We were in Barcelona in July for one night, unaware that Barcelona in peak season would have hoards of tourists in the La Rambla area. At first glance, I panicked, thinking we had chosen the wrong area to stay in. how wrong I was!
From the moment I entered the grandeur of the lobby of Hotel 1898, I practically skipped across the marble floors, knowing immediately it was the best decision ever. With its stellar location on central La Rambla and elegant old world charm , it felt like the calm in the middle of the storm. After flying all night, we picked up a rental car, and wove our way through the throngs of traffic in early rush hour for several hours, getting lost repeatedly.
More than a bit tired, we arrived mid morning, hours before check in, assuming we would have to store our luggage and stagger around until mid afternoon . Not so, the front desk clerk was so welcoming, and uttered those magical words “no problem at all, your room is ready for you”. The incredibly detailed and personal service continued as a staff member accompanied my husband to insure he knew where to park the car.
The room was elegantly chic with linen walls and a simply striking theme of black and white – sounds stark, but it was well designed and sumptuous. Divinely dark hardwood floors, black cream striped chairs, and night tables with wood to match the floors with inserts of black and cream striping under glass . The attention to detail was evident throughout the hotel. A unobtrusive flat screen television on the wall, narrow black console desk, and white wardrobe hiding the safe, bar fridge and coffee and tea making accessories made it a perfect refuge from the maddening crowds outside. As a seasoned traveler, and devoted tea drinker, I appreciated the kettle, and well stocked selection of teas. The bathroom offered understated luxury with marble walls, deep set bath, bidet, and boxed toiletries spelling out H1898 .
H1898 goes the distance to help you sleep soundly. A pillow menu, propped on the night table beside the bed is something I have never experienced before, and totally delighted by. Its pillow menu includes the Memorex pillow, the Airvex pillow, the Natura, and the Plumas. Each pillow is listed with the use, as in the ‘Memorex’, described as “adapted to you’, “to sleep face up and sideways”, the composition, “Memorex black, open cell visco-elastic foam in a double-cotton pillowcase, the characteristics, “hypoallergenic, isothermal and breathable”, the qualities, “highly adaptable”, the height, “medium”, and the firmness, “medium”. A note at the bottom reads “if you want to change the pillow, please call 779.The lobby is reminiscent of ‘Casablanca’ with palm trees, wicker, leather and wood furniture interspersed with hits of art deco. Hallways are wildly bold as if hosting an exhibition with displays on the walls of enormous black and white magnificent images of the Philippine islands captured by the Swedish photographer María Espeus, now settled in Barcelona. The artist stayed for a month and a half in the country, absorbing the deeper meaning of its people, its customs, its landscapes and all those small details revealing the colonial roots that still continue unchanged on many occasions, and which can now be seen as a permanent fixture in the hotel.
I was given a chance to peek at one of 4 Colonial suites, boasting a private terrace, and its own pool. What a treat it would be to stay in….next time, I hope!
The upper terrace couldn’t be grander if it tried with a pool with a spectacular view , a bar and lots of comfy chairs to chill out for a while before hitting nearby sights.
The location combined with the luxury makes this THE hotel to stay at in Barcelona. At the corner of La Rambla, and Pintor Fortuny, everything is a brief walk or taxi ride. No surprise that the doormen and concierge are endlessly helpful with directions, information on buses and locations of museums and restaurants. I personally could leave the Picasso Museum of Art for another nap on one of the most comfortable king beds I have encountered. A nights stay includes a buffet breakfast feast with a huge variety and flavour sensations….ohhh, the pastries. My mouth waters thinking of them. Tiny little bundles of flaky pastry with a dollop of fresh fig, served with fresh yogurt. No simple breakfast, this was a gastronomic experience I look forward to savouring again.
I wish all hotels would have the attention to detail 1898 has to offer. For the central location, book a room while you still can, these rates cannot last for this level of elegant sophistication .
Make sure you venture away from crowded central La Rambla – even a few side streets away, the cafes are less crowded, as are the streets.
H1898, La Rambla (entrance on Pintor Fortuny), 34 93 552 9552,