Award-winning contemporary building designed by Toyo Ito
Opposite the Fira Barcelona-Gran Via Conference Centre
Close to metro station offering direct access to airport and city center
Stylish, minimalist-look rooms with plasma TVs and pillow menus
Priciest categories include extras like Nespresso machines and Hermès toiletries
Broad selection of multifunction meeting rooms available
Formal restaurant and fitness center with “wellness zone” on the premises
Reception desk offers concierge services and currency exchange
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Business-oriented suburban location isn’t ideal for sightseers
Black, white, and red color scheme can feel unrelenting
Rooms in lower categories lack coffee/tea-making equipment
Room rates don't cover breakfast or parking
Situated right across the road from one of the continent’s largest trade and convention centers, this upscale 28-story hotel’s bright red color and unique round shape make an immediate impression. The iconic building (designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Toyo Ito) was completed in 2010, and the 311 designer rooms inside don’t disappoint. Slickly done in red, black, and white, all feature pillow menus, adjustable air-conditioning, plasma TVs, and free Wi-Fi. There’s a restaurant, bar and fitness center on-site. A metro station linking you to central Barcelona is just minutes away, but there’s no escaping the fact that the city sites aren’t on your doorstep. If you’re looking for a centrally located four-pearl alternative that offers a classic Catalan experience, consider Hotel 1898 instead.
An architecturally adventurous hotel targeted at business types
This 360-foot-high hotel -- which beat out Dubai’s famed Burj Khalifa to win the 2010 Emporis Skyscraper Award -- is a showstopper, thanks to both its arresting red color and sinuous shape. Designed by Toyo Ito, the structure was inspired by a lotus and has an off-kilter appearance that evokes the ghost of Antoni Gaudí (the genius behind Barcelona’s most memorable buildings). Like the exterior, the cavernous lobby where business folk routinely gather is distinctive. Naturally lit by a curving wall of windows, the lobby complements the building by continuing the flower motif in the flooring and petal-like benches; color-wise, red also dominates with elements of white and black being injected into the rounded reception desk and low-slung leather seating.
By the Fira Barcelona-Gran Via Conference Centre, about 25 minutes from central Barcelona
This landmark hotel in suburban L'Hospitalet, southwest of the city core, is best suited to business travelers. It sits opposite one of Europe’s largest trade and convention venues, and many companies have offices nearby. There’s a sprawling mall and some major retailers (think IKEA) within strolling distance, but otherwise the sterile area has little to offer. Fortunately for those who want to enjoy Barcelona’s big-city attractions, the Europa-Fira metro station is just a three-minute walk away: from there the onward journey takes at least 20 minutes. Subways running through the same station also provide direct airport access. Guests who prefer to drive will find rental cars and secure paid parking on-site.
Three-minute walk to Plaza Europa and Europa-Fira metro station
Eight-minute walk to Gran Via 2 Shopping Centre
10 minutes by public transport to Plaça d'Espanya
15 minutes by public transport to Barcelona-El Prat Airport
21 minutes by public transport to Barcelona Sants train station
23 minutes by public transport to Plaça de Catalunya (head of La Rambla)
Sleek designer digs with hyper cool furnishings that are still comfortable
Porta Fira's modern, minimalistic rooms have style to spare. All carry up the signature color scheme of red, black, and white, and contain oh-so-cool furnishings that alternate between angular pieces and curvaceous ones that echo the hotel’s shape. They’re well-outfitted, too: All include adjustable air-conditioning, pillow menus, minibars, safes, plasma TVs and free Wi-Fi. Higher categories offer even more. For example, the 484-square foot Privilege Class rooms on the top floors not only have added space and improved views, they boast perks like Nespresso machines, tea-making equipment, iPod docks, CD players, plus discreet bathrooms complete with Hermès toiletries, slippers and fluffy robes. Note that accommodations in the lowest category -- Urban -- have stylish, but not particularly private, bathroom features with frosted-glass shower stalls and separate toilet vestibules bookending glass sinks.
Assorted meeting rooms with top-notch business services top the list
Not surprisingly, business facilities rank among the top features here. The hotel has a business center and 15 well-appointed, multi-function meeting rooms, the largest of which covers 8,375-square feet and has capacity for 750 people. Up-to-date audio-visual equipment, tech support and in-house catering are added bonuses. When an antidote to work is required, guests can unwind in a bright 17th-floor fitness center with work-out machines plus a “wellness zone” with sensation showers, a sauna and massage cabinet (treatment fees apply). There’s a large but sparsely furnished deck for outdoor relaxing, too.
In addition, the hotel has a striking restaurant which utilizes the same colors and design motifs as elsewhere. An impressive breakfast buffet is served here each morning at extra charge, but it morphs into an upscale eatery with an international array of à la carte choices later in the day. Room service is available around the clock, and light bites, along with the expected beverages, can be ordered in the lobby bar. Other hotel features include a 24-hour front desk with multilingual staff; express check-in/out; concierge, currency exchange, car rental and laundry services; paid on-site parking; and free Wi-Fi throughout.