One of The Guardian’s hippest new European hotels
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City | City-break
With Barcelona’s Cathedral and the stunningly colourful Palau de la Música concert hall as its neighbours, the Grand Hotel Central certainly lives up to its name. In fact, it commands excellent views of the entire Gothic district and its historic city walls. And, when you’ve had your fill of the Ramblas Boulevard’s tree-lined beauty, the grand Plaça Catalunya and the artsy Born District, fill back up with some of the local tapas bars or make the most of Barcelona’s designer sensibilities with the city’s fine boutiques.
From first impressions, the other third of the hotel’s name – ‘Grand’ – is also no misnomer. Its façade is perfectly neoclassic, with carved stone forming curling pillars while inside a more contemporary style takes over. Here, comfortable, high-ceilinged rooms are a slice of quiet among the city’s bustle, with considered splashes of colour picked out against a muted palette bathed in natural light. Many overlook the narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter as further modern touches are found in the en suites, with their chic toiletries and rainforest showers. Suite upgrades add in generous layouts and views of the ancient Roman walls.
The Grand Hotel’s signature City Restaurant is part bistro and part gastropub. Its menus showcase the best in contemporary Mediterranean cuisine, informed by whatever’s fresh at the local markets. In keeping with the rooms’ contemporary sensibilities, the dining area continues the relaxed, modernist theme while the flavours served are recognisably classical. Think oyster starters followed by chargrilled hake. Dishes such as the steak tartare and burgers provide the more international offerings.
The hotel’s standout feature is, without a doubt, its rooftop area. Here you’ll find the aptly named Skybar where drinks are served to views over the entire city. You’ll also find a pool whose infinity edge laps right up to the roof’s precipice as sun loungers make the most of the view. Back on terra firma the City Bar continues the indulgence, with a range of cocktails both new and old. In between the two, there’s an art gallery, well-equipped fitness centre and a spa that offers a range of treatments along with a private sauna sessions.
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