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Hotel Arts Barcelona

Listed under Best Hotels in Barcelona, Spain.

  • Photo of Hotel Arts Barcelona
  • Photo of Hotel Arts Barcelona
  • Photo of Hotel Arts Barcelona
Photo of Hotel Arts Barcelona
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"Surprising skyscaper hotel in Barcelona's new marina area, a real social hub"

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Written by  travelintelligence.

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Hotel Arts Barcelona

The Arts was one of a number of hotels that was built in record time (and not finished) for the 1992 Olympics. It is right in the harbour, which for some will be a great location - there is plenty going on down there - while for others it's a way from the heart of either historic Gothic Barcelona or the shopping boulevards to the north of it. Either way , it has wonderful views over the Mediterranean, although in this part of the world it is hazy, hot and rather relentless, with no pretty pine-clad promontories or rocky outcrops to relieve it. Several things surprise about this hotel - for a start, the fact that it's a skyscraper, and with all the structure on the outside, which makes it look like a multinational oil company HQ. Consequently your window views are always filtered through a web of exterior steel structure. Second, it's all hotel, which means it has nearly 500 rooms, suites and apartments, which for the size of the lobby, which would suit a hotel a third that size, puts a strain on everyone here. No wonder the desk staff look harassed. However, they are all effortlessly glamourous, dressed Armani-style, and as soon as you walk in here you know you've arrived in one of the hotel hot spots of town - the place is buzzing. The public spaces are cool and light, ith windows and glass doors out onto a succession of terraces. The architect has used glass, stone, marble and ceramic, all in cool tones, with Gaudi-esque chairs and stools dotted about. Vibrant modern oils mingle with minimalist modern flower arrangements to add splashes of colour. Outside, the spaces are beautifully arranged - a series of terraces at different levels, shaded with imported greenery - olive trees, potted palms, and grass, all cooled by a curtain of little water falls falling from horizontal pipes to a well below. On one level is a little plunge pool, on another a small swimming pool (far too small for all 500 rooms, unfortunately), while up yet another level is a lunch and brunch bar staffed by young Spaniards in navy shorts. On every level there is something different going on, which is what makes the design so clever, because the outside space is limited. Just beyond, so you are not sure if it is part of the hotel or not, are all the bars and malls and shops of the marina village, with the beaches a short walk to the left. It's all dominated by Frank Gehr y’s huge steel sculpture of a bird towering over the harbour. Sunday brunch is popular here amongst Barcelona folk.<BR><BR>The rooms are all fairly uniform upstairs, the only difference being views and size of rooms, when they become junior suites; and 5 club floors at the top of the building, where guests have access to hot and cold snacks and drinks all day free of charge in a special lounge, together with various other added-value ser vices such as upgraded soaps and chocolates. It's a Ritz- Carlton speciality (they own the hotel), but here it felt a bit like the executive lounge at an airport.

The decor of the rooms can only be described as fleshtoned. Outside each room is a little mirror and wall table on which is a fresh orchid, and soft music emanates from the Bang and Olafson stereo as you enter. The walls are textured in beige/magnolia and furniture is in pale ash. Cupboards are built in. Carpets are pinky-beige, already showing stains in parts, and all double rooms have little seating areas. Sliding wooden shutters frame the large, picture windows. The large marble bathrooms - beige again - are modern , with separate showers and twin sinks. Double rooms are bright and of a decent size - 45 m2.

Outside in the corridors each floor has matching paintings from modern Catalan artists either side of the lif ts. Once inside the lifts, sweet smells emanate from somewhere. It happens in the Claris too. Must be a Spanish thing.

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