Old Oct 14, 09, 1:26 am
  #2  
DavidO
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Berkeley, CA
Programs: Virtuoso, FSPP, STARS, MO FAN Club, PEN Club, Bellini Club, Dorchester Diamond Club, Travel Leaders
Posts: 1,643
Barcelona Hotel Reviews

Hotel Arts

Originally built for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, Hotel Arts is a Ritz-Carlton property in everything but name; due to the nuances of Spanish law, the company cannot use their trademark in Spain because of the existing Hotel Ritz in Madrid. This is a beautiful high-rise hotel by the Mediterranean Sea in Barcelona, adjacent to the Olympic Harbor. This location that provides Hotel Arts with its most stunning feature — the views — but is also the one argument one could make to staying here; a taxi is required to get nearly everywhere in Barcelona.

A large property, high-rise property, we stayed in a Deluxe Club Room on the 32nd floor, one floor beneath the Club itself. (Club Rooms are located on floors 30-33). The Club Floors are a small boutique "hotel within a hotel" with its own check-in and check-out desk and concierges. Free WiFi is available within the Club Lounge (and I could access it from my room directly beneath the lounge — there are four such rooms: 3204, 05, 06, and 07). A staircase leading directly into the Club from the lower floors is a convenient feature (no need to wait for elevators). The Deluxe Room is large (about 500 square feet) with contemporary styling that alludes to Barcelona's art deco tradition. The rough textures of the fabric wall coverings running the length of the room contrasted well with the vertical "folds" in the wallpaper on the end walls of the room. The muted color scheme was attractively elegant. The bathroom provided a dual vanity, soaking tub, step-in shower, and a toilet behind a separate door. The lights, flat screen TV, and DVD/CD player were controlled by electronics that I could never quite figure out!

I was shown a Seaview Suite (typical of suites found on floors 19-29), a corner room with 1.5 baths that faces the Sea and offers a southern view of the City as well. Book this room for a real WOW experience in Barcelona. Or, for an even more extravagant WOW, book one of the duplex Residences found on floors 34 and higher. I was shown a 2BR Residence with a City View, looking into the heart of Barcelona. At 250 square meters with 2 full baths upstairs and a powder room downstairs, this is the ultimate way to stay at Hotel Arts. Residences also come with the use of a Mini-Cooper convertible and 2 massages per suite - in addition to the regular Virtuoso and STARS amenities.

The Club itself is a beautiful facility with five food presentations during the day including Champagne during the cocktail hour. Hotel Arts has a Six Senses Spa as well as an outdoor pool and jacuzzi (not heated).


Hotel Casa Fuster

Casa Fuster was designed by architect Luis Domenech i Montaner who also designed Barcelona's art deco Palace of Music. Built in 1908, this was built as the home of a wealthy Barcelona family and was, at the time, the most expensive residence in Barcelona. The property re-opened five years ago as a hotel with 96 rooms. The original facade of the building was kept intact, but the interior was completely redone, with the exception of existing columns. The designer's intent was to retain the art deco motif as well as the character of the original building.

The house is set on one of Barcelona's most beautiful avenues, Pasea Gran de Gracia. Having been built in 1908 at a time when most traveled by horse and carriage, the house was set in a location that provided a direct view down the avenue from the living room (the avenue bent around the house). This provided a similar privileged view from each full Suites in the hotel.

I was shown a room in each category — Standard, Superior, Deluxe, Jr. Suite, Sr. Suite, and Suite. The Standard lead-in room type is adequate (about 300 square feet with a single sink in the bathroom and a tub in the shower), but upgrades to Superior rooms are not difficult as there are more Superior Rooms than any other category. Superiors, about 34-35 square meters, offer double vanities and separate walk-in shower. Deluxe Rooms are the same size but also include a walk-in shower; try to book the Deluxe on the top floor for a direct view over the treetops down the Avenue.

Junior Suites are a very nice room product, about 45 square meters with pocket doors separating the living and bedroom areas. Senior Suites face directly down the avenue (but don't have doors that close off the bedroom). The full Suite is a beautiful room with a circular living room right in the middle of the street (as described above). At 75 square meters, this is a spacious option.

Reasons to book Casa Fuster? It has a great location in downtown Barcelona, has the feel of a historic property, and is easy walking distance from shops and restaurants. It also offers free WiFi to guests. However, guests who prefer accommodations with more natural light in the rooms and a more spacious, modern feel would prefer Hotel Arts.

Last edited by DavidO; Oct 16, 09 at 1:01 am
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