Hotel 3: Hilton Diagonal del Mar - Barcelona
For those who follow this series, it must be clear that an airport hotel is usually followed by a trip. And so it was. A client in the Barcelona area needed advice from a colleague and myself, so we travelled there.
Over the years, I have been to Barcelona a few times. I always stayed at the main Hilton, at the Avenida Diagnonal. It’s a nice hotel, but I can tell you already that I like this one better on the whole.
I took a KLM flight and then by combining Metro and taxi I arrived at the hotel. It was early January but still nice weather, a lot nicer than what I had left behind!
The room I was given was on the 19th floor (not Executive Floor) and overlooked the sea (more important to me than the Exec Floor). It looked like a standard room, although I had only neighbours to one side (but with a connecting door).
Nevertheless, the room was quite nice, and only on the last day did I hear some noise from a next room neighbour. It stopped around midnight, so nothing too bad.
The room was quite spacious and had both a bath and a shower.
The mini-fridge was empty, there is a supermarket (and some mini-markets) nearby. There was also a tea/coffee tray. In the hotel, there are no food or drinks that you can buy (apart from the restaurants, obviously).
Bed and bedding
Standard Hilton bed and dito bedding makes for a good night of sleep for me. You usually get two soft pillows and two hard pillows. Everything just fine. At my floor there was no turn-down service, at the Executive Floor where my colleague stayed (at the expense of a worse view) it was provided.
The Internet (as perhaps was expected in a hotel like this) was fine, no problem at all. The WiFi network of the hotel could also be used at a fair distance from the hotel, if you wanted that.
Location, location, location
Obviously, this hotel is not on Las Ramblas. However, I would consider in a prime location for Barcelona’s beautiful beaches. The general area of the hotel is right next to a big convention centre and the area was developed for the 2004 Forum of Cultures and the 1992 Olympics. The area offers great opportunities for walking, jogging and generally exercise.
Here are a few general pictures:
Loyalty recognition was great. As a Diamond member I received all the attention that I could expect, and of course lounge access was great too. The sprea in the lounge was fairly big. I had breakfast once in the lounge, which had all the basics.
No pictures of the lounge this time, I was in there only briefly, and then always with my colleague, so I did not take any pictures.
With some effort, you could hear traffic from outside. However nothing that was disturbing. However, my room had a connecting door, you could clearly hear if there were conversations going on the next room, but nothing too disturbing. This may be different if the room next door is occupied by a family with small children!
Things to do
With the beach, the shopping and of course all of Barcelona at your feet, there is plenty to do.
There is a big shopping centre across from the hotel, it’s called Diagonal Mar Centre. Besides the shopping, there is a well-stocked supermarket (over two floors) and a whole array of restaurants. There must be about 50, catering for all tastes and all types of eating (fast food, proper sit down and everything in between).
The beach is also right outside the hotel, perhaps 5 minutes walk. There is also a pool/bar area at the hotel though which looked nice enough (but was closed). Along the Mediterranean there is not only beach, but a few built-up areas as well, giving a nice urban feel. I was there in January, I can imagine the areas being very nice in warmer seasons.
One of the lesser known things about Barcelona is that one of Europe’s biggest factory outlets is in the area. It’s called La Roca Village and is about 30 minutes drive outside Barcelona. It can also be easily reached by public transport.
All the major brands that you would expect are there, and for me the main reason for looking it out was a shop of Brooks Brothers. Brooks Brothers is my favourite (and probably only) supplier of shirts because they are 100% non-iron, as well as 100% cotton. Pricing was comparable to in the US, but with VAT added. Sizing, models and fabric are completely the same as in the US, it’s therefore easy to shop if you know you your preferences This shop alone is worth the visit to me.
A real surprise was to find a Five Guys across the road in the shopping centre. It’s my favorite burger chain from the US, with burgers (and much more) prepared just the way you want it. It’s coming to more and more places in Europe.
I had a burger there, and the quality was as ever. It actually deserves a separate article on my website - all these Five Guys 😄
For transport I picked up a Hola Barcelona Travel Card. If you buy it online you get a 20% discount. It’s easy to pick up the ticket, and it suits all the usual travel a tourist would do, including to and from the airport. Now… from the hotel it’s a fair walk to the Metro station, but it’s all quite manageable and shows the real advantage good public transport can be in an urban area.
The breakfast was very solid. The choice was bigger than average, with plenty of fresh fruit, and even pizzas. I also enjoyed the Eggs Benedicts that was prepared at my request. No extra charge, and very enjoyable!
Unfortunately, this time no convenient USB-outlets near the bed, but of course I had chargers with me. It did unearth an unexpected benefit though…
For 24 hours, we hired a car so we could drive to our customer and I could drop my colleague off at the airport. There is a Sixt office in the hotel. Their cars are parked in the underground parking of the hotel, which it shares with other companies. We found no problems in going by buzzing and saying that we have Sixt car. The barrier was duly opened and no payment was required. We were not quite sure if that was intended behaviour, but it worked fine (parking was € 28 per day otherwise).
Both the ‘normal’ Hilton in the city and this Hilton (Diagonal Mar) are based on the same street, but I found marked difference. Whereas the one in the city is OK, and has some real drawbacks (for example not very near the actual centre), this one is really very nice. The area around is nice, the actual hardware is also very good and I like the area around it. Yes, it’s not near the city centre but it’s easily reachable by public transport or an Uber, and the vicinity to the beach and sea is a real advantage in Barcelona, at any time of the year really. For another visit, this hotel would definitely be on the shortlist!
All pictures are available in full resolution here:
Other hotels in this series
For 2019, this was my third hotel, where I spent three nights. This brings the score to (3/5), i.e. three hotel stays and five nights in a hotel in 2019. You can see which hotels I have covered so far here. I don’t expect this series to be updated live during stays, I will document the hotels when I have a bit of time.