From Here to Infinity

Grand Hotel Central, Barcelona, Spain

The day began with a cortado, then a panoply of Catalan delights: buskers on Las Ramblas, juicy bacalao with pine nuts, aged wine from Penedès, a Miró you had never seen before. It led you here, to the roof terrace, your tanned limbs draped lazily across a lounger, your finger tracing the circumference of a glass. You stare dreamily toward the pool—a translucent watery rectangle that stretches to the roof’s edge—then beyond, over the medieval rooftops of El Born. Suddenly you feel his eyes on your body. It’s him—you were hoping it would be him. Hesitant words are exchanged, his laughter and yours tangling in the billowy evening air. His voice grows warmer, fuller. You sip from your glass and taste summer and Spain and the taut beauty of a moment snatched away from the indomitable passing of time.

“Barcelona, an admirable city, a city full of life, intense, a port open to the past and future…” Le Corbusier

THE HOTEL — Though its rooftop infinity pool feels like the apex of contemporary global luxury, Grand Hotel Central is both an ode to the golden age of travel and an homage to its environment. Housed in a 1920s-era office tower in Barcelona’s medieval El Born neighborhood, Grand Hotel Central evokes the splendor of Barcelona's high society in the early part of the 20th century, while Catalan culture permeates the guest’s experience, from local owner Pau Guardans’ personal neighborhood guide to the locally sourced cuisine that is attracting an international clientele.

"Every location has its own distinct personality." Pau Guardans – Owner of Grand Hotel Central

There are entrepreneurs who ride trends and there are those who drive them. Pau Guardans, a Barcelona native and veteran hotelier, is decidedly of the latter kind. As co-founder and director of the successful chain AC Hotels, he helped introduce design into the Spanish hospitality sector. Then in 2005, he struck out on his own with Grand Hotel Central, once again driving the market into the future, but this time by looking toward the past. Guardans’ own history ties him to Barcelona: He grew up in its medieval cobble-stoned squares and colorful markets in a prominent family that has been devoted to Catalan culture for generations.

Grand Hotel Central, Barcelona, Spain

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