Chic & Basic Born

El Born, Barcelona, Spain Book from

Reviewed by Kate Parsons
Fun, friendly, good-value hotel in El Born, with a playful LED light system and a mischievous charm
This hotel does what it says on the tin: chic white rooms in the centre of Barcelona. But it’s got a funky edge, too - and that's what makes it stand out from the crowd. Each room has a remote-controlled LED light system; spin the dial and transform your white space into disco land. Feeling cheeky? The in-room showers, just feet from the bed, have a crystal effect LED curtain for ‘modesty’. Spin again and the shower curtain transforms into a colourful, shimmering showcase. It’s not for the fainthearted, but extroverts will love it.

Instead of in-room tea trays, there’s a sociable 'help yourself' drinks area, where you'll find a coffee machine, blended teas and mineral water, all on the house. The building itself is over 200 years old and features a fabulous sweeping staircase. And best of all, you’re in the trendy Born area, surrounded by great bars, boutiques and restaurants.


  • Good value, suiting a young hip crowd
  • Hands-on manager Stephan and his young team are always around and happy to help; they also give their Barcelona guide
  • Great location, within walking distance of Las Ramblas, the beach and the Gothic Quarter
  • A perfect pied-a-terre for the modern traveller: free WiFi throughout, mineral water and gadgets galore
  • Bikes to hire so you can sightsee on 2 wheels


  • Rooms are small and there are no wardrobes, just hanging space. Double Interior rooms only have windows looking onto a corridor, but they have skylights too so aren't too dark
  • Hi-tech can mean high-drama when things don't work - we witnessed a few guests having key problems on our visit
  • This is a quirky hotel with its own flamboyant style - if you like a proper bathroom, look elsewhere

Best time to go

Any time of year is fun in Barcelona. We recommend autumn and spring as the best times to visit, when it's a little cooler, but it is vibrant and busy all year round.

Our top tips

This place will suit funky couples, young solo travellers and open-minded business types. This is not a great hotel for families, although children are welcome and would probably enjoy the LED light system. We don't advise this hotel for business colleagues sharing a room!

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
City Style
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 31
  • Breakfast only (+ walk to restaurants)
  • Aged 12+ welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available


Chic & Basic Born offers minimalist, monochromatic rooms: white bed, white walls and dark wood floors. It all seems rather anaemic - until, that is, you start playing with the LED remote control which bathes the room in racy red, calming blue, vivid green or mellow yellow. Or set it to play a rainbow of colours if you can't decide - endless fun.

The larger rooms which we saw were more than spacious enough for a 2 people on a short break, though the smaller rooms might be a bit cramped, especially if you have lots of shopping. That said, a large, comfy bed takes centre stage in every room and we slept very soundly.

But it's the bathroom - if you can call it that, since it's actually an integral part of the bedroom - which is the piece de resistance. Roll out of bed, slip through another fibre optic curtain, and you're in the shower. Off to one side is a glass basin, while a separate cubicle houses the loo. It's fun and unusual, if not for prudes or traditionalists - though the beautiful Moorish tiled floors should please everyone. Slippers and a hairdryer are provided in all rooms.

You won't find a wardrobe, but there is a hanging rack for most of your clothes. A goodie bag contains honey and almond soap, shower gel, a notepad and a free cocktail voucher, plus some lollipops (yes, lollipops). Nothing is taken too seriously here, but you should find everything you need, presented in a quirky style.

The Double Interiors' windows look onto a corridor as opposed to outdoors. Standard and Superior rooms have tiny balconies overlooking the street - more for the pigeons than for you to sit out on the stools. The road is noisy with the windows open, but you can close the doors and chill out with in-room air-conditioning.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Ipod dock
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi


Breakfast is the usual fare of cereals, juice, bread, pastries and ham and cheese, plus the option to try to traditional pan tomat - a Catalan breakfast staple. It is served in the dining area, just off the lobby. Drinks are also served here throughout the day.

The local area is teeming with fantastic places to eat and drink, covering every budget. Cafe Kafka is a great option - its chef trained in a famous cookery school and turns out modern Catalan food with a twist. We also like Salero for curry, La Cuina de Santa Catalina for sushi, and Kitchen for a lovely environment. For cool modern Catalan fare, try Comerc 24, just 5 minutes away. Va de Vi on Caller Banys Vells is a well-known wine bar, stocking over 1000 different bottles, many of which you can sample by the glass. Try Gimlet (Caller Rec) for old fashioned cocktails, open until 3am daily.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Restaurants nearby


  • The Parc de la Ciutadella is situated at the end of the street. You can explore the Parc Zoologic and the arboretum amongst other things

  • You can't visit Barcelona without seeing some of Gaudi's incredible buildings - Park Guell and the iconic La Sagrada Familia are easy to get to

  • Visit the markets - Santa Catalina is the nearest to the hotel but the world renowned Boqueria is also easy to walk to

  • Pop into the chocolate museum over the road for all things cocoa-related, or walk to the Picasso Museum but make sure you go early - this one is always packed

  • Shop in any of the boutiques in the Born or the more glamorous designer stores on Passeig de Gracia

  • Relax at the newly restored Arab Baths - steam baths, hammam and massages are available (22 Passeig Picasso, 902 555 789)

  • Visit the magic shop on Calle Princessa - established in 1890!

  • For decadent desserts and chocolates, head to Bubo on Calle Caputxes

  • Hit the beach - Barceloneta is only 15 minutes away

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures


Children 12+ are welcome at the hotel but it does not provide any babysitting or other child services. There are a couple of rollaway beds which can fit in the larger rooms

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra Beds Available

Kid Friendly:

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