The Grand Marina Hotel, located in the heart of Port Vell in Barcelona, has a very modern, contemporary design. When you step into the main lobby entrance the impressive, circular staircase jumps out at you and pleasantly assaults your senses with its symmetry. The designer was also the creator of the pyramid forming the main entrance to the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Everywhere you look there are many innovative and artistic displays, some exhibiting a Spartan, simple beauty. All of the hotel’s 291 rooms are exterior rooms with either a sea view or garden/patio view. The World Trade Center buildings are also visible from some rooms because the hotel shares the space with this complex. Room service is available 24 hours a day.
This location was the perfect relaxation spot for us after a cruise to Egypt back in 2009 so we opted to return prior to our September 2012 cruise to Istanbul. The Grand Marina Hotel is ideally situated for those embarking on cruises because the port is literally just minutes away. However, unless you want to hump your luggage over there, (which we did not want to do) , take a taxi because it is still a long drive out onto the terminal area...it will only run you around 8 Euros. The hotel offers a private car with an English chauffeur for 15 Euros.
The staff are multilingual which is a definite plus. They have all the amenities that are fairly standard for a luxury hotel such as AC, Satellite TV, Safety deposit box, Mini-bar, Direct phone line, Jacuzzi bath with a separate hydro massage shower, bidet, and free Wi-Fi. Some suites have huge terraces with utterly fantastic views, plus rooms with king-sized beds are readily available.
There is a second floor restaurant and piano bar which has light
food such as club sandwiches and hamburgers.
The area is very attractive and quiet so you can have a conversation without loud interruptions.
You can have the food and/or drinks served on the Orange Tree Patio during the good weather months. We had a club sandwich there that was so large we shared one instead of ordering two.
We had decided to splurge and have a great view the night before the cruise so a Marina suite had been reserved. However, when we checked in an went to the room it was only on the second floor so the view was mainly the rooftop of the 2nd floor restaurant (although the size of the suite was great). After a brief discussion with the reception staff we were relocated and upgraded to a Club suite which was unbelievable!
We were given Room 805 and had a private terrace with lounge chairs and a full outdoor dining area with a sunshade umbrella. Unfortunately, the weather was overcast and very hot and muggy. Hence, we didn't spend a lot of time outside but we will reserve that suite in the future if we are arriving during the right type of weather in order to take advantage of this fabulous area.
The living room is spacious and the dining room behind this area is of a similar size. The furnishings reminded me of Danish contemporary and exhibited a classic simplicity.
The bedroom had a king-size bed and lots of closet space for luggage but we never figured out how to put the center bedstead lights on, nor the light on the right side bed stand. It wasn't important enough to ask for help so we let it go and still don't know because we never found the control switches...so ask the bellman when he brings your baggage.
Placed beside the bed we were surprised to see a “Pillow Menu”. There are descriptions of the types of pillows available according to your particular preferences. They give them names such as Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe and Rita Hayworth along with a description of the firmness or softness of each type.
Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s unfinished, but still a magnificent
church, is visible from the higher rooms and suites in the hotel such as ours. You can see the multiple spires in the distance which is only 2 miles away.
Grand Marina has a breakfast room with a fair selection of items since many people book their rooms to include breakfast. We sometimes do, but didn't take this option. We also didn’t try the Aire de Mar (Sea Breeze) restaurant on this trip because on our last visit we were disappointed with the food.
Monjuic is a hill located close to the center of Barcelona that features numerous attractions such as the 18th century fortress Castell de Montjuic that was built by the Bourbons on top of the remains of a fort dating back to 1640. The cable car lift that takes people up to the top of the hill has a tower just outside the hotel but you can’t board it there. It is just a structural section giving support to the long cable run, it is boarded at the Parallel metro stop.
The amenities at the Grand Marina Hotel are extensive and include an exclusive massage service, a gym, Jacuzzi, an outdoor pool, sauna, covered parking, 24 hour concierge and 24 hour security.
After a walk on Las Ramblas, about 10 minutes at a leisurely pace, we found a spot for dinner but returned to the Grand Marina early in order to enjoy the evening on the terrace. It was a great way to end the day. Tomorrow, in the late morning, we would be boarding our ship to start our 12 day cruise. This evening was spent having a nightcap while enjoying the lights sparkling over the water as seen in the photo below.
This Grand Marina is a luxury hotel, and as such, it is not inexpensive. However, the premium prices are an excellent value for the ambiance, views, and close proximity to major sites such as Las Ramblas, and of course, the cruise-ship terminals.
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