Within walking distance of Passeig de Gracia and five minutes from Placa Catalunya and Las Ramblas, the Renaissance Barcelona, previously the AC Diplomatic, is on a quiet street near the inferior Catalonia Ramblas.
It's harbored in a 10-story black-granite building, and rates are very fair for the amenities and high service standards.
Chrome-wrapped columns in the lobby reflect the well-dressed set that gathers here for business and leisure. Most public areas are rich with walnut and mahogany paneling but little else. It's high tech, too; the reception staff works off trim flat-screen monitors.
The adjacent sitting area is arranged with the attention to detail of a Kyoto rock garden. Aesthetic Asian accents and urbane Italian seating complement the slabs of polished mahogany used for tables, stands of bamboo and works of modern art.
The bar beyond turns its lighting upward for dramatic effect, and the interesting brushed-aluminum cubes make for good conversation pieces. A cantilevered stairway leads up to the popular restaurant that features lovely city views. Nicte Restaurant is popular both with guests and locals and offers regional and international dishes as well as low-calorie options. Its menu rotates during each of the four seasons, but the minimalist style is always appealing.
The eighth floor harbors a naturally lit gym (much smaller than the average hotel gym), a roomy furnished terrace, two saunas and a small kidney-shaped pool that is almost anatomically correct in shape and size. Guests who are working out appreciate the complimentary bottles of water.
Seven meeting rooms host gatherings of up to 500 people, a business center provides backup, and modern fire and safety systems are in place throughout the hotel. Expensive parking facilities are on-site.
The sleek, clean-lined guest rooms are done in the same finely crafted style seen in the public areas. Chic striped upholstery covers custom seating, and bright contemporary lighting shines on large beds with linen bedding, on parquet topped with sisal matting, and on original art.
Some rooms showcase new fabrics and carpeting, but all now sport flat-screen TVs. Translucent glass doors slide open to reveal spacious closets. State-of-the-art bedside controls, phones with data ports, modems and voice mail, CD players, teensy work desks and safes bring the list of amenities up to 21st-century standards. Extras such as complimentary minibars and wireless Internet access (for a fee) leave a lasting impression. Connecting rooms are lacking.
The gleaming marble combination baths have magnifying mirrors, attractive glass vanities, WCs with bidets, good toiletries and hair dryers.
A majority (90%) of the rooms are now smoke-free. Room service delivers throughout the day and night. Pets are not allowed.
This hotel continues to offer one of the best values in town although individualized service can sometimes take a hit. Other hotels nearby providing comparable services are Claris and Majestic, but both are pricier. This hotel provides midrange travelers with an excellent option.
Latest Revision: April 2013