Fodor's Expert Review Duquesa de Cardona
Passeig de Colom 12, Barcelona, Catalonia 08002, Spain See on Map Fodor's Choice
Duquesa de Cardona is a boutique hotel that embraces modernity and history in a tight little package. This seaside spot is carved out of a building that dates to the 16th Century but has been a hotel since around 2002. Because of its past, no two rooms are the same and hidden treasures are found around every corner. With the marina in the front and the Gothic Quarter directly behind, the hotel is ideally located for beach and history bums alike and a great perch for setting up for your time in the city.
Floorplans vary because of the building’s age, but you’ll find hardwood floors, felt walls, and artistic headboards. All the rooms facing the water come with a balcony, and extra amenities include tea kettles, bottles of water, snacks, and Handy devices – helpful gadgets that give you free Wi-Fi and free international calls from anywhere in Barcelona.
The pristine bathrooms have white-tiled floors and shower/tub combinations (though some are separated). Bidets are in many of the rooms but request ahead if this is a need and not a want. The hotel uses Essential Elements bath products.
The regal lobby is jaw-dropping with brown- and white-checked marble floors, ornate entryways, lots of gold trim, and elaborate Oriental rugs. The mix of modern and classical art is strewn throughout, but not in a chaotic way.
There are oddly two small plunge pools on the roof (though who is complaining on hot days) and they’re surrounded by black wicker loungers. Views from the roof extend over the water and if you’re a fan of boats, you have lots to gawk at.
The rooftop terrace is also the main dining area. By day, the restaurant is a casual spot with a light lunch menu. By night, dining is more formal as inventive international cuisine wows its guests as they regale in the views with a glass of vino. A separate breakfast room is actually housed in the oldest part of the building and you can see original stone stairs and high arched ceilings while snacking on the buffet.
The hotel has a free snack corner where they offer freshly made pastries, water, and coffee from noon-7pm every day.
The lobby bar is a nice place to grab a cocktail, but the rooftop is where they do their best work. Here, they specialize in sherry, which goes great with dessert and those epic sunsets.
Because of the hotel’s location by the water, it’s really easy to enjoy a ton of aspects of the city. To the southwest is Montjuic, a large hill that houses museums and monuments. To the southeast is the Marina with restaurants, shops, boats, and the beach. To the northwest is the Gothic Quarter with winding alleys and loads of ancient history. And to the northeast is the Born area with dozens of shops, restaurants, and bars. There are also two metro stops within about 5-minutes from the hotel.
Just down the street at the Soho House is Cecconi’s (4-minute walk) a stellar Italian joint with perfect pastas. If you want to stick to Spanish cuisine, head right next door to The Serras Hotel, where inside Restaurante Informal (1-minute walk) dishes out classic Catalan with unique twists.
If you eat at Cecconi’s (4-minute walk), stick around as their bar is a great scene with perfectly mixed drinks. If you love live music, check out Harlem Jazz Club (5-minute walk), where sultry saxophonists belt out jazzy mixes all night long.
WHY WE LIKE IT
The hotel is interesting as its housed in a building with a long history that includes noble families and kings – and the décor of the common areas presents this feeling upon entry. Rooms are well appointed and the two pools and gastronomy on the roof are both great touches. But this hotel really outperforms based on its idyllic location. Every weekend, you’ll be treated to flea markets, festivals, and other goings on right across the street. Not only that, you’re at the crossroads of multiple neighborhoods where you’ll find yourself within minutes of sumptuous restaurants, historic attractions, fun bars, and great shopping. The clientele skews older here – but usually that just means it’s quieter at night.