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Pau Claris, 150 Barcelona 08009 Spain. Tel: +34 93 487 6262 Fax:

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      30.09.2001 01:18
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      The Claris is a 5* deluxe hotel - & not at all 'stuck up', the doormen never batted an eyelid when we turned up in shorts and tatty T-shirts. Staff are very professional and multi lingual. Public areas very swish and the whole hotel is centered round an internal courtyard/ atrium. Rooms are very well appointed - although some are small for the money. One of the best bits is the rooftop area where you can sunbathe and dip in the (small) pool - this is very handy for getting away from the heat and the streets - it's not often that you get outdoor facilities like this in the centre of Barcelona. The owner is an art collector and puts his collections on display for all to enjoy - the collection in the Claris is Egyptian and very interesting (it's actually listed in some guide books). Location is hard to beat - just off the Paseig de Gracia and so most places can be walked to. The hotel is part of a small group called Derby hotels. The others are cheaper and still have very good locations and set up. I have also stayed at the Balmes, which also has a small pool and garden for guest use - again very handy. The other hotels are Astoria, Gran Derby and Derby. Based on what I have experienced at the Claris and the Balmes - I would be prepared to use any of the others. Andrew

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