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Praktik Rambla, Barcelona 

27 Rambla de Catalunya
Spain 08007
Tel: 34 93 343 6690
view web site ›'s insider take:

Like the Hotel España, the Praktik Rambla is another once-beautiful old mansion that has been given a design makeover. The designer in question is Lázaro Rosa-Violán of Market Hotel and Big Fish fame. His knack for creating bold, modernist spaces in historic buildings is evident throughout, with large-scale abstract art, glossy black surfaces, mirror feature walls, and oversize classical furniture. Period touches remain, including high molded ceilings, colorful Mudejar tile floors, and a sumptuous Baroque-inspired lobby. Yet none of this quite prepares you for the rear terrace, which features a giant rippling stone fountain in the style of Gaudí. A "less is luxe" philosophy reigns in the 43 rooms, which feature retro-inspired mosaic-lined bathrooms and simple, Scandinavian-style furniture. Most look out onto either the elegant Rambla de Catalunya or the interior patio of this Eixample block (avoid these interior rooms, however—they're smaller and almost devoid of natural light). Breakfast is served in the funky Piscolabis café.—Suzanne Wales

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