Concierge.com's insider take:
Barcelona's Raval district—a central neighborhood just off Las Ramblas—has seen the most aggressive regeneration in the city over the past decade. It used to have underground appeal; now it has wide, pretty plazas and boulevards. Luckily, it hasn't lost its artsy sensibilities, which shows in the Barceló Raval, a striking elliptical building encased in black wire mesh that opened in 2008. On the ground floor, local interior designer Jordi Galí has paired furniture in pinks and reds with madcap lamps, flocked wallpapers, and a curved dividing wall covered in tiny black and silver Bisazza tiles—somehow it all works. The decor has been turned down a notch in the 186 rooms (around 269 square feet in size), which are white with a splash of either lime green or hot pink. Rooms also include a suspended flat-screen TV, iPod dock, and mini Nespresso maker, plus a lighting control panel next to the plump and generous bed. And because the Barceló is housed in a ten-story tower, incredible city views from the giant curved windows come as standard. Hopefully you're already intimate with your roommate, because the shiny, modular bathrooms are open-plan. The B-Lounge downstairs is a hip hangout for locals and visitors alike, while the rooftop terrace has 360-degree vistas and a mini plunge pool—the hotel's free Wi-Fi works up there, too. Come here if you're looking for an edgier neighborhood in Barcelona (think NYC's Meatpacking District before it became totally gentrified).
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