The old adage goes; you get what you pay for.
In all things this is mostly true – however there are a few rare exceptions out there and Hotel Barcelona Universal is one of them.
Hotel Barcelona Universal is one of these rare cases where you get so much more than what you pay for – you get true value for each penny spent. I cannot even begin to list how impressed I was with what this hotel provided. We felt truly cared for; and while this is commonplace at hotels such as the Waldorf in New York, the d’Angleterre in Copenhagen, the Mamonia in Marrakesh it was not what I expected from a fairly cheap hotel picked by more or less chance on a vague recommendation from a friend.
The Hotel is located a few minutes walk from the Rambla. A few minutes walk from the Port Vell and the Rambla del Mar, and a mere second away from the closest subway. A walk to plaze Catalunya takes about 10 mins at a slow pace looking at the shops in the backalleys and is quite a charming experience. The Barcelona Universal gives you the opportunity to experience life in Barcelona by making you take a short walk through a few genuine, “untouristy” blocks before landing you smack down in the middle of the Rambla. Or you could simply hop on the metro outside the hotel and go where ever you like.
Inside the hotel itself we were greeted by the doorman every time we came or went, and the staff were always very helpful no matter what we asked for. The rooms were meticulously clean and tastefully decorated. Minibar, TV with USB (Just bring what you want to watch on a USB stick, plug it in on the back of the TV and use the remote) and bathtub was standard as was WiFi albeit it was a bit shaky and up and down at times.
The breakfast buffet deserves special attention since it was on par with the most exclusive hotels I’ve visited (see above) although somewhat smaller. Several kinds of bread, including rye and darker breads, eggs, bacon, sausages (worth trying, they were excellent) quiches, juices, yoghurts, fruits, croissantes, and more where aplenty. Worth mentioning for those of you with a sweet tooth is that at each buffet were atleast two kinds of cake and several kinds of doughnuts and muffins.
As for other accommodations worth mentioning one cannot forget the rooftop pool and the astroturf garden / sundeck on the top floor together with the small but clean and well stocked gym also on the top floor located next to the pool. The surrounding decked area is stocked with comfortable lounge chairs and as made for bringing your own beer and taking in the panoramic view over the city.
All in all – this hotel gives you the most bang for your buck I’ve ever come across. Friendly and helpful staff, clean and tasteful rooms, freedom to move around and simply enjoy the city and your accommodation to the fullest.
Four stars in the guide – I’d give it Four+ and a half
Enjoy your stay as much as we did!
Experience posted by hanning, May 2011.