Wednesday 24 February 2010

Hesperia Carlit, Diputación, Barcelona

About half way between the Placa Catalunya and the Sagrada Familia, Hesperia Carlit is well-placed for walking to many of Barcelona's sights, but there isn't much in the immediate vicinity. Despite a modest three star rating and tariffs to match, this hotel's 2002 refurbishment slavishly followed the Barcelona fashion for kitting out an elegant nineteenth century building with funky, modern furnishings. But the injection of style can't disguise how cramped this hotel is – the rooms have just enough space to enable a guest to walk around two sides of the double bed. A clouded glass window might overlook the small internal atrium, decorated with large stones, rather than the outside world. The en-suite bathrooms are fitted with showers, rather than baths, but are well-equipped with toiletries, towels and bathrobes. Moreover, there is a good safe in the wardrobe and broadband Internet access is available via a cable provided by reception.

Resorting to earplugs
But none of these features compensate for the paper-thin walls, which might have you resorting to earplugs to get some sleep. If you can't nod off, you can watch one of the handful of English language channels on the clunky, old-fashioned telly, which is at odds with the rest of the decor. The buffet breakfast, in the downstairs basement, isn’t bad – there is an array of cold meats, cheeses, pastries, bread rolls, plus yoghurts and a mixture of tinned and fresh fruit. There is even a small selection of mediocre hot food – wafer thin slices of bacon, dense scrambled egg and mini frankfurter sausages. But the café con leche isn't much cop, which is often the case in Spain. Perhaps the best thing about Hesperia Carlit is the well-turned out, friendly and helpful reception staff. 6/10