Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Pullman Barcelona Skipper

2 Nov 2009 by Mark Caswell

What’s it like? Formerly known as Hotel AB Skipper, this property was taken over by Accor earlier this year (see online news July 6), and rebranded under the group’s growing Pullman portfolio. The hotel was only opened in 2006 so there hasn’t been a refurbishment programme other than the necessary rebranding, but in any case both the public areas and guest rooms still feel contemporary and well maintained.

Where is it? In the Port Olympic district, now one of the most popular areas in the city. The property is next to the Hotel Arts (a Ritz-Carlton property), and overlooks the sea, the port, and Frank Gehry's famous Fish sculpture. The nearest metro station is Ciutadella Vila Olimpica on line L4 (five to ten minutes walk), four stops from the popular Passeig de Gracia shopping district.

Room facilities Décor is a smart dark red and grey, and all rooms aside from the suites are broadly speaking the same size and enjoy the same features amenities, apart from the  balconies which are reserved for Superior rooms and suites. My room had great views over the hotel's ground-floor swimming pool, as well as Gehry’s Fish glimmering on the coastal boardwalk, and across to the Port Olympic and the sea. A floor-to-ceiling sliding door opened on to a good size balcony with two chairs and a table.

Room features include a flatscreen TV, free wifi, a leather armchair and side table, a desk with standing lamp, a minibar, tea and coffee facilties, iron and ironing board, separate bath and shower in the bathroom, and a large basin with two sets of taps.

The hotel's interior designer obviously had a thing for doors, as there are a couple of quirky features in the rooms. In the bathroom there is one door which slides between the shower and the adjacent toilet – fine for a lone guest, but for couples it could mean losing either water or dignity. Then in the corridor by the bathroom there is a heavy floor-to-ceiling door which can be used to separate the sleeping area from the cupboards and bathroom. In this case it's not a great deal of use for a lone traveller (except to block out any residual noise from the hotel corridor), but could be useful for couples getting up at different times.

The result of the recent rebranding is that some elements of the room still bear the old AB Skipper branding (such as the towels, bathrobes and guest literature). The beds will also not be replaced with the Accor signature “My Bed” for the time being, although I found the existing mattress to be very comfortable anyway. The AB legacy has also left behind a few bonuses which are not Pullman standard requirements, such as a pillow menu and DVD players in every room.

Restaurants and bars The hotel’s restaurant is called Syrah Mediterrani, and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with terrace dining between June and September. Blend Bar and The Living (a separate lounge smoking area) are both located on the ground floor and are open till 1.30am. Note that the latter will have to change next year when new laws regarding smoking in public places come into force. The hotel’s location in Port Olympic means there are plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from for those wishing to dine close to the hotel.

Business and meeting facilities The hotel’s meeting facilities are located on the basement level, with a central triangular atrium allowing natural light into the foyer and Grand Ballroom. This 684 sqm space accommodates up to 675 people theatre-style, and can be divided into four smaller areas. A block of flexible spaces on the same floor offers up to seven meeting rooms of varying sizes, and there is a 24-hour business centre, as well as direct access to the hotel’s car park, allowing car launches to take place.

Leisure facilities There are two outdoor swimming pools, one on the ground floor terrace area, and another on the rooftop with views of the marina, and where there is also a hot tub. Until recently the hotel had a fitness centre and spa on the rooftop level, but the latter has had to close due to a planning disagreement.

Verdict A modern hotel in a great location for both the beach and city centre. Rooms are well equipped and the choice of two swimming pools is a bonus.

Fact file

How many rooms? 241, of which 154 are Classic Rooms, 65 are Superior Rooms, 11 are Deluxe Rooms, five are Junior Suite (City View), and six are Junior Suite (Garden/Sea View).

Room highlights The large balcony, comfortable bed and modern bathroom facilities

Price Online rates for a one-night midweek stay in a Classic room in mid November start from €180.

Contact Pullman Barcelona Skipper, 10 Avenida del Litoral, Barcelona; tel +34 932 216 565;

Mark Caswell

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