There’s a small bar off reception with Andy Warhol prints, like in Madrid, and a rather dark and subterranean-like breakfast room. One slightly disconcerting effect are the smells in this hotel - presumably added to the airconditioning. All very pleasant - vanilla, sandalwood - but not, we suppose, to everybody’s taste.

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