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If staying in Barcelona’s well known Las Ramblas and near the Gothic Quarter is your goal, we recommend what we believe to be the best option in the region – Hotel 1898. The 19th century colonial building, which in former lives was the home of an aristocratic family and a tobacco company, has been beautifully restored into a charming grand hotel. The elegantly sophisticated imposing entrance hall, with black and white tones matched with wood and leather, is very striking. The relaxing spa and dramatic pool where there used to be a coalbunker are also beautiful touches, as is the terrace with a small swimming pool and skyline views. The accommodation size is quite good, with rooms differing in layout and color schemes, some with strong shades on walls and others with pastels and greyish pictures. Bathrooms are mostly marble and you can opt for suites with direct access to the spa. In our latest stay we were pampered with some Spanish wine delivered to our room. Staff is attentive and maybe the most courteous we met in town. Does the hotel name have you wondering? 1898 was the year the last Spanish colonies, Cuba and the Philippines, officially declared independence.