From the outside, the Hotel Berna looks to be another of Barcelona’s art nouveau treasures: with trompe d’oeil paintings. The rooms are third millennium post-modern with lots of very dark wood and black marble (or faux-marble) floors. I don’t know what the original Spanish (or Catalin) was that got twisted into the website description that the hotel is “situated in the neuralgic centre of the modernism.” (A lack of commas also yields “hairdryer in the bath parking.”)
Officially a historical monument, the building was designed and built Josep Cerdi in 1864, which is to say before Art Nouveau and the Barcelona modernism of Antonio Gaudí, Lluis Domnech i Montaner, and Josep Puig i Cadafalci at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. I would guess that the inside was completely gutted in recent remodeling (this millennium, but I seem not to have jotted down what year).
The hotel is a short walk (less than ten minutes) of Gaudí’s Casa Mili (better known as “La Perdrera,” the rock quarry) by way (an even shorter walk) of the famous “block of discord” on Paseo Gracia (and the Metro stop of that name). In the other direction on Paseo Gracia, it is less than a ten-minute walk to the Plaza Catalunya and just beyond it, the Gothic Quarter (with the Cathedral and the Picasso Museum). So I rate the location as excellent.
Though less prominent than the Ramblas and Paseo Gracia (both of which run parallel to it, west of it), Roger De Lluria does not lack for automotive traffic. The noise is reduced, but not obliterated, by double-paned glass windows. Noise goes with location in an urban center. Light from outside could be entirely blocked with (rubber?) blackout curtains.
The rooms (I saw several in addition to the one we occupied) are small-London-small, nearly filled by the beds. Ours had some additional, nominal square meters, but they were an internal corridor three steps down from the hallway (clearly a hazard to any drunken guests and even sober ones might stumble or tumble down them, particularly in the dark).
The beds were on the hard side of firm, with the usual European (unwieldy!) long pillows. The bed lights could have been brighter, though I have encountered many dimmer ones. There was a closet (with many hangars), a safe, one luggage rack, a desk (stocked with stationery), and a television that had CNN (in English and a Spanish version). The room also had a safe for guest use.
The rooms had Internet ports, but I did not have my laptop to test them or to see if there was a charge for using them. (Sorry!)
Temperature control was a bit perplexing, because (on late-April nights), we were not sure whether we wanted heat or air-conditioning. (This should be not problem in summer or winter!)
The bathroom was less cramped than the bedroom. It had a bidet, a detail (/shaving) mirror, a hair-dryer, a deep bathtub with a detachable shower head, thick, large bath towels. Toiletries included two shampoos, two razors with shaving cream, a shoe buffer, and a sponge (which I discovered was standard issue in northern Spain; I don’t remember it being included in hotel rooms in southern Spain…). It was well lit.
The bedroom, bathroom, corridors, and, indeed the whole hotel were immaculately clean.
The included breakfast buffet offered extensive choices of cheeses, cold cuts, cereals, etc., bacon, two kinds of sausage (per day, not the same from day to day), and excellent coffee. There was a “tortilla” (the Spanish tortilla is an egg dish like the Italian frittata, not the Mexican/Central American kind) and eggs/omelets could be made to order. The breakfast buffet runs until 11 a.m. I can’t vouch for it still having everything, but suspect that it does.
Although we had no call to interact with the front-desk staff,other than to check-in and check-out, they seemed helpful and efficient, and opened the street map they gave us to mark where the hotel was for us.
Online booking is available at www.cataloniaberna.com (which has a photo in which one can see the paintings on the exterior).
The address is Roger de Lluria 60 in the Eixempla district (the mid-19th-century expansion of the city). The Gothic Quarter is a walk of about ten minutes to the south, the “Block of Discord” on Paseo Gracia is about a five-minute walk to the west, with Casa Mili another few minutes up Paseo Gracia.
Although our stay was pleasant, I preferred staying in the Hotel Alexandra, which has less small rooms, is even closer to Casa Mili and the Gracia Metro stop, and is on a quieter street (between Paseo Gracia and the Ramblas, at Mallorca Street 251 (though the Berna beds had top sheets, unlike the Alexandra ones; we had a breakfastless rate there, so can’t compare the breakfasts).