Barcelona | The Hotel Neri
For years I have walked past the Hotel Neri on C/ Sant Sever, nestled as it is in the atmospheric narrow streets of Barcelona’s gothic quarter, and swooned in admiration: Admiration for a hotel so perfectly situated in between the old gothic Cathedral and the church of Santa Maria del Pi; for the sophistication of its low lit interiors, its large plate glass doors and its stylised furnishings, all of which I had peeked when I passed by its windows; and for the preeminent offerings of its esteemed restaurant, which I first sampled back in 2010. But come 2014, the opportunity finally arose to upgrade from diner to full-time guest, as I took my place in this wonderful hotel – albeit, sadly, for a mere 3 days and nights.
The striking design of the Hotel Neri, which is a member of Relais and Chateau, and part of the Anima Hotels group, is obvious from the moment you first walk into the ambient reception via the beautifully renovated Sant Sever entrance. The interior designer, Cristina Gabás, has combined the historical aspects of this building, some of which dates back to the 12th century, with the sleek modernity which goes hand in hand with the boutique quality which characterises this hotel. With low hanging lights and heavy dark green velvet curtains; large areas of glass set within rough stone and alongside elegant crystal chandeliers, the reception is the ultimate showcase to the high standard of design chic which is consistent throughout the hotel.
One of our favourite areas was an inner courtyard towards the back of the hotel. Glassed over at the top and plunging through the entire height of the hotel, this open courtyard area lent light and airyness to the hotel, while a large botanical design tapestry hanging down the entire height gave further freshness and dynamism to the design. And if that image represented the jungle, the huge vivid red cushion-come-sculture at the foot of the tapestry must have been the exotic fruit. It was surely comfortable to lie out on!
Heading upstairs, past conveniently placed armchairs and cool twig framed mirrors hanging upon the minimalist walls, we were introduced to the room which was to become our own personal piece of Barcelona for the three nights of our stay. Having opted for a junior suite, we were in for a treat. Looking onto the stunning Plaça Sant Felip Neri which featured in my post yesterday, our large spacious room came with its own lounge area, three big windows, and a bathroom which was tiled with rough stone which sparkled in the light – I adored taking a bath in these surroundings, not least amongst all of that rough stone which seemed to have been cut so roughly that I felt as though I was bathing in the middle of a quarry.
As if further plaudits for the hotel were necessary, there were two further areas which made our stay in the hotel such a memorable pleasure – first, taking a daily breakfast in the hotel’s “library”. For such a small space, breakfast was done in style. With a starting round of cold meats, pastries and fruit brought to the table automatically, this already generous spread was then supplemented by your choice of cooked breakfast from an extensive menu. My particular favourite was the option of fresh pancakes served with syrup and berries – an undoubtedly fine way to start the day, and well timed too – it was, after all, the weekend before Shrove Tuesday.
Breakfast in the library
Our second Hotel Neri highlight had to be the little roof terrace. Set up on the fourth floor of the hotel, with views over the rooftops of nearby gothic quarter properties, and with vistas further afield towards Tibidabo possible, the terrace offered both a unique viewpoint onto Barcelona, as well as a perfectly cosy and intimate open space. Filled with comfortable furnishings (including two very tempting hammocks) and surrounded by walls bursting with climbing flowering plants hung with little lanterns, it really was the ideal as far as garden terraces go, and made for the perfect location to enjoy an afternoon rest over a cup of tea and a bowl of mouth-wateringly good orange ice cream, as we were to discover.
So as if it weren’t obvious from the above, I cannot sing the praises of the Hotel Neri enough. I’m almost loathe to recommend it, for fear that it will become too popular and I will never get to go back there. But how can I do otherwise? For a Barcelona stay, it’s simply the perfect choice – for an unbeatable location, for the very best of quality service, and for a unique and ultimately pleasurable stay from breakfast until bed.
More information on the Hotel Neri can be found here.
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