Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Grand 1920s hotel with a chic contemporary vibe and stunning rooftop terrace
Built in 1926 by the renowned Spanish architect Adolf Florensa, this hotel features a striking facade that drew inspiration from Chicago skyscrapers of the time and exudes a blend of neo-classical elegance and Art Deco grandeur. An imposing bronze entrance ushers visitors from a busy roadside setting through revolving doors and into a hushed and peace reception area -- a former carriage hall -- softly lit by hanging lanterns. Neo-classical touches continue, blending into chic modernism in polished chrome and contemporary design furnishings, while the ground-floor gallery exhibits the work of up-and-coming artists. Low, almost gloomy, lighting persists throughout the hotel's eight floors, until guests emerge to the hotel's indisputable highlight -- a large roof terrace with arguably the city's best infinity pool overlooking its historic surrounds. With a sophisticated and urban ambiance, the property tends to attract mainly well-heeled couples or those looking to splurge, as well as plenty of locals who bask in the hotel's bars.
Set between bustling Born and the historic Gothic quarter in central Barcelona
The hotel has a prime position on Via Laietana, one of the city's main streets with the buzzing Born district one side, and historic Gothic quarter -- with its ancient cathedral and city walls -- on the other. Its central location also means plenty of Barcelona's main attractions are within walking distance, including Las Ramblas, Plaza Catalunya, and Paseo de Gracia. The nearby Jaume 1 Metro station allows for easy subway access to Gaudi's spectacular Sagrada Familiar church, and puts guests just a couple stops from the Olympic Village and sandy beaches opposite it. Barcelona's El Prat de Llobregat Airport is a 20- to 30-minute drive away, or guests can jump on the subway to Passeig de Gràcia Station, and it's a half-hour journey from there.
Fresh, contemporary rooms feature excellent tech and luxury comforts.
Motorized blinds in all rooms can provide complete darkness for better sleep and rooms are fully soundproofed (though some low-level traffic and subway noise can be heard in rooms occupying lower floors). Rooms tend to have high ceilings and large windows that overlook the busy main road out the front or the narrow streets of the Gothic quarter to the rear, while some higher floors also have superb panoramic city views. A few entry-level rooms are on the small side.
The hotel's147 rooms are contemporary and elegant in style with clean minimal lines, neutral tones, and wooden flooring. In-room tech is excellent, with iPad docks, free high-speed Wi-Fi, Nespresso machines, and flat-screen TVs with more than 100 channels and plug-in media hub. Bathrooms are modern and fresh with Gilchrist & Soames products and even a choice of waffle or terry towel bathrobes.
An infinity-edge pool with amazing views and a trendy terrace bar are highlights.
The hotel's rooftop infinity pool and surrounding terraces are without doubt some of the finest spots you'll find to enjoy panoramic views over the city. The pool is surrounded by plenty of sun loungers, but it's unheated so can only be used in the summer. The poolside bar is one of the trendiest places in Barcelona at this time, while the ground-floor City Bar provides a cozy spot in cooler months. A buffet breakfast (not included in the rates) is served in the Avalon by Ramón Freixa restaurant, which also serves a menu of refined Catalan cooking for lunch and dinner. A seventh-floor Wellness Suite offers massage, while the Thermal Suite has steam and sauna rooms for up to two people -- though for a hefty charge. There is also a small but well-equipped fitness room that is free to guests.
With an enviable city center location and superb classical-grandeur-meets-modern-chic styling, the Grand Hotel Central certainly lives up to its name. While rooms are fresh and contemporary with excellent amenities, it's the rooftop terrace with infinity-edge pool and panoramic city vistas that really steals the show. A Michelin-starred chef at the restaurant's helm also means outstanding -- if expensive -- dining, while wellness facilities are also high-end, though pricey. Rates, too, are high, so for a rooftop pool for a lower price tag, guests may want to consider the nearby Hotel Barcelona Catedral -- but don't expect the same level of panache.
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