Executive travel: Hotel Arts potentially the best in Barcelona

Part of the Ritz Carlton group, the hotel offers the business traveller an unrivalled customer service experience.

Would it be an overstatement to say that Barcelona’s Hotel Arts is the best in the world? Perhaps, but the Ritz-Carlton-run property in Port Olimpic certainly has the potential to be best hotel in the Catalan city thanks to its incomparable service.

The Ladies and Gentleman, as the customer service team is known in all Ritz hotels, are young, enthusiastic and personable while maintaining a high level of professionalism. They have a way of making you feel more like a friend, than a guest or client, which immediately helps to set the hotel apart from others.

Better still for the business traveller, they become your local personal assistant. Need to print or photocopy a document? Done. Need a recommendation for good restaurant to hold a meeting? They’ll make the reservation for you. Forgot your cufflinks or tie? They’ll present you with a selection.

My room was in the apartments, the hotel’s most luxurious offering. The top two floors of the property are housed with 28 one to three-bedroom duplex apartments with a full-sized kitchen, dining area, living room, bedroom and a huge bathroom.

Originally designed as hotel apartments to sell, the rooms have a homely feeling with hand-made vintage furniture, excellent views of the city and your own butler, who is on hand to meet any of your requests.

For business travellers the luxury of a duplex – €985 (Dh4,945) a night – is unparalleled. Psychologists say you should separate the place you work from the place you sleep, but for many travellers this is difficult when working in a hotel room. Some suites have a separate desk area, but they simply do not compare to the duplex layout.

The Hotel Arts not only has a desk space with a MacBook ready to use in the room and free Wi-Fi, but a 12-seater dining table which proves invaluable for holding meetings or spreading out large quantities of paper.

The bed was so comfortable that I ended up missing my first meeting of the morning. The five extra minutes of snooze time I promised myself turned into an extra two hours of sleep.

Most apartment guests will have access to the executive lounge that serves locally-inspired meals and snacks throughout the day as well as drinks.

This is one of the best executive lounges I’ve come across, even when compared to other Ritz-Carlton hotels.

q&a home comforts all at hand

Patricia Roll, director of apartments at Hotel Arts, reveals more about the hotel’s business offerings.

What sort of guests stay in the apartments?

We are like a small hotel within a hotel and have one, two and three-bedroom apartments for large families. Most Arab families stay in the three-bedroom apartment and come for two to three weeks. Our August is always filled with Arab guests. We thought it may be large for business travellers, but we have so many executives who come for this.

They love the idea they can work downstairs; they have an entire table to put their papers, they can have client meetings and everything private is separated upstairs. In the apartments, business and pleasure can be mixed.

How do you cater to guests from the Middle East?

We have one amazing lady named Latifa, she has been working here for eight years, she knows every single guest. She speaks Arabic, she loves to cook for the guests. We have the Quran, praying mat and we print out the praying times. We try to have one person responsible for a delegation or guest.

What’s next for the apartments?

For me, one thing that should never change is the personal touch. We try little things, work with experience to be prepared for each and every request. We are making a boutique where we have all these items that guests tend to forget – ties, cufflinks, laptop bags. We don’t like to tell our guests “there is a shop around the corner”.

thamid@thenational.ae

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Published: May 18, 2014 04:00 AM

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