Featured in Delitessen – Delicious Destinations for Gourmet Travellers. Aug 2014.
18th Century Mansion turned Futuristic Design Hotel
What is black and white and red all over? The chic Cram Hotel. No joke, in 2004 this uniquely avant-garde hotel in the fashionable Eixample quarter was inspired by the unlikely combo of piano keys and the warm tones of Tibetan monks’ robes. Since then a 2013 makeover has seen it embrace more futuristic twists, plus lighter hues of stone. Managing to be both classic and contemporary, it’s the charming 1892 exterior that conceals how ahead of the game this hotel really is. Once within, sleek spaces revolve around a central circular well of light, alternating between lines and curves and dark and light. As the name Cram very much suggests, the innovative hotel’s cunning use of compact space means the rooms are jam-packed with dazzling design touches – from the scene lighting to the 40-inch plasmas to the designer beds by Treca de Paris. If that isn’t enough, you can tick off a Barcelona gastronomic landmark without leaving the hotel’s classic confines as it houses the Michelin-starred Angle Restaurant from Jordi Cruz.
- Sampling evolved Catalan cuisine from Jordi Cruz, the youngest Spanish chef ever awarded a Michelin star
- Art Deco façade belies an ultramodern, high-tech interior
- Experimental futuristic lighting systems transport guests from siesta to fiesta
NEED TO KNOW
- When Angle Restaurant is closed on Sun and Mon, grab snapshots of Cruz’s creativity at Ànemos rooftop poolside bar
- Fabrics are by Gastón y Daniela, the most prestigious supplier of furnishing fabrics in Spain
- Got room-envy? You can buy everything from the phone to the luxurious dressing gown to the designer ashtrays
What To See and Do
- Feel the bone of contention that is ‘The Block of Discord’, four controversial buildings adjacent to each other on Passeig de Gràcia by the greatest Modernist architects.
- Indulge your sweet tooth with churros and thick hot chocolate in La Granja Palleresa or La Granja Dulcinea, tucked down back street Carrer Petritxol.
- Wander up to Gràcia to dine alfresco in one of its cute squares. Once a separate village, it’s now a busy bohemian neighbourhood.
- The hotel doesn’t have a gym, but guests can work on their beach bodies with free use of the nearby Holmes Place fitness centre.
WHEN TO GO
There is never a bad time to shop and sightsee in Barcelona. However, the bargain-conscious might want to aim for the bi-annual sales running from the beginning of January until the end of February and mid June to the end of August. If you’re interested in a traditional town festival, the nearby neighbourhood of Gràcia has its ‘Fiesta Major’ on the two weekends after 15 August – the hottest month.
Room Details and Policies
With white and warm hues, a uniquely Mod feel, balconies and terraces galore, plus cylindrical bathrooms, this hotel is anything but square. No two rooms are the same at the Cram and all 67 are highly technical in a very cool way. Play to your hearts’ and eyes’ content with the lighting systems and relax in the blissful quiet of soundproofed rooms, which all feature blackout curtains – a blessing in the loud, vibrant Catalan capital. However, beware, the bathroom’s frosted glass doors are not for the meek.
ROOM TO BOOK
To cool down after a day’s shopping, choose the Executive, Privilege rooms or a Suite for their phenomenal terrace spaces. The largest is the Suite’s, with a whopping 40m2 sun-worshipper’s paradise. Plus, a jacuzzi in the middle of the bedroom means there’s no messing on the luxury front. (Set your lights to ‘Romantic’.)
Jordi Cruz is an institution. Three’s a crowd and so the Masterchef Spain judge has four Michelin stars. Merging tradition with modern techniques at L’Angel Restaurant, he has the same philosophy as the hotel. Always restless, the molecular gastronomy chef is constantly evolving his menu, “The creative process starts with not settling.” Get your chops round scallops with celery, turnip and soya macaroni with ponzu sauce and cold melon soup with lime and kéfir yoghurt – you’ll understand why the rest of Spain take inspiration from his innovation.
- Fillet of Roast Monkfish with textures of picada sauce, Palamos prawns, stewed monkfish and a hazelnut Romesco sauce
- Cylinder of lamb with a caramel sauce of stewed mushrooms and garlic cream
- Belgium Ale: Chocolate, coffee, banana, black olive and toffee
- Welcome Cram cocktail of Cava and Licor de Mora or a Kir with Licor de Casis
- Venus ‘Dido’ Montsant 2010 – an elegant and lush vino tinto from the Priorat region
- Elegant, lightly oaked white El Quintà 2012 from Garnatxa Blanca, a variety suited to Terra Alta