One of the best things about barcelona is that you get the thrill of city life and the lull of a seaside setting. Grand Hotel Central is perfectly poised to take advantage of both.

Located on Via Laietana, one of the city's busiest avenues, the hotel is just steps from the cathedral, the harbour and the historic Plaça Sant Jaume. The heavy traffic from the road won't bother you once you're inside, though - the building  and its 147 spacious rooms are well soundproofed.

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Adding to the tranquillity of the silence is the crisp, minimalist design scheme. That's not to say the property is without charm, like some overly modern hotels - this corner building dates back to 1926, and its antique façade has been restored.

For breathtaking views of the cathedral, request a suite on the upper floors.

GO: A double room costs from £255, B&B; www.grandhotelcentral.com

WOW FACTOR: The Sky Bar and rooftop infinity pool - 10 metres of heaven with panoramic views of the historic Old Town.

FLIGHT TIME: 2 hours

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