Chic and cheerful in Barcelona
ROOM AT THE INN
CHIC & Basic Ramblas? OK, the name is just a little offputting, too close to ‘‘cheap and nasty’’ for comfort. But having decided at the last minute on a stay in Barcelona, I discover the hotels I know are full or out of range of my groaning credit cards.
However, the recently renovated Chic & Basic Ramblas is in a perfect position, just a few backstreet blocks from La Rambla, with its surrounding great shopping, tapas bars and nightlife, and a short walk to the beach, the port, the markets and the Gran Teatre del Liceu.
After a small comedy of errors finding the place in a maze of narrow, one-way lanes, I drive down a footpath and across a small park (before being shown the more conventional route) and arrive at one of the most inventive lobbies I’ve seen.
A1960s SEAT 600D with suitcases piled on its luggage rack takes pride of place on the polished floor opposite the reception desk, which features another pile of luggage cleverly integrated into its design.
Sixties-style Danish lounge chairs and coffee tables are dotted around and a minimalist cafe buzzes with late lunchers at 4pm. The overall effect is basic but, well, chic.
I’m delighted by the helpful (and multilingual) greeting of the front-desk staff.
Francesc Muncunill — listed as director on the business card he slips into my hand while we talk — explains the group’s philosophy of turning basic spaces into chic hotel experiences before he helps squeeze me and my minimalist luggage into the basic lift for the ride to the fourth floor.
A 1960s Spanish SEAT 600D sits opposite the hotel’s reception desk