Hotel 1898

Luxury and History on Barcelona's Iconic Rambla

Located on the corner of La Rambla and Carrer dePintor Fortuny, Hotel 1898 is a neoclassical building designed in 1880 and its 169 rooms, restaurant, spa facilities and roof top terrace are a synonym for luxury in central Barcelona.

The building by Josep Oriol was originally designed as a family residence for Antonio López i López,  Marquis of Comillas and founder of the Compañía Transatlántica.

Given that the 1898 is such a luxurious and prestigious hotel, it is surprising that it only has 4 Stars.

I'm sure this anomaly will be rectified in the near future and Hotel 1898's star-rating will be in strict accordance with its quality of service and prices.

Although you can still see the Transatlantic Company initials on The Ramblas main door, the H 1898 building is much better known as the former head office of the Compañía General de Tabacos de Filipinas.

The building has nine floors, two of which are underground.

However, from the street, there only appear to be five floors because the architects wanted to respect the original height of the building and also have large terraces on the roof.

Nuñez i Navarro entrusted the interior design to the Catalan designer Rosa Rosselló, who has created a warm atmosphere by using materials such as wood, leather, wicker and a range of textiles.

On the walls of Hotel 1898, you can see photos of the Philippines taken by the Barcelona-based Swedish photographer, Maria Espeus.

You can also reserve a table at one of Hotel 1898's two excellent restaurants.


Getting to Hotel 1898

Hotel 1898 ****
La Rambla, 109
08002 Barcelona


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A Little Hotel 1898 History

Hotel 1898's role as headquarters of Compañía General de Tabacos de Filipinas dates from 1929, following a complete restoration by Josep Maria Sagnier Vidal and Josep Maria Rivas.

Given that I'm such a sucker for Barcelona art and architecture, it's also worth mentioning the sculpture of the Catalan painter Marià Fortuny, considered one of the greatest Spanish painters of the 19th century after Goya, which is at the back of the Hotel 1898 building where Carrer Pintor Fortuny meets Carrer Xuclà.

The piece was sculpted by the brothers Miquel and Llucià Oslé in 1922 but social unrest and the Spanish Civil War meant that it wasn't actually installed until 1942.

The Generation of 50 poet Jaime Gil de Biedma is also associated with the building as he worked as secretary for the Compañía General de Tabacos de Filipinas and H 1898 has conserved his old office.

In 2003, Hoteles Nuñez y Navarro acquired the property and in 2005 the hotel began operating under the name Hotel 1898, in memory of the year in which Spain lost its imperial possessions in Cuba and the Philippines.

Of the 13,600 square metres that the building occupies only about 10%, some 1,200 square metres, is original.

Included amongst the original restored are the vestibule on La Rambla, the old storehouse is now the spa centre, most of the restaurant and the Salones Coloniales on the second floor.

The first of these colonial suites, overlooking the corner of Carrer Pintor Fortuny is Jaime Gil de Biedma's old office.

The facade on La Rambla is also the 1880 original and is of Montjuïc stone with two particularly fine sculptures of Hermes and the Goddess Fortuna as a rudder, representing Commerce and Overseas.

The facade on Carrer Pintor Fortuny conserves the first three 1880 arches also of Montjuïc stone.

Here you should also look out for the cornice with Compañía General de Tabacos de Filipinas written across it.

More About Hotel 1898

The hotel has 169 rooms, classified in order of luxuriousnes as Classic, Superior, Privilege, Deluxe, Junior Suite and Colonial Suite.

The Classic rooms are the most basic but all have:

  • Free WiFi and ADSL
  • A Minibar
  • A Free Tea Service
  • An LED Television and a radio with USB
  • A large marble bathroom with a shower, bath, hairdryer and towel heater
  • Dressing gowns, slippers and exclusive ETRO bath products
  • A King Size or two single beds
  • A Pillow Menu

At the top end of the range, the Colonial Suites really are something special.

The rooms are 50 square metes plus a 60 square metre terrace with jacuzzi and a private swimming pool.

From there on, everything is luxury including free champagagne, a Nespresso machine and a choice of international newspapers.

The buffet breakfasts at the 1898 are in keeping with the standard of the hotel and offer a variety of high quality food, including both Continental and English dishes and options for vegetarians and celiacs.

The bar is located in the hotel lobby and has an entrance onto Carrer Pintor Fortuny.

It offers a standard selection of drinks along with an excellent choice of tapas.

The H1898 Restaurant under chef Carles Boronat is on the first floor and has an excellent and growing reputation for Barcelona signature cuisine.

The proximity of the wonderful Boqueria Market guarantees an excellent selection of traditional Mediterranean produce along with more exotic ingredients.

Hotel 1898 Terraza La Isabela

The Terraza La Isabela on the roof tops off the Hotel 1898 offer with music, tapas and cocktails on tropical sofas that look out over Barcelona's Gothic skyline.

These panoramic views are also available from the rooftop swimming pool, which is part of the 1898's impressive pursuit of luxury.

The basement spa also has an indoor swimming pool and offers treatments and therapies whilst the fitness centre is fully equipped to keep you in shape during your stay.

There is also a business centre and library on the first floor and you can watch silent film classics in the lobby.

Hotel 1898 is also geared towards conferences and business meetings and offers a number of meeting spaces with a maximum capacity of 200.

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