Hotel Arts has an outstanding reputation for being the best hotel in Barcelona. Unfortunately, this reputation is all that is left and the hotel no longer manages to retain that high standard. Don't get me wrong; it's not bad, it's just not as good as it should be or as it pretends to be.
It's impressive upon arrival, but the lobby area is far too busy. It's packed and chaotic and there are far too many staff standing around with forced smiles and artificial friendliness when the hotel would be better served having people actually do something, like checking in guests! In general, for every active desk staff member there's a corresponding staff member standing about in the lobby being nice to you, but doing very little.
The staff are all quite young, most out of hotel school as others have mentioned, and there is very little experience amongst them. They're all really nice, don't get me wrong. They just don't actually do very much! Example, I asked a concierge about the bus tour prices and that I wanted to book online to get the discounted price. Bad idea she said because I would need to go into the city to get the tickets. I said couldn't you just print the email and that would work. No I had to go into town. What 5*GL hotel won't print an email for you?
The rooms aren't bad but they are showing their age and in need of refurbishment. Design and dark woods that were trendy when the hotel was built in 1992, but out of date now, and chipped and scratched to the max. The B&O electronics in the room again were trendy when the place was built, but they are now out of date: too small, and not high def. Also, the absence of free in-room WiFi is tragic in this day and age for a putatively 5*GL hotel. Get real! The free WiFi in the lobby is small consolation, but that is the reason the lobby is so busy and packed. It's also painfully slow.
The lounge for Marriott Rewards members is a really nice touch, but it too is plagued with problems. After 5 minutes, everything runs out and the staff have to run off to get coffee, water, ice, glasses, cups, croissants, etc. I like the lounge. I applaud you for doing it and rewarding frequent guests, but if you are going to do it, do it right. The place would almost be better off without it as it currently stands.
Prices here are pretty extreme too. €26 for a poolside burger? Forget it, go to the Delicamon cafe next door and grab one for €2.60. €50 PER NIGHT parking. Forget it, park in a secure underground car park nearby for about €68 for the week. Anytime you want to go anywhere they suggest cabs. Forget it, take the metro. There's a stop nearby and it's faster. €9.80 for 10 journeys.
Overall, this is great place, but it's gotten shabby around the edges and trying to gloss over material failings with smiles and chirpy multinational voices through a corporate veneer will get you nowhere. I wish I had visited this hotel in its heyday before it was bought over by Marriott/Ritz Carlton and lost its identity.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Thank you very much for taking the time to make us aware of your concerns, following your stay in august.
I am sorry that your visit to Hotel Arts was no up to the excellent standards you expected and I ask you to accept my sincerest apologies. I can understand your disappointment about the shortcomings you have experienced. Our teams strive to provide the highest level of service every day and I can assure you to follow up on your review in order to avoid any of the issues you highlighted in the future.
I would appreciate to have the chance to talk about your stay in more detail and I invite you to provide your contact data to hotel.arts[at]ritzcarlton.com or calling +34 93 221 1000. As soon as I have received your call or e-mail, I will return it personally.
I sincerely hope to get the chance to welcome you back one day in order to give you the excellent experience you expected.
Hotel Arts Barcelona
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.