Staying on La Rambla may ensure proximity to Barcelona’s waterfront, but at a price: the ubiquity of the tourist-trap tapas bars and fluorescent-lit souvenir shops quickly begins to detract from the charm of the old pedestrian streets. A ten-minute stroll (or five-euro cab ride) away in a quieter section of town is Granados 83, a fashionable 77-room hotel that’s pleasantly removed from the madness.
An impressive restoration effort turned an old neoclassical hospital building into a modern boutique hotel centering around a glass-enclosed courtyard. Rich and unusual textures lend character to Granados 83’s spaces: red marble and steel details frame the entryway, the spacious lobby is laid with cool black and white stone, marble-edged corridors lead into rooms with exposed brick walls and raw leather headboards.
Many of the suites are split-level lofts with African zebrawood floors, oversized bathrooms outfitted in white marble, leather sofas, and wireless internet capability. Buddhist art bedecks the walls, sliding doors conceal a flat-screen television in each room, and an innovative lighting system offers enough dimming and brightening features to flatter even the most jet-lagged of faces. Über-modern, yes, but not stuffy: the staff welcomes dogs, serves breakfast until 1pm, and understands that you need recommendations for paella spots and flamenco venues, just like everyone else.
Two restaurants, one Mediterranean and the other Asian-influenced, serve up the standard classics-with-a-gourmet-twist cuisine. In warmer weather, the latter serves by the pool, which isn’t big enough for much more than a quick dip, but is pretty to look at with a drink in hand at sunset.
Enrique Granados 83, Barcelona