It’s all about location when you select a hotel in a fabulous vibrant city and you couldn’t get a better one than the chic Grand Hotel Centralin Barcelona, the home of Gaudi.
It is well positioned in the heart of the city, beside Barcelona Cathedral and Palau de la Música and boasts fabulous vistas of the Gothic district and old city walls.
It’s a short walk to some of the best attractions in the city including Las Ramblas, the Plaça Catalunya, the surprising Born district, the most popular museums, restaurants and some of the best tapas bars. It is also close to great shopping and a good walk to the Passeig Marítim- sea promenade. It is located on Via Laietana, the main street that divides the Barri Gòtic and Sant Pere, Santa Maria i La Ribera.
This stately building, designed by Adolf Fiorensa and inspired by the Chicago School was one of the first to be built on the avenue of Via Laietana. It was commissioned by the Catalanist politician and businessman Francesc Cambó in 1926, shortly before the completion of Via Laietana. One of Cambo’s grandsons, Pau Guardans, converted the family home into the Grand Hotel Central.
It’s a glamorous entrance – think elegant neoclassical columns and copper doors. The welcoming and impressive entrance hall features wrought iron lamps and sweeping staircases. It combines classic style with contemporary, urban chic. Staff are excellent and aim to please. The interior design of Grand Hotel Central was created by Sandra Tarruella and Isabel López to create a tranquil and comfortable ambience – a haven in a busy city.
From the stately 1920s façade to the beautiful Sky Bar the hotel oozes style and attention to detail. Open the door to your suite and you will find a pared-back, modern interior. Historic sites can be spotted out of almost every window – but no view compares to the rooftop terrace.
My room has a flat screen TV, electric blinds, rainfall shower, free mini bar and Nespresso machine. The comfortable bed is perfect for collapsing in after a long flight from Sydney and is hard to leave.
The complimentary mini bear has soft drinks, juice and other beverages plus the cutest packet of tiny Smartees.
The black bathroom is chic with quality bathroom products and a cosy fluffy dressing gown.
It is worth booking a room which overlooks the imposing Barcelona Cathedral located directly opposite the hotel as this impressive historic building provides an interesting backdrop to the room’s sleek, modern interiors.
There’s lots of natural light in the corridors and the large high-ceilinged rooms are spacious, modern and comfortable. There are 146 rooms spread over seven levels.
The hotel’s City Bar and Restaurant is a gourmet haven where traditional dishes star with an innovative twist.
Enjoy a signature cocktail created by Manel Vehi in the sleek City Bar, then head to the intimate dining room where chef Alberto Vicente reigns using fresh local produce in his Mediterranean bistro-style cooking with cosmopolitan touches and a contemporary flourish.
I dined on Iberian ham with fresh bread rubbed with ripe tomato which is a firm favourite with Barcelonians. For mains the roasted sea bass cooked to perfection with porcini mushrooms is a great combination.
Burgers are big news here and the signature Central Hamburger and Classic Steak Tartare has a big following
For a sweet finale it is a toss-up between the Catalan style custard foam and the traditional torrija with lemon curd and cinnamon – the custard foam doesn’t disappoint.
In a city where tapas dominates, a three course dinner is a nice alternative. Service is slick and attentive and the wine list is impressive with cava – sparkling wine and local and international drops.
Finish with a nightcap at the romantic Skybar with spectacular views over Barcelona. It also serves Catalan cuisine and frozen cocktails.
The menu features burrata, green sprouts and confit tomato Gazpacho de cerezas, bogavante y queso fresco Cherries, black lobster and fresh cheese, gazpacho soup Burrata, brotes y tomates a fuego lento Mango and grilled octopus ceviche.
The breakfast offers a variety of dishes just right to start the day and a big selection of fruit, cheese, eggs done every which way, Spanish ham, delicious cakes and pastries.
Thermal and Wellness Suite
Feeling exhausted? Head to the thermal wellness suite for an instant pick me up, then indulge in a great treatment at the elegant spa.
The thermal wellness suite includes a 45 minute private steam and sauna experience.There’s a dry sauna and hammam at a cost.
There’s also yoga on the roof top, a personal trainer can be arranged and if you are into running jogging route maps are available.
The spa treatments are excellent with super massages that ease jetlag and aches and pains.
Quirosport massage is ideal for sports players with body recovery focusing on tension and sore muscles.
Perfect for a girl’s weekend away is the Post Shopping Recovery – put your feet up and your bags down, take a break to recover and relax. Ease away a long shopping day with attention to legs and feet and then you are ready for another day of shopping.
Another the D-Stress with oxygen therapy for face and back will leave you feeling refreshed.
The rooftop terrace offers spectacular views over the city and a heated pool perfect for sitting in and taking in those views.
Guests can stretch out on sun lounges, relax in hammocks, listen to chill-out music and have a drink and snack at the Sky Bar.
There’s a fitness area with excellent Technogym equipment – you just need time to fit it in as there is so much to see and do in Barcelona. Bikes can he hired.
It’s a short walk to Barcelona’s vibrant La Boqueria market that’s almost as famous as Gaudi’s quirky unfinished masterpiece La Sagrada Familia.
Request one of Grand Hotel Central’s ‘local view’ guidebooks and you can also rent an electric buggy to be directed straight to must-see sights.
What I loved
The knock out sunset at the Skybar while sipping an Ipanema cocktail, that arty vibe in El Born, fabulous dining, luxurious spa treatment and the best service – staff excelled. I love Barcelona and loved the hotel even more.
The hotel is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World.