city in space - locations

Gran Hotel Calderón

Barcelona has a huge amount of hotels, of every category and price bracket. Many were converted or renovated for the Summer Olympics of 1992, often simply and without consideration for local design traditions. The lobbies were given glass doors and marble tiles; lounges, bars and hotel rooms were adapted to conform to international standards. There are exceptions, however. The Hotel Park for instance: built between 1950 and 1953 by Antoni de Morages Gallissà in the style of an Italian Organismo, it was cautiously restored by his son in 1990. The green-tiled bar, filled with the organic shapes of the fifties, is a place of calm and a halfway house. The four-star hotel Terramar in Sitges, the seaside resort not far from Barcelona, has also been preserved in its original form. Francisco Marcé, the architect of this early example of terraced construction, is also the hotel proprietor and lives on the top floor apartment today. In the pale winter sunshine this building - one of the first grand hotels along the Spanish coast - looks like something from outer space. The kidney-shaped swimming pool set into the terrace presages summertime. In the hottest months, the freshness of the bright and cool materials in the stairwell section leading up to the 209 hotel rooms exerts a pleasant effect on pool guests heading back to their rooms. In contrast, the hotel bar is as opulent as a fine glass of Hennessy. Deep, upholstered leather chairs stand in front of the bar, on the red carpet. The sweep of the balustrade between the bar and the windows is echoed and enhanced by small bar tables and red chairs with spindly legs, standing on a black marble floor.