By Ron Bernthal
Barcelona is a Mediterranean city, a busy shipping, fishing and ferry port with numerous beaches and pleasure boat marinas, but there are few hotels in the city as close to the sea as the Accor Pullman Barcelona Skipper, a property located just a five minute walk to a long stretch of white sand beach in neighborhood of La Barceloneta.
I arrived on an early summer morning via the convenient Ciutadella/Vila Olímpica metro stop, a three minute walk through a lovely park to the hotel’s front entrance. A friendly front desk staffer informed me that my room was not yet available, but I could have a buffet breakfast at the ground floor Syrah restaurant while I waited, and/or change into a bathing suit in the Fit & Spa Lounge and use one of the two outdoor swimming pools.
The interior of the property is colorful (red, black and white accents throughout), with lots of wood furnishings in the public areas and guestrooms, and with a somewhat nautical theme. The former ship-loving owner and builder of the hotel, which opened in 2006 and was purchased by the French chain, Accor, in 2009, maintained a yacht in a nearby marina and named the hotel. All 241 guestrooms are quite spacious, about 325 square-feet, the suites are even bigger, and many have balconies, large enough for two chairs and a table, overlooking the hotel’s ground level pool and flower garden and the Mediterranean. The 40” HDTV’s rotate out from the wall, making it possible to watch TV from the work desk, the King or Queen bed, or from the room’s comfortable reading chair. Another nice room amenity is the bar area with coffee/tea accoutrements, two wine glasses, china cups, silverware and a fully-stocked mini-bar. There is complimentary WiFi throughout the hotel, including at the outdoor swimming pools.
The long, rectangular bathroom sink with two faucets and the large, heated, fog-free vanity mirror were unique design elements that looked nice, and worked beautifully. Other bath amenities included a phone next to the toilet commode, a large rain shower head, and C.O. Bigelow toiletries.
Located on the lower level is more than 10,000 square-feet of meeting space, with 10 meeting rooms lit by skylights, and a 675-person assembly hall. There is also a Connectivity Lounge business center on the lobby level with desktop computers, printers, additional meeting space and audio-visual hardware for small group presentations.
The hotel restaurant on the lobby level offers full lunch and dinner menus, with indoor or outdoor dining options, offering everything from salads and sandwiches to grilled fresh fish, organic beef and Iberian cured ham. The Power Lunch serves a healthy, energy-packed lunch in 45 minutes for business guests on the go.
I enjoyed the rooftop pool terrace, with its stunning views of the sea and architect Frank Gehry’s huge steel fish sculpture called “Peix d’Or” a shimmering golden fish juxtaposed against the glittering blue sea. The heated pool is a great place for an early morning or late afternoon swim, year-round, with chaises for sunbathing and a covered patio where light snacks and drinks are available from the rooftop service bar.
The Accor Pullman Barcelona Skipper is within the neighborhood of La Barceloneta, with its 18th-century designed pattern of narrow streets, small parks and lots of trees for shade. There is also a modern seaside biking and walking promenade, many seafood and tapas restaurants, and a plethora of small outdoor cafes. The hotel is also near El Poblenou, a former semi-industrial neighborhood now a vibrant and revitalized urban district with a wonderful local ambiance and design-driven buildings by Jean Nouvel, Herzog & de Meuron, and Dominique Perrault. The neighborhood is also not yet infiltrated by tour buses. Barcelona’s popular downtown attractions, including the Gothic Quarter and the Picasso Museum, are 15-20 minutes’ walk from the hotel.
Accor Barcelona Pullman Skipper
Av. del Litoral 10