When I'm traveling on business, I'm a big fan of Four Seasons. I just want excellent and invisible service and bascically, as many of the creature comforts oh home as possible. But when traveling for pleasure, I prefer to be a "little closer to the ground". I want to know I'm NOT at home, but I don't want to sacrifice service, location or comfort. For this reason, I always seek out the best boutique hotel I can find. And WOW; this time I achieved a new high!
My husband and I and two teenagers spent four days in Barcelona during a three week trip to Spain in December (2012)/January (2013)
Hotel Do is, simply, perfect. A former youth hostel that underwent what must have been a tremendously costly reno and re-opened in it's current iteration in January? February? of 2013, it is 18 rooms of perfection. (Have I used that word often enough?) Located on the very busy and very centrally located Placa Reial, I suspected, regardless of what I read, that noise might be a bit of an issue, but I was willing to chance it, based on looks, reviews and location. First of all, they have nailed te noise issue. Shuttered windows blacked out not only all light, but all noise. Didn't hear a thing until we chose to. The ideal.
The rooms. What to say about the rooms. Dark hardwood flooring throughout both massive bedroom and massive bathroom meant we were traipsing around in (however clean) someone's else's DNA (yes, I'm one of those - lol). Beautiful white linens on the exceptionally comfortable king-sized bed, floor to ceiling, full-wall closets and a lovely little sitting area by the window (I'll attach a photo of the view from our room if I can figure out how) completed what is probably the "prettiest" and most functional hotel room I have ever stayed in.
The bathroom deserves it's own paragraph. The dark hardwood floors continue into the bathroom. A huge double vanity with ultra-modern, sleek and beautiful white sinks and fixtures gave of a very definite "spa" vibe. The rain-head shower, EASILY big enough for two people to shower together - errr....I think ......was a joy. Top-drawer amenities, (a selection of body soaps and shampoos - his and hers ) in pump bottles continued the spa feeling. And then we had the soaking tub. Not only the perfect size, but the perfect angle/slope to enjoy a good long read in the tub - a personal fave. At the far end of this already huge bathroom was the closed off toilet with a hammered (stainless steel?) door to ensure complete privacy.
Two quick and easy points that every other supposedly five star hotel could learn from. Every morning, a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries magically appeared in our room. And every evening, a plate a chocolate truffles. Small, but absolutely lovely gesture. Secondly, a pillow menu. THANK YOU GOD. I'm not as princessy as this may make me sound. I am 56 and have a neck that i would often like to disown. Having a choice of pillow firmnesses and filling was an ENORMOUS joy to me. I don't see that as often as I'd like and truly appreciate the extra effort and investment this option requires on the part of the hotel.
Service. Not ONCE did I call the front desk and wasn't immediately greeted by name. Not once did I make an enquiry that wasn't met with such genuine enthusiasm and - dare I say it - GRACE, that I finally asked what the secret was. Everyone seems so genuinely happy to be working there. Apparently the only "secret" is the family that owns the hotel genuinely wants everyone - including their employees - to be happy. This attitude was consistent throughout the hotel; front desk, bar, both restaurants.
The first night, exhausted, we elected to eat on the main floor outside dining patio. Three weeks in Spain (Madrid, Segovia, Barcelona, Toledo) and the Tapas we enjoyed there certainly ranked in the top four Tapas experiences of the trip. Coupled with a waiter who could not do enough for us and was happy to make recommendations whenever asked and we were seriously tempted to eat there again the next night. But we didn't let ourselves. And I still regret that.
This is already too long a review, but I have to add one small thing. Two mornings we chose to eat breakfast in the downstairs dining room which was almost empty. And both times enjoyed a beautiful meal. Only after we had left did we hear that there is a (apparently well-founded) rumour afoot that the dining room (again, the downstairs dining room) is already being whispered about in Michelin circles. While I can't attest to the verity of that rumour, nor did I have dinner in this dining room, I certainly didn't experience anything that would be inconsistent with one-star. Quite the opposite.
Bottom line: As much as I enjoy finding new and exciting boutique hotels, I would look no further when I return to Barcelona. For my money, this is simply as good as it gets. Period.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In the heart of Barcelona, in one of the most historic squares in the city, the Hotel DO: Placa Reial is a unique gastronomic boutique hotel. Located in a historic building that dates from 1856 and was completely renovated in 2011, this 5-star hotel has a total of 18 luxury rooms, most of them with views over the Plaza Real.The Hotel DO: Placa Reial has a swimming pool, solarium, spa and a carefully selected gastronomic menu based on the concept of local produce and on the authenticity of what is local, presented in its three restaurants: La Cuina, La Terrassa and El Terrat.True to its surroundings, the Hotel DO: Placa Reial is close to the main tourist attractions in the centre of Barcelona such as the Ramblas, the Liceo, the Boqueria market, the Palacio de la Musica concert hall, the Cathedral, the Palau Guell, Santa Maria del Mar, the Picasso Museum and the Port of Barcelona, among others. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel DO Barcelona, Catalonia