Sunday, December 22, 2013

Marriott's Renaissance Barcelona ... a great way to begin or end a trip to Spain or Mediterranean cruise

Renaissance Barcelona
Pau Claris
122 Barcelona, Barcelona 08009
+34 932 723810

By Jane Feehan

Marriott’s Renaissance Barcelona lies within walking distance of touristy Las Ramblas but far enough away from its nightly noisy revelry.  It was recently renovated and exudes an understated contemporary ambiance. We asked for an upgrade because many hotel rooms in Europe are small and do not have twin or queen beds.

It was worth the 120 Euros extra we paid. The beds were large and comfortable, the bathroom spacious
and modern. If you don’t travel with a power converter, they do have a few available. This will make those happy who depend on a hair dryer every day but travel with the 110 volt model.

Their dining room serves a beautiful breakfast buffet with an array of breads, sweet rolls, fruits, vegetables, cheeses and typical American fare of eggs and bacon. This restaurant does not serve dinner but they do offer room service and will deliver a meal to the bar, which is what we did. Many guests are Americans awaiting cruise ship departures, so the atmosphere is quite festive. The bar staffers knocked themselves out on
Halloween to provide a good time for all.

A number of inexpensive caf├ęs for breakfast and restaurants serving dinner line nearby streets. Most establishments close down in the late afternoon to reopen at 7 or 8 p.m. El Corte Ingles, a large department store similar to Macy's but more expansive (there’s even a hardware section), sits a few blocks away along Paseo de Gracia, a main thoroughfare leading to Las Ramblas. It does not close mid day.

If heading to Las Ramblas be careful with wallets and purses; it hosts the largest number of pick pockets of any city in Europe. Be sure to stop at the open air market, the large supermercado off Las Ramblas. Fantastic seafood restaurants lie along its perimeter and throughout.

The only complaint I have about the Renaissance Barcelona is the checkout process. A large crowd descended upon the lobby desk at the same time and only one bellman was there to help with luggage. We took our own luggage down after we located a cart.  This was very inconvenient as we were carrying four large suitcases. Barcelona is a cruise city; this hotel serves many cruise passengers. By now the checkout process should be down to a science. Last impressions can be as important as first ones … That said, I was happy to see my Marriott Rewards account credited with the stay and points soon after. Their staff is excellent.

A taxi ride from the airport to the hotel runs about 25 Euros; it's about the same fare from the hotel to the port.

Tags: Barcelona hotels, Marriott hotels, cruise hotels, Celebrity cruises, Carnival European cruises 

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