Attractive meeting and event rooms available with terrace access
Bicycles available for rent for half or full days
Babysitting and car services can be arranged by hotel
Breakfast is not included
Bathroom layouts are
atypical and not all rooms have balconies
Vibrations from underground metro trains can be felt
from some rooms
View of Barcelona from rooftop pool isn’t amazing
At the 128-room Olivia Balmes Hotel, design is king. Almost every inch of this upscale hotel exudes sleek minimalism, giving it a sophisticated, contemporary vibe. Located in the heart of Barcelona’s bustling, tree-lined Eixample neighborhood, high-end shops, trendy restaurants, and the city’s historic areas are all within walking distance. Though the views are better from the rooftop terrace at the Royal Passeig de Gracia a few blocks away, the rooftop here has a pool. Other facilities include Seventeen Restaurant, with a local, seasonal menu. This is a terrific upscale option for the price, but if it's booked, the Hotel Pulitzer Barcelona is also stylish and similarly priced (though its pool and fitness facilities are at a health club off-site).
Impeccable design for tourists and business travelers
This ultramodern hotel pays attention to design at almost every turn, which is evident from the geometric, woven-glass façade -- a standout among the older buildings surrounding it in the neighborhood. Inside, the dark marble and wood lobby is accented by Scandinavian design elements, retro-futuristic white furniture, and bursts of yellow. In a word, the whole space feels sexy. Seventeen Restaurant has a similar feel, with tables on a quiet terrace or looking out onto the street, though it mostly attracts hotel guests and tourists -- despite the chic design elements feels more functional than the kind of place to linger and savor drinks. Guests are mostly couples, but the hotel does also attract some families and business travelers.
Surrounded by Eixample neighborhood shops and restaurants
On a busy corner in Barcelona’s posh Eixample neighborhood, the hotel is outside the historic city center, but the upscale shops lining Passeig de Gracia are just two blocks away and the area is packed with trendy restaurants and bars. The University of Barcelona and MACBA (the contemporary art museum) are a 10-minute walk from hotel, while Plaza Catalunya, Las Ramblas, and the Gothic Quarter can be reached in 15 minutes on foot. Diagonal Metro station is just around the corner providing access to farther-flung destinations, like Parc Guell and Barcelona’s famous beach, La Barceloneta. A taxi from El Prat International Airport takes about 20 minutes, while using the Aerobus and Metro takes under an hour.
The impeccable minimalist rooms are large with interesting design features, like flat-screen TVs hidden in the wall and built-in hardwood banquettes. The color scheme is spare, but stylish, with chestnut floors and furniture, reddish-orange accent pillows and bed runners, and abstract art on the walls. All guest rooms are exterior-facing, meaning no one gets a view of a wall, and they are expertly soundproofed so street noise is negligible. Rooms with balconies are available and Superior Rooms and Suites have sofa beds and coffee tables; all rooms have comfortable beds, minibars, safes, desks, small seating areas, and individually controlled air-conditioning and heat. Bathrooms have Scandinavian-style fixtures and are stocked with Essentiel Elements products. Standard Rooms have walk-in showers with rainfall showerheads, while Superior Rooms have shower/tub combos, and Suites have separate showers and tubs. Though frosted glass sliding doors entirely separate some bathrooms from the rest of the guest room, many rooms have bathrooms that are open to the guest room, and in these cases frosted glass doors provide complete privacy for guests using the toilets and showers. Some guests may find this layout odd, and should ask to see the rooms ahead of time if this is an issue. Cleanliness is rarely an issue, but we did notice some bathtub corners that could have used a bit more scrubbing.
pool and Seventeen Restaurant with local ingredients
The outdoor, rooftop infinity pool, and fitness center stay open late for guests to work out, relax, or grab a drink from the poolside bar, though the views of Barcelona aren’t particularly impressive and rooftop accessibility is seasonal. Five meeting rooms and event spaces, some with terrace access, share many of the same attractive design elements as the rest of the hotel and are available for business and private functions. The breakfast buffet includes hot options, but is not free with any level of booking and is expensive, though discounts apply for guests staying multiple nights. Car and babysitting services can be booked through the hotel, and bicycles are also available for half-day and full-day rentals for guests who want a different way to explore the city. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel and room service is available 24 hours a day, though the menu is limited to small sandwiches after normal restaurant hours.
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