“Fun, friendly, good-value hotel in El Born, with a playful LED light system and a mischievous charm”
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.
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.