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Hotel 1898 review: a sumptuously peaceful retreat with wonderful rooftop pool right in the centre of Barcelona, Spain

• Rating: 8/10
Rooms at Hotel 1898 start from 
$195 (£165) a night
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During a three-month remote working stint travelling across Spain, I made it my mission to seek out the coolest Airbnb’s and hotels the country had to offer. From The Principal Madrid’s dreamy secluded roof terrace and modern monochrome rooms, to a five-star stay at Relais & Chateaux Heritage Madrid Hotel, and not forgetting Valencia and Barcelona’s seriously chic Airbnb interiors—I found places for all tastes and all budgets. Hotel 1898, overlooking Barcelona’s Las Ramblas should be noisy and crowded thanks to its prime location, but in reality, it’s a peaceful haven right in the centre of the city and one that provides a welcome escape from the bustle just outside. The main draw, aside from the hotel’s spacious rooms is the rooftop pool and red and blue striped daybeds, meaning you don’t even need to hit the beach for some chill time. 

rooftop pool at hotel 1898 in barcelona Spain
Hotel 1989's roof-top pool

What’s the vibe at Hotel 1898?

From the outside, the natural stone facade from Barcelona’s Montiuïc Mountain gives Hotel 1898 with its nine floors a rather dramatic feel. The place was originally built in 1880 as the former headquarters of the Philippines General Company of Tobacco, but underwent an extensive renovation by Nuñez I Navarro in 2005 bringing the hotel up to date with elegant and modern spaces, without losing the charm of the past. Once inside, the serenity of the place is felt in every space and staff are attentive and accommodating. The reception area is made up of slouchy sofas, low light and brilliant workspaces that are essential for digital nomads, although for my stay I felt as though I had these spaces to myself. 

lounge and reception area at hotel 1898
Hotel 1898's huge lounge and workspace

Walkways are mostly decorated in monochrome tones with striped black and white wallpaper, old photographs of the Philippines and shiny marble flooring. 

marble floors and monochrome hallway at hotel 1898
Monochrome hallway at 1898

Up on the hotel’s roof, the atmosphere changes to one of serious holiday vibes with a pool surrounded by loungers, and striped day beds lining the terrace—the perfect place to unwind with one of the hotel’s strong caipirinhas or an icy bottle of beer.

How are the rooms at Hotel 1898?

Hotel 1898’s 196 bedrooms come in six size options, ranging from Colonial-style classics at the smaller end of the spectrum, right up to Colonial suites with their own private pool. All are decorated in a similar way with luxurious wooden accents, walls in tones of forest green, grey, maroon or black and have everything you’d usually imagine of a 4-star hotel, including a desk, mini bar, TV and radio. I chose a ‘Privilege’ room for my three-night stay. It was large, quiet and featured a huge bed that would have fit four and there was also a small balcony overlooking a little slither of Las Ramblas and the hotel’s main entrance on Carrer del Pintor Fortuny. 

bed and black wall at hotel 1898
My 'privilege' room 

A vintage-looking black and white map was hung on one of the walls and the mini bar contained complimentary water and beer. Hotels with bathtubs are a huge highlight for me so I was delighted to find a tub in the bright bathroom along with large bottles of shower gel, shampoo and conditioner that are kinder on the planet than those tiny minis most hotels still give out. The bathroom felt less modern than it could have but was absolutely fine for a short stay. My only dislike was that paper cups were provided for making tea and coffee, however, these may have been used over china cups due to COVID-19 precautions.  

What is there to eat and drink at Hotel 1898?

Hotel 1898’s restaurant El Nido was closed for the duration of my stay due to COVID-19 restrictions but I did have breakfast included in my stay—a sizeable affair with a whole range of typical options like cured meats and cheese along with fruits, coffee and cakes. La Isabella Terrace near the rooftop pool was my favourite spot for lunch, they do a fab range of snacks, light lunches and some brilliant cocktails. I tried the quinoa salad and the mozzarella, truffle and Iberico ham toasted sandwich—both were great and the staff were friendly. Not far from the hotel, I found an array of great dining options with Bormuth being my favourite for tapas. The best restaurants are hidden up in the Gracia district near Park Güell, where I ate some of the best pasta of my life at Terra Mia—don’t miss it if you’re in town. 

Any highlights?

The rooftop pool was of course my favourite part of the hotel, along with the huge daybeds that instantly make everything better. 

daybed and striped canopy on the roof at hotel 1898
Rooftop day beds for ultimate relaxation

But there’s also a pool in the basement of the hotel along with a pretty neat gym, sauna and steam bath. These parts are open to hotel guests only so you can guarantee you’ll be able to relax. The location of Hotel 1898 is also unbeatable and allows you to see much of the city on foot. I also liked the breakfast options, workspaces and friendly vibe of the place.

Anything they could improve on?

Reception staff can be a bit abrupt.

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1 comment

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