Hotel Barcelona Universal
Time Out says
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This Barcelona hotel ticks all the boxes in terms of comfort, modernity and convenience. With 167 rooms, services such as free WiFi and a rooftop pool, and a location that lets you see the main sights without having to go far, the Barcelona Universal is a great accommodation choice when visiting the city.
This is a modern, comfortable four-star hotel that's part of the NN group. It's found at the heart of Barcelona's main entertainment district, between the multicultural Raval neighbourhood and the trendy Poble-sec district and close to many of the places that will undoubtedly be on your to-do list while here. The hotel has over 150 spacious rooms, all decorated with clean lines, light wooden features and calm colours. If you're looking to splash out, take a look at the three suites with private Jacuzzi and terrace. Special features at the hotel include a rooftop pool and two adjoining terraces, providing splendid views of the city. Guests particularly rate the extensive breakfast buffet, which has both healthy and more indulgent hot and cold options; what’s more it’s served in a space designed to look like what would be many people’s ideal kitchen. For drinks, snacks and the chance to watch international sports events, check out The Wolf Tavern, while if you’re travelling for work and want an alternative space to check your mails, there’s an elegant, bright business centre on the ground floor.
Location: A great base for exploring the city, the Barcelona Universal is situated on Avinguda Paral·lel, long renowned as the home to various theatres, concert-halls and other venues; in more recent times, this street and its surrounds have seen a rise in the number of popular bars and restaurants. Must-see spots such as Plaça Espanya, La Rambla and the seafront are just a short walk away. And for places that are further afield, a metro station is right on the hotel's doorstep.
Xemei: You may not be in Venice, but this first-class restaurant showcasing cuisine from that city is well worth the walk from the hotel up the rather steep hill towards the top of Montjuïc. With a quirky decor and flavourful dishes such as Venetian-style liver and black squid-ink spaghetti, the eatery and its creators, the Colombo twins ('xemei' means 'twins' in Venetian), have won numerous fans in the city.
Mercat de les Flors: While there's a theatre right opposite the hotel on Avinguda Paral·lel, you may feel your language skills aren’t quite up to a two-hour show in Spanish or Catalan. In which case, we suggest heading to this converted flower market that is now Barcelona’s main dance venue, featuring classical and contemporary acts from both the city and further afield.
Espai Kru: Indulge yourself with a trip to this first-class restaurant where the ingredients are fresh and the dishes created by chef Ever Comillo will thrill your body and soul. 'Cru' means 'raw' in Spanish and the menu at Espai Kru is divided into two parts, with the main one based on plates that haven’t felt the flame, and includes fish, seafood, meat and vegetables.
Cal Marino: Get a taste of the traditional Spanish bodega at this expansive bar that not only has an amazing selection of wines, cavas and beers on offer but also a range of delicious creative snacks to go with your drink. At weekends, they sometimes host live music and vermouth events.
Good for: Travellers who appreciate modern style and comfort, along with the convenience of being within walking distance of essential sights, shops and cultural venues. Business travellers will like its proximity to places such as the Fira de Barcelona on Montjuïc and the World Trade Center.
Amenities: Free WiFi, Pool, Gym, Room service, Minibar, Bar, Concierge, Laundry.
Time Out tip: Take a step into the past with a visit to Sant Pau del Camp. This church, found just a few minutes from the hotel, has lasted since the time when this area sat outside the city walls ('camp' means 'field' in Catalan); that’s over 1,000 years and it’s a stunning example of Romanesque architecture that you won’t find anywhere else in Barcelona.