C/Calàbria 115-117, Barcelona, Spain
- Recommended for:
- Business travellers, Couples, Honeymooners, Travellers with pets, Romance
Expert review of Villa Emilia
A beautifully designed, friendly, 53-room hotel that offers fantastic value if you don't need a pool or gym and you don't mind being in a quiet neighbourhood. The rooftop terrace is a gem, and nice touches include tea and biscuits laid on at 5pm and a stack of umbrellas and Panama hats for guests' use at reception.
The hotel is a minute's walk from Rocafort metro station (from where trains will whisk you a couple of stops to Plaça Catalunya), in a quiet bit of the Eixample. It's not what I'd describe as a happening neighbourhood, but it is at least tourist- and hustle-free.
Decorated in a muted palette of earthy hues, with pieces of ethnic artwork above the beds, the bedrooms are not extravagant but plusher than I'd usually expect in this price range. There is only one room type, but those on the corners (all rooms ending in 5) are slightly bigger and have windows stretching across the bevelled edge of the building, which makes them brighter. They also have bathtubs. Light sleepers should probably avoid the rooms above the bar (10, 11 and 12). There is free WiFi throughout the hotel.
This is where the Villa Emilia comes into its own. As well as the animated lobby/bar (see below), there is a relaxing mezzanine seating area with books in various languages and two computers for guests' use, and on the roof is one of my favourite terraces in Barcelona. Deep-cushioned armchairs and sofas are positioned among oversized pot plants and a trickling fountain, so that guests don't feel on top of one another, towels and blankets are provided, and there is a bar at one end (you can also order snacks). It's especially lovely at night, lit with candles. Though the hotel is of thoroughly modern design, the public areas are dotted with antique furniture and oil paintings, which sets it apart from the usual corporate minimal chic.
The Zinc bar serves tapas (actually, they're more like antipasti) and more elaborate fare (suckling pig confit with figs, for example, or scallops with sesame and yoghurt sauce) or you can simply have a coffee or a beer and listen to the in-house pianist (from Thursday to Sunday nights). A limited menu is also served on the terrace. On Sundays a blowout brunch (22 euros) is served from 11.30am to 3.30pm, and there's a barbecue on the terrace on Thursday nights.
If the visitors' book is to be believed, almost everyone enjoys the service here.
Americans, Canadians and a spread from around Europe - mostly holidaymakers, but the odd enlightened businessman also stays here.
Book early and you might get a room at a discount rate. Breakfast is occasionally included, but otherwise it's 14 euros, which includes a good spread and cava.
More information on Villa Emilia:
- Price from:
- C/Calàbria 115-117, Barcelona, Spain
- High-Speed Internet, Restaurant, Room Service