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It's the same song every spring and summer--people begin to make their travel plans to Europe, but international airfares can sometimes kill a budget. However, if there's any consolation, you can make up for that top-dollar ticket by staying at these new and affordable hotels.
Generator Hostel, Barcelona
Imagine bedding down in one of Spain's most intoxicating city's for less than the average dinner tab? That's what's up at the new Generator Hotel, which opened mid-March.
Part of a popular, trendy chain, the rooms are located on the top floor of a building. Each unit has its own balcony with views of the city, as well as private bathrooms--a rarity. Fiesta Gracia, the restaurant, is a great meeting place to bond with other hostelers and is open until 2 a.m. There's a surprisingly long, world-wide list of beer, wine & cocktails and even local DJs come to entertain the crowd while they chow on tapas and Instagram using the free WiFi. Continental breakfast is served at La Plaça café. Anwar Mekhayech (of Soho House fame) is the design master behind this hostel's boutique look.
And since you're in Barcelona, more art is minutes away as the hostel is only five-minutes from both Diagonal and Verdaguer metro stations en route to local museums (and even the beach!).
A range of rooms and layouts are available, with rates for dorm rooms (6-8 beds) starting at €13($17) per night and go up to €41 ($53) for more private single/double occupancy rooms.
We've gone over the fact that space hotels in space aren't going to happen anytime soon, but what about space hotels on earth?
An agreement was signed recently with Mobilona LLC to manage the financing of a space hotel on Barcelona Island off the coast of Catalonia, Spain. Details are few and far between at this stage, but we will admit that what we're reading sounds pretty damn cool.
The proposed project will have about 2,000 rooms and residences, each equipped with "immersive wall and surface displays that provide panoramic impressions of the universe."
Meanwhile, in October, a second Renaissance opened in Barcelona, the 357-room Renaissance Barcelona Fira, with a great deal more pizazz.
Why do we use the word pizazz? Because of an extremely original design by French architect Jean Nouvel. The hotel's two towers are connected by a lush, 27-story vertical garden, filled with over 300 palm trees, running up the center of the building. Now, there are 'green hotels,' and then there's this. We like!
If you're looking for a hotel in a vintage building plopped in the middle of a culturally vibrant city? Yep, there's all at Hotel Banys Orientals in Barcelona. This el Born hotel is surrounded by historical buildings housing tapas restaurants, boutiques, cafes and tapas bars--it's enough character to fill a fiction novel.
There are 43 suites in Banys 18th-century building. The lofts have Gothic arches and exposed stone walls while maintaining a modern clean design, loads of natural light and comfy living space--a bonus in a city where rooms can be tiny. Our room happened to have a second story with a sitting room overlooking the main bedroom. All rooms either look onto the internal courtyard staircase or upon the pedestrian-only Carrer Argenteria.
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Indigo fans, get ready to say 'Hola,' 'Shalom,' and....er, how do people greet each other in Wales? Anyway, what we mean to say is that the budget boutique brand, which is spreading like wildfire around the European continent and beyond, has just announced Hotel Indigo Barcelona-Plaza Catalunya, which, along with the upcoming Indigo Tel Aviv and Indigo Cardiff, will mark Indigo's first properties in each of those countries.
Financial tells us that Hotel Indigo Barcelona-Plaza Catalunya will be located in Barcelona's center, a few blocks away from Paseo de Gracia, and will offer 77 rooms.
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No, the W Barcelona hasn't turned into one of those European shopping malls with cars being raffled off by pretty women in tight dresses. The answer is pretty simple, actually: Starwood is gearing up to announce a new partnership to sponsor the Mercedes-Petronas Formula One team, and just in time for the press conference tomorrow, an actual formula one race car has been put on display in the lobby, for guests to admire.
We're used to just seeing cool art, a cocktail bar, and maybe some of that weird signature W grass in lobbies. But a race car? That'll do nicely!
Antonio Gaudi's Park Guell
On April 26, The Renaissance Barcelona will open in the city's downtown nabe near the Paseo de Gracia with 211 rooms, a 24-hour fitness center, the CRU Steak House, CUIT bar and lounge and perhaps best of all, La Terrassa roof top bar and lounge with flowing waterfalls and lounge furniture.
Despite the opening being less than a month away, there's no website up and running yet so we can't determine what the room rates will be like. But given that Renaissance is Marriott's boutiquey design brand, we'd expect rates somewhere upwards of 250 Euros. In the meantime, do not confuse this about-to-open property with the Renaissance by the airport.
A well-known Spanish brand of hotels, Vincci Hotels, will be opening their newest hotel, Vincci Bit in Barcelona next month, and guests will be treated to some pretty interesting hotel art. Unlike other places, where artists get commissioned to make specific pieces or installations just for the lobby, Vincci Bit has tapped seven artists to paint seven different murals in the corridors of the hotel.
Other murals, which are still being completed, have been done by artists from Italy, France, Japan, and, of course, Spain. The above shot is of the fourth floor, where American muralist Matt W. Moore decided to focus on triangles. Lots of them. The whole job reportedly took about 14 gallons of paints and two weeks of painting.
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A hotel room high in the sky with a price to match too!
As if the weak dollar to euro/dollar to pound exchange rate wasn't enough to deter you from booking that trip to Europe, a recent surge in hotel prices provides yet another reason to plan a staycation this year.
According to a report in the U.K.'s The Independent, European hotel rates are reaching ridiculous highs, jumping "19 percent since last month," with popular destinations seeing the biggest increases of all. Per a survey by Trivago:
It was a jumble of funny-sounding European accents last week at the unveiling of Le Meridien's new Hub concept—a campaign that is set to transform all of Le Meridien's 130 international hotels into one unified "design-led contemporary brand." MC-ing the event were Austrian-born Eva Ziegler (Global Brand Leader for both W Hotels and Le Meridien) and French-born Jerome Sans, the appointed Cultural Curator. We think Sans put it best when he described the goal of The Hub as "a way to grow your brain."
The evolution of The Hub's slightly highbrow bent can be traced back to the hotel's interest in cultivating a "creative class" as well as the launch of their key-card-souvenir program, Unlock Art. Both of these elements play into The Hub. But now, with its first manifestation at Le Meridien Barcelona, we really begin to see what The Hub—in all its rainbow glory—is all about.
One of Barcelona’s most iconic hotels, the five-star El Palace has just completed a pretty intense makeover--two years in the making and a cost of about 22 million Euros. From the photos, it looks like it has been worth every penny.
Just check out the bedroom above where the designers have paid homage to the hotel’s 1920’s roots whilst creating a grand, lavish feel throughout.
The hotel was originally opened in 1919 by César Ritz and over the years various celebs have slept in the beds - The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Sophia Loren, Woody Allen, Sir Paul McCartney and Whitney have all been spotted there. Kind of like The Savoy London, only in Spain.
Writes one TripAdvisor who's already checked in:
The Ohla Hotel is new to Barcelona and its recently opened rooms are immaculate and staff are super-keen as a result.
The exterior may be historic, as is the nature of Barcelona, but the inside is ultra-modern and minimalist. How minimalist? It's tough to find the toilet in your room. It's actually hidden behind a moving wall.
The amenities are new, clean and slick, though. My room had a big TV, a queen-size bed with extra large pillows, a large window and free Wi-Fi (very important).