We're planning to stay in Barcelona at the end of a cruise in July (2012). We booked a room at the Hotel Arts (Ritz Carlton property in Olympic Village on the waterfront) using Marriott rewards points (60,000 for one night) versus 370 Euros for a paid room. Now my brother-in-law may be joining us there, so we probably need a suite (570 Euros/night) and for a couple more nights. Expensive, but supposed to be top shelf. Any better suggestions? Thx.
I'm not sure that it would necessarily be "better", but you might look at the newly-refurbished Renaissance Barcelona. After some quite substantial structural modifications, it has been upgraded very recently from an AC to a Renaissance brand. It also has an excellent, city-centre location - that is, if you like crowds!
I stayed in the Ren Balcelona after a recent cruise. The rooms are average; the lounge wasn't anything to brag about compared to other European locations. They picked me up at the pier (make sure you have their phone# to remind them of the pickup). The hotel is in a business park not close to any tourist locations. The hotel has daily, free rides to Las Ramblas, a central point where you can walk the city, use public transportation, or pick up a hop on, hop off type of tourist bus. We also had them drop us off at the airport. We had a good time there and would have no issue staying again.
The Renassiance in Barcelona is relatively new, as I was there in Feburary 2012 and it was still an AC property. Having had a bad experience with the Autograph Collection not honoring my Platinum benefits, I didn't bother to stay. I did walk buy the property, and its in a very nice location, just off the Paseo de Gracia, which is Barcelona's equivalent to Fifth Avenue.
Thus far I have made 3 trips to Barcelona, the 1st being a business trip to a conference and I had no choice of hotels. Since the conference was in the Sofitel, I was required to stay there by my company.
2nd & 3rd trips I stayed in the Hotel Colon, as it has a great location, across from the Baroque Cathedral. On Saturday night and Sunday noon, they do Sardana dancing in the plaza between the hotel and the cathedral. When you book a room with a balcony overlooking the cathedral you can watch this from your room. Or if your not interested in watching, you can just listen to the musci. Hotel Colon is also close to the port, and these trips were pre-cruise stops. Usually I walk down to the old port for at least one meal, another in the Barri Gothic, and sometimes El Born, all of which are walking distance from Hotel Colon. And of course there are plenty of places for afternoon Churros and Hot Chocolate.
The 3rd trip we did walk to Sagrada Cathedral along the Paseo de Gracia, and it was a really lovely walk. Decided for the next trip I would like to stay in that area and explore a little more.
When I returned another MI informed me that the AC property is now a Renaissance, so I will try it out on my next trip.