Hotel Actual

Eixample, Barcelona, Spain Book from

Reviewed by Laila Ram
A perfectly located hotel (especially for Gaudí fans), with utilitarian but stylish white and brown rooms, and some more exuberant suites
Just round the corner from - and with views of - Gaudí’s famous La Pedrera building, Hotel Actual is refreshingly simple and efficient, catering to business people during the week and visitors during the weekends. Owned by the trendy interiors shop Gimeno 102 on Passeig de Gràcia, it's full of stylish touches, from the beautiful flower arrangements to the mellow jazz music played in the lobby.

Bedrooms are identikit-cool - modern, minimalistic and two-tone - but with enough comforts to feel welcoming. Junior Suites provide a dash of exuberance, with intricately painted ceilings and the odd chandelier. Reception staff add to that with excellent English and handy tips on tapas and tourism, as well as free maps. There's free internet access, an excellent buffet breakfast, and more cafés plus a metro stop around the corner. If you feel like splurging for dinner, the renowned restaurant Moo (within Hotel Omm) is right opposite; you can splash out, knowing you're saving plenty on the room prices!

Highs

  • Location, location, location - this is a fantastic setting for sightseeing and shopping
  • The rooms at the back have views over the amazing chimney stacks of La Pedrera
  • There's a discount for weekend stays
  • The reception desk staff are very helpful

Lows

  • Mixed feedback recently
  • The rooms aren't huge and most have twin rather than double beds
  • There's some internal noise and occasional street noise - light sleepers beware
  • You may feel the metro rumbling beneath the building every now and then, but it wasn't enough to disturb us
  • Some rooms don't have views, but cheaper rates compensate for this

Best time to go

Barcelona is a great city to visit all year round, except perhaps during the last couple of weeks in August when many of the smaller shops and bars are shut. The heat in summer (June to September) can be intense, while spring and autumn are generally pleasantly warm and sunny. December to February is chilly and quiet, except for the Christmas and New Year period, which the Catalans embrace with gusto. Weekends are cheaper than midweek stays at this hotel.

Our top tips

Ask for room 510 or 511 for views of La Pedrera; avoid rooms near the lift (elevator); but remember that all 'double' rooms are really 2 singles pushed together. Oh - and don't hire a car: parking is absurdly expensive round here.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
City Style
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 36
  • Restaurants nearby
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

The 36 rooms are generic, with a minimalist and utilitarian feel to them. Each has stark white marble floors and white walls, with dark wood as the only contrast. The rooms are small but functional, and all have an ensuite bathroom with a bath (and a hand-held shower), as well as reasonable air conditioning for the summer months. Beds are comfy with big round pillows - and there are more in the cupboard if you need them, though there isn't a huge amount of clothes storage space. Double doors between the bathroom and bedroom keep plumbing sounds out, but we did hear some noise from neighbours and the lift.

Some Standard Rooms have no views to speak off; others look out over the Passeig de Gràcia. If you can, book one of the higher, rear-facing rooms (510 and 511 are best), which offer views of La Pedrera (or Casa Milà, to give it its official name). The Standard Superior Rooms are slightly bigger and have balconies.

If money is no object, splash out on one of the 6 Junior Suites. The only rooms to depart from the generic two-tone colour scheme, these have have panelled or elaborately painted ceilings, more headroom and modern four-posters set against warm grey walls. One comes with a vast chandelier - and an equally vast flatscreen TV to set it off.

There's good, free WiFi (if you bring your laptop), but no room service or in-room coffee-making facilities; for that you'll have to go down to the small communal lounge-bar on the first floor.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • WiFi

Eating

A good buffet breakfast is offered for an additional cost. Expect fresh fruit (including kiwi and pineapple), juices, yoghurt, boiled eggs, cereal, cold meats and cheeses, bread and jam, and a choice of coffees and teas. It's a hearty start to the day, but if you prefer to eat light (or save money), there are several cafés down the street.

There's no shortage of restaurants nearby for lunch and dinner. Samoa across Passeig de Gràcia does a good (and good-value) selection of pizzas, pasta, salads and main courses in modern surroundings. Or, if you want to splash out, pop across the road to Hotel Omm, whose Moo restaurant gets rave feedback for its impeccable gastro cuisine (see our separate review).

Back at the hotel, there's free tea and coffee in the lounge-bar from 2pm, as well as a short room service menu. Staff are also very willing to order food in from any of the local restaurants if you wish.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Passeig de Gràcia - Barcelona’s premier shopping street - is 30 paces from the front door. You’ll find designer labels and high street chains coming out of your ears. For smaller boho boutiques head for the narrow streets of the historic Born district

  • Three Gaudí buildings lie within a 10-minute walk. The curvacious stone facade and undulating roof of La Pedrera (formally known as Casa Milà) is only a block away, the ornate and blue-tiled Casa Batlló is a couple of blocks south, and the soaring Sagrada Familia is a short walk (or metro ride) to the west

  • Another Gaudí masterpiece, the vast Park Güell, lies to the north (you'll need to take the metro and a bus to get there). Among its trees and flowerbeds you'll come across colourful mosiac sculptures, other-worldly grottos, gingerbread-style houses and the elegant villa where Gaudí lived

  • Barcelona's small but interesting Egyptian Museum, complete with mummies, is just a short stroll away, as is the art-filled Fundació Antoní Tàpies

  • The football-obsessed can head to Nou Camp for a tour of FC Barcelona’s stadium - you may even see the players in training sessions. A cab will get you there in 10 minutes, but you can take the metro, too

  • Head south to the beach (about 30 minutes by foot or 10 by cab). On your way, stop at the magnificent La Seu, Barcelona's gothic cathedral, with its stone-laced facade, gargoyles and gaggles of geese guarding the leafy cloister

  • Stroll down the city’s most famous avenue, the lively tree-lined boulevard of La Rambla (15 minutes' walk or 3 metro stops along line 3), thronged with tourists, artists, musicians and all sorts of stalls, selling everything from flowers to caged birds. It's pickpocket heaven, though, so keep a close eye on your valuables

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Traditional cultures

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome, although there are no special facilities for them. An extra bed or cot can be put in some of the rooms for a nightly charge; if sharing their parents' bed, children under 12 stay for free. Some connecting rooms are available - please enquire when booking.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

8/
Rooms
9/
Food
9/
Service
9/
Value
8/
Overall

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Rates for Hotel Actual