Catalonia Portal de l'Àngel
Avd Portal de l'Àngel 17, Barcelona, Spain, 08002
- Recommended for:
- Culture vultures, Nightlife
Expert review of Catalonia Portal de l'Àngel
The Catalonia chain specialises in decent-value three stars with efficiency and convenience as their watchwords (over, if we're to be brutal, much by way of style or individualism, though progress is being made). The Portal de l'Àngel (known until recently as the Albinoni) is the most central of them all, beating sister hotel the Catalonia Catedral by a matter of metres. It sits in a 19th-century neo-classical palazzo, with a dramatic marble staircase that runs up a light-filled atrium, but its finest feature is the garden, a real rarity in this area.
Sitting on the Old City's main shopping strip, a hop and a skip from the airport bus stop, the cathedral and any number of bars and restaurants, this hotel can't be beat on location. While pedestrianised Portal de l'Àngel teems with shoppers during the day, it's surprisingly quiet at night, and, of course, traffic-free.
Most of the rooms are decked out in the anonymous beech veneer and hardwearing Prussian blue upholstery beloved of the kind of hotels you find at railway stations, but the third floor has been made over with a certain amount of style, and the plan is to extend this to the whole hotel. These rooms are known as the 'Premium' rooms (and cost around 20 euros more, or 30 euros if you want a terrace). They come with extras (bathrobe, tea/coffee-making facilities, daily newspaper), and infinitely superior decor, with satin throw cushions and grey crushed velvet drapes and bedspreads. The bathrooms are still mired in seventies ideas of good taste, with floor-to-ceiling tan-coloured faux marble tiling, but they're a good size, at least, and all have bath tubs. Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel.
The bar, as with so much else about the Portal de l'Àngel, leaves you with a sense of regret for what could be achieved with a bit of imagination, but the garden area is an unexpectedly green and peaceful oasis. The blank apartment-building walls surrounding it have been painted with clever trompe l'oeil paintings and jolly flower-filled balconies, and in the centre is a garden room that serves as the restaurant.
The garden restaurant serves the usual bistro fare (Caesar salad, classy burgers), and is fine, though not cheap - you might do better to have a pre-dinner drink here and eat out nearby.
The decked swimming pool area is unusual for Barcelona in that it's at ground level, which means you can feel overlooked, but it's still a luxury for the Barri Gòtic.
Efficient and cheerfully accommodating should you need to print out a boarding pass, get your laundry done quickly and so on.
All kinds of everyone, as the Catalonia chain appears on a lot of hotel booking websites.
Personally, I think it's worth shelling out the extra for a Premium room unless you're only here because of the central location and don't plan on spending much time in the room. A little more than that gets you a little terrace, too. Save the difference (almost) by eschewing the 17 euros breakfast buffet and going out for coffee and a croissant.
More information on Catalonia Portal de l'Àngel:
- Price from:
- Avd Portal de l'Àngel 17, Barcelona, Spain, 08002
- High-Speed Internet, Restaurant, Room Service, Swimming Pool
- Barri Gòtic