Barcelona Luxury Hotel Review: El Palace Hotel

Our luxury hotel review series continues with our interview at and review of El Palace, a hotel near Barcelona’s Passeig de Grácia.

This post is part of our series of reviews and in-depth information about Barcelona 5-Star Grand Luxury  hotels. We launched this series to help you choose the Barcelona luxury hotel that most closely fits your personality and taste.

El Palace: Our Interview & Review

A few blocks away from the jet-set bustle of Passeig de Gracia you’ll find that life keeps its busy pace. Cars stream down Gran Via de les Corts with the same city-suited intensity they exhibit on Passeig de Gracia. The El Palace Hotel stands out on this thoroughfare, it’s grand facade facing Gran Via les Corts like a dapper grandfather in an Italian suit. We talked with Sales Manager Fatima Soler to find out what makes this 5-Star Grand Luxury (5SGL) hotel tick.
The formal entrance to El Palace, part of the Barcelona Experience travel blog's series about Barcelona luxury hotels.
The entrance to El Palace
Click on any one of the links below to jump to a particular section:
 

What Sets Them Apart –  How They Want Guests To Feel –  Staff Personality

Favorite Aspect of Hotel –  Opening Year–  Best Suite

Family Amenities – VIP Programs  –   Location

Conclusions

 

What is your philosophy of service?

Soler wastes no time in explaining the high standards of El Palace. “The philosophy here is not to give a 10 in service, but an 11,” she says. She also points out her hotel places an emphasis on the small details.

The large reception area where we sit is no exception. Each piece of fabric and furniture was hand-selected and original from the 1920’s. “If you want to sell at high room rates, you have to be the best,” Fatima says. “Our general manager wants the hotel to be the best one in Barcelona.”

What sets your hotel apart from other 5SGL hotels in Barcelona?

The unique strength of El Palace is its emphasis on a type of hotel service and interior design rarely found in the city these days. “Barcelona is known for being the design city. There are modern and contemporary hotels,” she says. “But this is the only classic hotel and this is what makes us different than other hotels. It makes us exclusive and unique.Soler points to the magnificent salon in which we sit. “There’s no other hotel in Barcelona with this lobby,” she says with pride.

She also points out that El Palace has been a 5-star hotel longer than any other hotel in the city.

The luxurious lobby of El Palace, part of the Barcelona Experience travel blog's Barcelona luxury hotel series.
The Old World luxury of El Palace’s lobby and hall
An opulent meeting hall in El Palace, part of the Barcelona Experience travel blog's Barcelona luxury hotel series.
A meeting hall in El Palace

 

How do you want your guests to feel when they are walking out the door at the end of their stay?

“We want our guests to feel that they stayed in a very special place,” Soler says. “Special because of the place they’re in, the history of the hotel and the feeling of being pampered.” Guests have the opportunity to stay in the same room Salvador Dalí stayed in during his visits to Barcelona.

 

What is the personality of your staff?

The staff’s strength is in its diversity of experience. “I would definitely say there’s a good mixture here becuase you get people who have been working here for 30 to 40 years who have experience and knowledge, and there are staff who are new,” she says. “We’re always willing to please the customer. We try to meet their expectations and anticipate their needs.

What’s your favorite aspect or amenity in this hotel? 

Salvador Dalí’s eclectic presence still holds Soler captive. The suite named after the quirky artist is her favorite aspect of El Palace. “It’s our most special suite…it’s the biggest and the nicest,” she said. “It implies someone so special stayed in the room.”

The tales about Dalí are numerous. Fatima launches into a story about how the artist once asked for a live horse to be brought to his room so he could study the beast for a painting he was creating. Bringing a live horse up the hotel’s staircase was impossible, so they came up with an alternative.

“What they did was bring a taxidermied horse to his room,” Soler says. “As you can see, there’s a lot of history here.”

When did your hotel open?

The hotel opened in 1919 and underwent renovations from 2007 to 2009. Famed hotel tycoon César Ritz built the hotel.

What is your best suite and what makes it special?

The Dalí suite is the hotel’s best room. The suite features a 50 square-meter Roman bath, a canopy bed and 150 square-meters of space. Housekeeping tends to the room twice a day. The room rate also includes airport transfers.

A view of the living room in the Dalí suite

What services are available for families?

The hotel does not offer specific programs for families. However, El Palace can provide kids with special amenities upon arrival like cookies and milk.

Does your hotel offer specific VIP services?

El Palace offers a variety of amenities for their VIP guests. Special amenities are available for Virtuoso and Leading Hotels of The World clients. Also, guests who stay in a suite receive certain VIP perks. “We take good care of our clients,” Soler says.

A Roman bathroom at El Palace, part of the Barcelona Experience travel blog's series on Barcelona's luxury hotels.
Roman-style bathroom

Where is the hotel located?

El Palace is located on Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes near the Passeig de Grácia and Urquinaona metro stations.

Our Conclusions & Review of Hotel Miramar

Perfect For

El Palace is the property for Europhiles who want an Old World hotel experience in Barcelona. Soler told us many of the hotel’s clients are Americans who want to experience the refined nature of European hotel service.

Pros

  • If you are a traveler who values an Old World atmosphere, this is the hotel for you.
  • If you are a traveler who likes refined and formal service, this is the hotel for you.
  • If you are a traveler who wants to be in the middle of the action, this is the hotel for you.

Cons

  • If you are a traveler who prefers a family-oriented property, this is not the hotel for you.
  • If you are a traveler who likes a youthful scene, this is not the hotel for you.
  • If you are a traveler who wants an affordable luxury experience, this is not the hotel for you.

The Little Things:

  • The hotel’s lobby bar offers a Salvador Dalí cocktail.
  • Caelis, the hotel’s on-site gastronomic restaurant, earned a Michelin star in 2013.
  • The property hosts a daily afternoon tea.
  • El Palace’s room keys feature an Old World tassle, but work like a magnetic key card.

Disclosure
El Palace provided Barcelona Experience with the photos used in this article and the subsequent social media posts. Also, the hotel provided us with a refreshing glass of sparkling water during our interview with Ms. Soler.

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