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A stunning 19th-century building on one of the world’s most famous streets houses this luxury hotel that offers elegance and style.
This hotel is full of history. The building, constructed in 1881, was originally a private residence and later became the headquarters of the Compañía General de Tabacos de Filipinas; the hotel’s name is taken from the year that the Spanish colonies of Cuba and the Philippines became independent. It was renovated in 2005 to become a luxurious colonial-style accommodation and there’s a range of bedrooms on offer, all decorated in warm tones with wood features and furniture. Spacious marble bathrooms, a pillow menu and free tea are available in all rooms, while the larger ones offer extras including free newspapers, a Nespresso machine or a private terrace. Fine dining is on offer at the Restaurante H1898, which also offers views over La Rambla, while the Bar H1898 continues the colonial theme with brown leather armchairs, wood panelling and lots of light. Up on the rooftop 'La Isabela' terrace, in the summer you can linger by the outdoor pool, savour signature cocktails and tapas, and even breakfast in this ample space with amazing views of the city; during cooler weather it's available for lunch and dinner. Last but certainly not least, the Spa H1898 is for the exclusive use of guests and features a pool, steam bath, sauna, gym, massages and more. The H1898 really is the complete package.
Location: Get to know one of Barcelona’s most emblematic streets while staying at this hotel, which also gives you easy access to key landmarks such as the Cathedral, the Columbus statue and Plaça Catalunya as well as the historic centre of the city, the lively Raval neighbourhood and trendy Born area. Shops, restaurants, bars and cafés are all around you while public transport is provided with metro and bus services within walking distance.
Granja Viader: Yes, this one does appear on a lot of must-see lists - with good reason. A survivor from the pre-Scandi design era, this is traditional Barcelona at its best, a place to drink rich, thick hot chocolate (fresh whipped cream optional but advisable) and sponge fingers to eat while surrounded by chattering groups of all ages and backgrounds. You may have to queue outside for a table but the rewards at the end justify the wait.
Boadas: A small but classic cocktail bar just off La Rambla that opened back in the 1930s – Ernest Hemingway is among the illustrious clientele who’ve enjoyed a tipple or two there down the years. There’s no menu so either order your go-to drink or ask the bartender for a recommendation. Note that there's a dress code to try and dissuade crowds of tourists from simply passing through for photos.
Carlota Akaneya: This was Barcelona’s first 'hibachi', a Japanese barbecue restaurant, but it's not entirely dedicated to that style of cooking with items like a Japanese version of paella and tapas favourite 'patatas bravas' also on the menu. Check out their good-value set lunch menu with soup, a noodle or rice dish, and dessert.
Nuovum: Pick up stylish, original gifts and souvenirs at this store dedicated to products by local designers. Browse the shelves for clothes, accessories and nick-nacks and see how long your resistance levels last.
Caravelle: This minimalist eatery is popular with the hipster crowd, but even if you don’t count yourself among their number, it’s worth checking out for the quality cooking and imaginative dishes that will fill you up, plus they do one of Barcelona’s better brunches.
Good for: Anybody who likes elegant comfort when travelling and the chance to experience a certain yesteryear style accompanied by all the mod cons.
Amenities: Restaurant, Spa, Pools, Bar, Business centre and library, Minibar, Free WiFi.
Time Out tip: As famous as it is, La Rambla is busy day and night. But it still manages to have its calmer moments and if you can get out of bed on a Sunday and head out earlyish (we’re talking 9.30, 10 – we’re not mad), the light is magic and the people few, almost making you feel as if this renowned street was just for you.