Thursday 5 March 2015

Hotel del Mar, Plaça Pla del Palau, Barcelona

Occupying a handsome neo-classical building on a square near the harbour-front, Hotel del Mar looks appealing from the outside. The interior is less enticing, however. Although it is enlivened by old nautical maps and antique diving gear in glass cases, the decor is pretty tired and the lifts are sluggish. The dingy bedrooms are also drab with plain walls and budget furnishings, but are quite spacious for Barcelona. You'll find a reasonable flat screen TV, a small safe (the key costs 2 euros a day), a large desk, lame air con and an adequate wardrobe. The WiFi is free, but can be slow or non-existent, if a lot of people try and get online in the evening. Still, the en-suite bathrooms are more up to date and the hotel can be pretty quiet, particularly if you keep the window closed.

Served in a very dated dining room, the Hotel del Mar's buffet breakfast is pretty rudimentary. It might feature is tinned fruit, yoghurts, mediocre machine coffee, mini-croissants, cold meats, bread and some hot stuff, including reasonable chorizo sausages. A passable effort, but the staff need to pull the blinds back from the windows and let some daylight in. You might prefer to sit in the sun, in a pavement cafe with a coffee and a croissant. Although the Hotel del Mar falls far short of its impressive facade, it is in a buzzing part of Barcelona, a short walk from the waterfront, as well as dozens of alluring bars and restaurants. 6/10