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Posts tagged ‘Hotel Neri’

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.

Reception chic

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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!

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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.

Our room

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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

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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.

The terrace

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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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Barcelona | Day One: A tale of two cathedrals

Despite all of the travelling I have been lucky enough to do over the years, there is one city which has always topped the bill as far as I am concerned: Barcelona. From the stunning medieval squares and dark narrow streets of its gothic quarter, and the café culture and art vibe of La Ribera surrounding the Picasso museum; to the elegant grid of shopping streets and modernist palaces in the Eixample, and the expansive Port Vell and its white sandy beach, Barcelona is one of these cities which just about has everything a city could offer. If you were asked to sit down at a drawing board and design the perfect city, surely Barcelona would be it: It’s a cultural hot spot, a city bursting with sites of historical importance, a shopping mecca, a business centre, a bustling port and a beach resort rolled into one. Coupled with that is a predominant party spirit, a sense of cultural and political freedom and an exuberance of chic and style which is unrivalled, in my opinion, elsewhere in Spain.

So while a trip to this most incredible of cities last weekend may have been my 7th trip to the city, Barcelona’s multifaceted nature meant that there was still a huge amount to discover, and a pleasant opportunity to re-embrace sites and experiences otherwise more familiar to me. And most importantly of all it was an opportunity to properly inject my partner with the same enthusiasm I have always had for the city – after all, how else can I ever persuade him to move there? 😉

The atmospheric Barri Gotic

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Day One in Barcelona provided such a chance to discover the city afresh. After years of staying in the Eixample region, I switched allegiances, choosing instead the super-chic boutique haven: the Hotel Neri as my base – a hotel which sits at the beating heart of Barcelona’s gothic quarter, and which is but metres from the imposing gothic cathedral. This super central location meant that I could explore this most characterful of Barcelona neighbourhoods with the ease of breathing; a discovery which began on this first sunny morning with the old cathedral which is at its heart.

For all its incredibly imposing gothic structure, its lavish golden choir stalls and its equally elaborate gold-fringed side chapels, the thing I love about Barcelona’s cathedral is the little cloister bolted onto its side which, either by way of tradition or for some other more logical reason of which I remain ignorant, is the home of a lovely gabble of squawking, inquisitive and cheeky white geese. This lively bunch of orange-beaked beauties are just one feature of what has to be one of the most tranquil corners of this otherwise lively city; a space where everything seems perfectly in tune with each other, from the lush green plants which are grown in the cloister’s centre and through which sunlight dapples over the gothic stonework, to the orange trees which are seemingly reflected in the beaks of the geese, whether by design or coincidence. It’s a beautiful space, and easily one of my favourites in the city. But we could not linger – for we had the rest of the old town and the city to explore.

The Cathedral’s geese-filled cloisters…

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…and its imposing gothic interior

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