Sleepover: Hotel Gaudi, Barcelona

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The Independent Travel

Where is it?

On a side street off la Rambla, Barcelona's famous mile-long walkway that divides the old town. It is opposite the Palau Güell, designed by Barcelona's favourite modernista son, Antonio Gaudi.

What's it like?

An imposing 19th-century building with a Gaudi-inspired sculpture tucked into the sweeping staircase in the lobby. The spacious corridors contrast somewhat with the small size of some of the 73 rooms, which cost about £70 for a double.

What's its USP?

Location. If you want to join in the carnival atmosphere of the Rambla, it's practically on your doorstep. As it's on a side street, however, you won't get the noise. It is also one of the few central hotels which has its own secure underground car park, which has a special rate for guests at Pts2,000 (£8) per day.

Ambience?

A good bet for tourists who want a safe, central, three-star hotel. The only Spanish or Catalan you will hear will be between staff.

Service?

It has a reputation for slightly surly staff, although I found them friendly and efficient, and they speak very good English.

Rooms?

Some of the doubles are on the small side, but there is a good selection of triples and even quads. Hotel-by-numbers furnishing, but, in addition to colour TV, hair dryer and safe, it has air conditioning – a must if you visit in the summer.

Food?

No proper restaurant, although there is a wood-panelled snack bar and a breakfast room. The breakfast, included in the price, is on a grander scale than most Continental ones: there is a selection of hot food, cold meats, cheeses, fruit, rolls and croissants.

Clientele?

All tourists. British, Australian, American, German – the usual lot you would find in any major European city.

Things to do?

This is Barcelona, don't forget. Cross the Rambla and you're in the Gothic Quarter with its twisting streets and tiny squares. Walk five minutes south and you're in Port Vell, the old port which now has numerous seafood restaurants, the aquarium, Imax cinema and shopping mall. Turn left and you are on the beaches and, further on, Port Olimpic. Or walk to the Eixample where you are in modernista heaven amid Gaudi's stunning creations. Take the metro to Parc Güell where Gaudi was allowed free rein, or hop on the funicular railway to Montjuïc, home of Barcelona's Olympic stadium, Miró museum and Greek theatre. But keep an eye out for pickpockets – a major problem in the city.

Address?

Hotel Gaudi, Nou de la Rambla 12, 080001 Barcelona, tel: 0034 93 317 90 32; fax: 0034 93 412 26 36; email: gaudi@hotelgaudi.es; net: www.hotelgaudi.es.

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