Monday 2 March 2009

Hotel Ciutat, Carrer Princesa, Barcelona

With the historic Parc de la Ciutdella, the famous La Rambla, the sweeping sea front and the handsome Passeig Gracia all nearby, the recently-opened Hotel Ciutat is within walking distance of many of Barcelona's tourist draws. Although the sometimes garish paint is barely dry and the geometrical decor is reminiscent of Ikea, this hotel has some style. In the foyer, for example, the large three dimensional line drawing of this quarter of the city is pretty cool. But there is no lounge or bar in which to hang out and the en-suite rooms have thin walls, firm beds, small televisions, thin, rough towels and erratic hot water. Some have small windows overlooking a gloomy, compact central courtyard, but you can get sunshine, and a pleasant view across the nearby rooftops, by heading for the sixth-floor terrace with its petite swimming pool. A buffet breakfast is served in a large and funky, yet uncomfortable, room with long school-dinner style tables lined with benches. Although the machine coffee is bland and the scrambled eggs dry, you can get some half-decent slices of ham and toast, plus yogurt and cheese. Better still, free and reliable Internet access is available in the bedrooms via cables handed out by the helpful, young reception staff. 7/10