When you enter this impressive modern hotel the blinding lobby gleams from top to bottom with classic Romanesque black and white marble flooring and pillars. Located on La Rambla next to a large Starbucks, 1898 is almost too well situated for its own good, but it manages to make up for this shortfall once you push your way through the jostling tourists and step inside. The contrast is mind-blowing, here you will find true comfort and some of the best trained staff in Spain who will guide you around the spacious hotel with no sense of pressure or rush. No nonsense designer décor and the smell of real black leather armchairs and sofas sets the tone, not to mention plush carpets and upholstery that makes it feel like home. The true pièce de résistance is the downstairs Spa and Fitness Centre with its vaulted red brick Medieval architecture contrasting with Scandinavian pine saunas, chrome zinc Jacuzzi hyrdoloungers and a glassed-in gym area all under one roof. The rooftop terrace has amazing 360 degree views over the city and also holds perhaps the best solarium and lounge area in Barcelona, with an expert cocktail chef, a decent sized pool, and plenty of incense candles and oversized cushions lying around for a genuine relaxing mood. Cleaning and catering services here are superb and lightning fast plus bathrobes are supplied for going up to rooftop pool and down to spa pool. The hotel restaurant is not to be sniffed at, supplying a quality a la carte menu and handsome buffet breakfast with everything from Eggs Benedict to smoked salmon. Some of the larger apartment suites have private garden pools and 24 hour concierge but be prepared to pay up to €10,000 per night for the privilege.