Fair­mont Rey Juan Carlos I, Barcelona

Business Traveller - - TRIED & TESTED HOTEL -

BACK­GROUND Opened 25 years ago by the King and Queen of Spain for the 1992 Olympics, the Rey Juan Carlos be­came a Fair­mont ho­tel in 2014. Some € 37 mil­lion has been spent on ren­o­vat­ing all rooms and public ar­eas, with com­ple­tion set for Septem­ber. WHAT’S IT LIKE? Lo­cated in the 25,000 sqm 19th-cen­tury Torre Melina gar­dens, the ho­tel won the Na­tional Prize for Ar­chi­tec­ture in 1993 and has con­tin­ued to im­press with its strik­ing de­sign since. It’s set around a huge cen­tral atrium, with the 15 floors on ei­ther side ac­cessed via twin glass lifts and then bal­conies (there are three more lifts behind these). A new hexag­o­nal foun­tain sits in the lobby, sur­rounded by tiles fea­tur­ing a Gaudi mo­tif.

The re­vamp has been led by Terry McGil­licuddy of Rich­mond In­ter­na­tional. He has clev­erly de­signed the cen­tral space so that a se­ries of arches cre­ates al­most ceil­ings to the seat­ing area, stop­ping you from feeling as if there is a big void above. Dif­fer­ent types of seats and ta­bles also break up the space. It’s a su­perb suc­cess.

Check-in was not per­fect. I handed over my cabin bag and was given a ticket. The re­cep­tion­ist took the ticket and said he would en­sure the bag was de­liv­ered to the room. An hour later and af­ter a cou­ple of phone calls, I went down to get it. It was found in the lug­gage store and I took it back to my room. No apol­ogy was forth­com­ing, and the concierge seemed to think they’d done me the favour by lo­cat­ing a bag with­out a ticket. The re­cep­tion­ist looked em­bar­rassed, but didn’t apol­o­gise ei­ther.

WHERE IS IT? On Avin­guda Di­ag­o­nal, a well­known, very long road. The ho­tel is next to Zona Univer­si­taria metro sta­tion on line 3 and with a direct con­nec­tion on line 9 to the air­port, which is oth­er­wise a 15-minute drive away.

ROOMS The prop­erty has 432 rooms and suites, all of­fer­ing im­pres­sive views of the sur­round­ing sub­urbs. Af­ter the mez­za­nine floor, where the meet­ing rooms are, the floors rise from one to 15, omit­ting floor 13. Each room has been re­fur­bished and has free wifi and a Ne­spresso ma­chine. En­try-level Fair­mont rooms (floors three to eight) are 30 sqm but seem larger thanks to the new fur­nish­ings. The mar­ble bath­rooms have a sep­a­rate shower and tub, and the bed is very com­fort­able. Deluxe rooms are the same size but also have a sofa. Ju­nior suites (40 sqm) are in a cor­ner lo­ca­tion on all floors. Ju­nior Ex­ec­u­tive suites and Fair­mont Ex­ec­u­tive rooms are on the 12th floor and have ac­cess to the Ex­ec­u­tive lounge (shut at the time of my stay as the re­fur­bish­ment is be­ing com­pleted over the sum­mer). Ex­ec­u­tive suites are 60 sqm.

RESTAU­RANTS AND BARS The lobby bar and restau­rant, B24, is in the atrium and has lots of lights shaped like long rain­drops, which change in­ten­sity de­pend­ing on the time of day. It serves Span­ish dishes, as well as wine and cock­tails. The Ter­race of­fers al fresco food, and there is also a pool bar.

MEET­ING FA­CIL­I­TIES Many of the 24 meet­ing rooms over­look the gar­dens. As well as fea­tur­ing a pool, ter­race and lake, the gar­dens are home to three event spa­ces – the Salon Azul, Jardin and Piscina. There is also ac­cess to the neigh­bour­ing Palau de Con­gres­sos de Catalunya, which hosts 2,000 peo­ple.

LEISURE FA­CIL­I­TIES In ad­di­tion to the out­door pool, there is the 5,400 sqm Royal Club Fit­ness and Spa (which it­self has in­door and out­door pools). Tom Ot­ley

Lo­cated in the 19th-cen­tury Torre Melina gar­dens, the ho­tel won the Na­tional Prize for Ar­chi­tec­ture in 1993

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