Barcelona is booming. Recent years have seen countless new bars, restaurants and hotels opening in areas which were previously almost entirely residential. As well as the detrimental effect this is having on residents, another, aesthetic problem is arising. All of the new places that are opening are suspiciously similar, as though everyone with money to invest has done a little market research and come up with the same, sleek idea.
This made Retrome all the more refreshing. As soon as you arrive, the reception-cum-bar looks different. Furnished with quirky mid-century items and decorated with bold, graphic tiles which ooze from the floor up the wall, this is an obvious step away from the minimal style that is slowly eating up the rest of the city.
The problem with the retro aesthetic is that it’s easy to buy into someone else’s history – although Danish designs and Italian flourishes (think Sophia Loren and Vespas) are cleverly tempered here by local touches – not least the building itself. The room where we stayed was a couple of doors down from the bar (rooms are spread over three different buildings), and in a typical Eixample apartment which had been converted into hotel rooms. We loved the impeccably restored tiled walls, colourful floors and the high ceilings and elegant details characteristic of this part of town.
Our room was comfortable with a big bed and a lovely, geranium-lined balcony facing onto Calle Girona. Here too were some lovely surprises – especially the book of vintage Spanish magazines – and we loved the curated Spotify playlist. We also had access to what would have been the apartment’s common area – a large (and lovely) lounge and dining area, with sofas, fridge and facilities to make hot drinks.
Breakfast was a nice buffet with cava, pastries, pan con tomate, waffles and fruit. Staff were unfailingly nice and all spoke good English.
This is a good area to stay if you want a quiet base to explore the city – you’re just a few minutes walk to Paseo de Gracia and have a choice of Metro lines close by. One of our favourite bars and a modernista must-see, Café Del Centre, is a two-minute walk away.
The only thing we could fault about the hotel is the impact of its quirky layout on neighbours. Although it was very quiet while we were there, it’s easy to see how the comings and goings that are inevitable for hotel guests might be disruptive for the families who live in this area.
Address: Retrome Urban Retreat, Carrer de Girona 81, 08009 Barcelona
Tel: +34 931 744 037
Gusto Guides received free accommodation at Retrome in exchange for honest coverage. All opinions remain – as always – our own.