Our week-long trip aboard the SeaDream II was reminiscent of the by-gone days of classic ship travel where passengers had an opportunity to meet each other while sharing time and space with fellow travelers and crew members. In an era fraught with time constraints our “cruise” aboard SeaDream II provided us the luxury of meeting like minded people while enjoying a leisurely and luxurious voyage along the coast from Italy to Spain in the prime of the area’s tourist season.
We thoroughly enjoyed the pluses the sailing offered such as a limited number of passengers (there were 108 of us) and high crew to passenger ratio (there were 96 crew members).
From the outside the Hotel Arts Barcelona looked like another office building with a distinctive metal sculpture in the front. It had a tall rectangular shape and external white metal structures revealed little about its contents. Inside, we rode an elevator from the ground floor to the lobby, where we began to discover the property’s upscale ambiance. Beautiful flowers, scattered in the lobby and common areas, brightened the earth tones of the hotel’s interior. As soon as we exited the elevator we found the reception desk to the left of the sunlit lobby, decorated in sober tones. Having been evicted from our comfortable yachting digs first thing that morning, we migrated wearily to the striking Hotel Arts, relying on the Ritz Carlton reputation for a warm welcome in spite of the early hour. At the reception, Diego greeted us kindly and promised to find us a room as soon as he could.
Neichel was filled with soft sunlight in the early afternoon when we arrived following a 30-minute drive from our waterfront hotel. The décor was contemporary with woods and Spanish style touches. There were bottles and condiment containers crowding the serving stations, reminding us that this was a working restaurant with a strong emphasis on the pleasures of the palate.