The Hotel AC Barcelona in a part of the city that’s new to me — Forum, which is mainly business-centric and by the convention centre. It’s blissfully calm & quiet at the weekend — as opposed to the centre of town which is so rammed with tourists that you can barely move. It’s well worth the 15mins by subway or 10euro cab ride for the tranquility and calm.
I know the AC hotels of old. I stayed in the Madrid’s AC Santo Mauro a year ago, and I have twice written a guide to Barcelona’s hotels for Conde Nast Traveller magazine. They were flag bearers for boutique hotels back when they were the exception rather than the rule in Spain. (Now, even chains like Melia have boutique sub-brands. In their case the ME hotels, and the excellent ME Barcelona which I stayed in last year.) At an AC hotel one knows to always expect modern, well thought out, minimalist rooms, even those in the suburbs. There are free mini bars and always good toiletries in the bathrooms.
I was in Barcelona for a long weekend, and the AC upgraded me to a corner suite — I suspect that this is a hotel that is rammed during the week with business travellers, given that it was incredibly quiet over a peak summer weekend. This suited me just fine — hotels rammed with weekend short-breakers tend to get sloppy with service and breakfast always takes an age. Here the dining room was your regular oasis of calm and I had the pool to myself each morning for my constitutional swim. An easy price to pay for the 10 minute cab ride into town.
I go into the room in more detail in the video below but suffice to say that the bed was extremely comfortable, my top floor location meant it was as quiet as the grave, and I slept well. As for the rest of the hotel, the pool was lovely — although the sunbathing area is quite windy as it is on a high floor, which I guess is why breakfast isn’t served up there.
I was at the beginning of my training regimen when I stayed here and was so stiff that I booked a massage on Sunday evening in the health area. It was one of the best massages I have ever had in a hotel — and I paid 65 euros, which for a hotel is unprecedentedly good value — we all know hotels love to think of a price & double it for services that they think might get expensed.
I liked this hotel a lot. The room was faultless — not a single thing I would have changed, and the front desk staff were universally charming, meeting all my random requests with efficiency, as were housekeeping who were especially cheery. My only criticism is the paid for internet. Accessed via 20euro daily scratch cards, (I’d rather pay for the mini bar and have free wifi), each card is only good for one device. If, like me, you travel with a BlackBerry, iPhone, laptop & PlayBook it means you can only use wi-fi on a single device for the duration of your stay– unless 80 odd euros for daily access is a mere bagatelle to you, in which case go ahead…).
Oh and pack carefully: there are no irons or ironing boards and they refused point black to lend me one — you have to pay housekeeping to do any ironing — and god forbid you should only discover the lack of iron 30 mins before you leave, as you will then be charged a rush fee. I think it cost me 15 euros to get a cotton sundress (beautifully) ironed. This rankled, given that I could probably have bought a new dress for not much more in the shopping center across the road.
Here’s the video I shot of my room. (If you are reading this in my daily email, you’ll need to click through to the actual site to watch this):
Hotel AC Barcelona, Paseo Taulat, 278. 08019 Barcelona, Spain
LLG was a guest of the AC Barcelona for two nights. She paid for internet access over her stay.