Doubles from: $90 to $270
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Reviewed by EuroCheapo.com Editors
The three-star Hotel Principal seems to have it all: 111 stylish rooms, a fabulous roof terrace, a relaxing lounge and several personal touches. The only possible drawback is location, which is central but in a slightly rough neighborhood.
Pros: Near La Rambla, nightlife and restaurants. Roof terrace. Nice décor. Luxurious bathrooms.
Cons: Area feels grungy (watch for pickpockets). Rooms can pick up street noise.
Decorated in soft blues and yellows, the Hotel Principal’s rooms are top of the line, with hardwood floors, newish furnishings and simple artwork.
All rooms are packed with amenities, including air conditioning, a flat-screen television, phone, safe (for a fee) and the always handy tea kettle for your morning cup. (Cheapo tip: It pays to ask for a room with a balcony, a lovely spot to sit and watch the neighborhood comings and goings.)
The Principal’s bathrooms are a real treat. Larger than most of the bathrooms we’ve seen in Barcelona, all have hydro-massage showerheads and some have a tub, to boot. Also expect toiletries and a hair dryer.
The Hotel Principal dates from 1866 and spans the length of three historical buildings along a quiet street in El Raval. We liked the pretty, gilded arches in one of the stairwells, and we swooned for the roof terrace. Done up with lounge chairs and potted plants, it’s an ideal place to relax after a long day of exploring the city.
Although it’s large, the Principal is family run and has unique personal touches that give insight to some of the family members’ tastes and talents. For instance, all rooms (and most of the common areas) are adorned with beautiful oil and watercolor paintings by one of the owner’s sons.
An ample breakfast buffet is available, but for a steep €12. Wi-Fi is free throughout and an Internet station is available for a fee.
Corner cafés abound in this ‘hood, as do restaurants, many specializing in fusion cuisine and funky creativity. (We like Carmelitas around the corner from the hotel.) Many Barcelona "musts" are near here as well, including Plaça Reial, the Cathedral, La Boqueria Market, and, of course, Las Ramblas. The beach is about a 20-minute walk from the hotel.
Don’t eat on Las Ramblas, tempting as it may be. Instead, try Olivia (Pintor Fortuny 22) for breakfast or a snack and Rita Rouge (Carme 33) for drinks. A plethora of excellent restaurants can be found on the Rambla de Raval, a two-minute walk from the hotel.
You will need to walk a bit to get to the main veins of public transport, and taking a cab late at night may be a good idea. In this area, called El Raval, stick to main streets and keep your wits about you. It’s not dangerous, but petty theft is an issue. That said, we love going out in El Raval at night (as do many locals).
Subway: The Principal’s Metro line is the Green Line/L3 and its closest stop is Liceu (which takes the name of the worth-a-visit Opera House across from it). Getting off at Liceu will put you out on Las Ramblas, about an eight-minute walk to the Principal.
From the Airport: The RENFE Cercanías train departs about every 20 minutes from T2 and gets you to Barcelona in about 35 minutes. To reach the Principal, take it to the Passeig de Gracia stop and transfer to the Green Line/L3 Metro to Liceu.
Note: This hotel was visited by a EuroCheapo editor and is recommended based on cleanliness, location, price and overall quality. EuroCheapo did not charge this hotel to be listed.
- Reception: 24-Hour
- Wi-Fi: Free
- Air conditioning
- Bathroom: Private
- Bathtubs Available
- Cable TV
- Handicap accessible rooms
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About the Hotel Principal neighborhood
Intriguing, densely populated (but less heavily touristed) El Raval is located to the west of La Rambla. Formerly known as Barrio Chino, the area was historically a slum, notorious for petty crimes and prostitution, and today's cleaner, modern El Raval still has a rough-and-tumble edge. And it's home to open-air markets, legit old eateries and a trendy nightlife scene, as well as the contemporary art museum.