Friday 21 August 2009

Hotel Petit Palace Museum, Carrer de la Diputació, Barcelona

On the outside, the Petit Palace Museum is a distinguished nineteenth century building. On the inside, it is very much a funky twenty-first century hotel, conveniently-located on the southern edge of Barcelona's smart Eixample district. The centrepiece of the stylish foyer is a grand piano, framed by white pillars, lit by arty blue lighting and flanked by big leather armchairs and sofas. On hand, are several Internet-connected laptops for the use of guests and some weighty books about Catalan artists, while opposite the lifts is an amusing mini-sofa in the shape of some big red lips.

Very quiet and very dark
With very high ceilings, the family rooms are large, spacious and even chic. The decor is a mix of bare brick walls and panels decorated in swirling patterns of charcoal and other sober colours, while a large tear-drop-shaped light hangs from the ceiling. The surprisingly high bunk beds each have their own miniature television, while the big double bed faces a large, flat screen TV and there is a laptop on the desk. A high-tech safe is hidden away in the wardrobe, there is a jacuzzi bath in the sleek modern bathroom, which is up a few steps, and the air-con is efficient and quiet. If there are five of you, an extra bed costs 30 euros a night. The only disappointment is the mundane view of the rear of buildings from the glass-doors opening on to a tiny, narrow balcony. The rooms are reasonably-priced and well sound-proofed, but you may want to skip the buffet breakfast. Rather than pay 15 euros a head and eat in the Hotel Petit Palace Museum's daylight-deprived basement, you might prefer to order a coffee and a croissant from one of the many pavement cafes nearby. 8/10