This is our review of the Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona hotel.
For Hilton’s ‘Stay Longer and save up to 20%*’ promotion, Hilton asked me to take a whirlwind trip to visit two Hilton hotels that may inspire readers to book a stay themselves.
Last week I reviewed Hilton Frankfurt City Centre. After one night I packed up, headed back to the airport and took a Luthansa flight down to Barcelona.
Hilton provided our rooms but HfP paid all travel costs and Hilton has not seen or approved these reviews.
Located at the edge of the Sant Martí district, a 15 minute metro ride from Plaça de Catalunya or an hours’ walk from La Sagrada Familia, the Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona is just outside the central part of Barcelona.
By taxi, the hotel is just 20 minutes from Barcelona El Prat airport (approx. €35). Public transport is a little trickier, particularly at the moment as there is major construction work on the tram line that would usually provide easy access to the city centre. You can get an airport bus to Plaça de Catalunya and then the Metro to El Maresme/Forum, after which the hotel is a short walk away.
The Diagonal Mar area is a largely residential district, with lots of large apartment blocks, a few big hotels and a huge shopping mall opposite the Hilton.
Probably the most important thing to note however, is that the hotel is a five minute walk to Platya de Llevant beach. A popular beach with Barcelona residents, it’s clean and tidy with shallow waters and is easily accessed from the hotel.
The hotel is a huge 24 floor tower with a lobby, bar and the hotel’s Michelin starred restaurant Aürt taking up much of the space on the ground floor. It’s an impressive space although the heavy curtain that separates the bar and restaurant from the rest of the lobby, without signage, is a confusing barrier.
By contrast, the check-in area is perfectly easy to find and has three separate desks for check-in. It was, however, chaotic. I waited 25 minutes to check-in, despite there only being two families and a couple in front of me. The staff were very pleasant when I did finally get there and it was surprisingly efficient, so I can only assume family groups were more of an issue for the hotel.
A suite at the Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona
I was given a Mediterranean Suite room, situated on the 14th floor.
The room was a distinctly strange shape, tucked into the corner of the hotel, overlooking the pool and towards the sea.
On opening the door, you walk into a wedge-shaped sitting area, with desk and sofa that can easily be extended into a bed. The desk is small but very functional and I found the chair pretty comfortable for a couple of hours’ work.
The ubiquitous Nespresso machine stands on the desk, along petite cups and four capsules.
The sofa and armchair were comfortable and there is a large TV opposite.
One element I really liked about the hotel was that each room is provided with a refillable 1l glass bottle and there’s a water dispenser by the lifts on each floor. I found this very useful and less wasteful than single use water bottles. You can take the bottle home for a fee, but if you leave it behind it gets cleaned and sterilised for use by another guest.
The bedroom is another unusual shape, with two sides of windows coming together in an eye-catching corner, complete with chaise longue and reading lamp.
It’s actually quite a fun spot to sit and look out of the window, with the beach in one direction and the city centre in the other. Unfortunately, the majority of the beach view is blocked by two chunky office blocks opposite, although you can see the sea peeking through on either side.
I wonder how it must feel working in those offices, with the beach in one direction and the Hilton’s pool below, filled with sunburnt tourists …..
The bed is vast, and very comfortable, with neat white linen. As well as two overhead lamps, there are small reading lights fixed into the leather headboard.
There are good options for charging your phone beside the bed, with a European plug socket plus USB on each side. Opposite the bed is another large TV and a mirrored bar area with a fridge containing mini-bar items plus an ice-bucket and glasses.
To the right of the bar you can find a full-length wardrobe, complete with ironing board, iron and robes and a further shelved cupboard for additional storage. It is probably enough for a family with one or two small kids.
The bathroom is long and narrow, with a shower bath to the left as you enter and a toilet and bidet tucked behind a half wall. Shower was very good, with decent pressure and no inconsistencies with hot/cold water.
Toiletries were Crabtree & Evelyn in their newly branded wall-mounted bottles.
There is a single basin in the centre of a long vanity unit, under a large mirror which leaves plenty of space for washbags. There’s also a long rail along the unit for handtowels.
Overall the décor was simple and functional. I found the sitting area a little drab, but the bedroom made up for it with the impressive views and funky chair.
Whilst I had a suite, I had a look at a standard room and the decor and design was pretty much identical. Here is a well lit panoramic shot from the hotel website which show it better than I could manage:
Dining at Hilton Diagonal Mar
The Hilton Diagonal Mar has three restaurants; Aürt, a 15-cover, one Michelin Star restaurant helmed by renowned Catalonian chef Artur Martínez (you’ll need to book this well in advance), Indigo, the hotel’s breakfast restaurant and Purobeach, the poolside bar and restaurant. There’s also Ma’i Snacks and Drinks, a cocktail bar with bar snacks situated next to Aürt.
I unfortunately did not make a booking for Aürt, and quite honestly would have found a 14-course tasting menu solo a little on the awkward side. I decided to try the poolside restaurant for dinner instead.
When I arrived, aside from a table of six tourists in one corner and four German lads downing beers in another, the large restaurant was empty. At 8pm. In Barcelona. This did not bode well for the food, so I sat down with some trepidation. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find the food very good.
I was only in Spain for 24 hours, so I felt I had to order some patatas bravas, despite the lack of imagination. Crispy and with a fiery mayonnaise, they were delicious.
A honeyed goat’s cheese salad followed which was also very good, full of fresh ingredients, dressed well.
The standard at breakfast in Indigo was also quite high. There are a large range of options, as you’d expect in a hotel like this.
Hot foods include bacon, eggs and sausages.
More unusual items are also available, like these vegetables in tomato sauce and a hot grain dish.
I liked these selections of mini smoothies.
I was also intrigued by this special kids section – bound to be a hit with the under 10s and guaranteed to lead to a sugar-induced meltdown before noon.
Executive Lounge at Hilton Diagonal Mar
The suite I stayed in gave access to the lounge, which I have to say was one of the highlights of the stay. The lounge is large open space on the 13th floor with a big balcony and a dedicated kitchen area.
The hotel is much more geared towards leisure than business and the lounge reflects that. There were quiet sections with desks and sockets, but most of the space was dedicated for people drinking and dining.
The food was surprisingly good quality for an executive lounge. I popped down at Happy Hour and there were some really decent snacks including cheeses, cold meats and chutneys/pickles, hot canapes, bread and salads.
There are also self-serve beers and wine available during Happy Hour. It was busy, although not unpleasantly so.
I also had a look at breakfast time. Whilst it doesn’t have the full array of the restaurant, there is plenty of choice if you wanted a quick breakfast with eggs and sausages, pastries and fruit along with yoghurts and Bircher muesli in the fridge.
If I’d stayed longer, I think I would have breakfasted here – it was a lot quieter than the restaurant and the balcony was a pleasant spot to start the day.
Gym, pool and spa at Hilton Diagonal Mar
The gym, situated behind the main pool deck, is very well equipped.
There are plenty of treadmills and spin bikes.
In addition, the gym has quite a few weight machines, plus loads of free weights, kettlebells and slam balls.
The pool is clearly one of the main draws for guests staying at the hotel. Surrounded by day beds and cabanas, it was seemingly the place to be seen. It is very busy throughout the day, although after lunch sunbeds do seem to open up.
There is quite a party vibe, with a champagne bar and cocktails downed left, right and centre, but that said, there were also plenty of holidaying families.
It is important to note that there is a charge for sunbeds by the pool, varying by month, as the area is managed by an external company and operates like a Med beach club. Non-hotel guests are also able to book in. You can use the pool without charge. (EDIT: a reader comments below suggest that some free sunbeds are allocated for hotel guests.)
I’ve had to use hotel imagery for this section as it was far too busy to take pictures properly.
The hotel doesn’t have a spa as such, but it does have a few treatment rooms and a number of therapists available. I had a massage with a lovely therapist called Kate, who did an excellent job of easing a painful shoulder.
The Hilton Diagonal Mar is an interesting concept. A large, beachside, resort-style hotel, but in a rather ordinary residential suburb of Barcelona. If you want to combine a bit of city culture and sightseeing, alongside a few lazy days by the pool or at the beach, I can see why the hotel appeals.
Whilst there were some teething issues at check-in, the rest of the hotel was run well and staff were unfailingly helpful and polite. My room was comfortable and well equipped for a longer stay, and I would imagine many of the guests stay for several nights.
I was impressed by the quality of the food and really valued the Executive Lounge which provided a relaxed space for a cold drink or a snack when the poolside became a bit too much. If I were to return, I’d be keen to try the hotel’s flagship restaurant Aürt as it looks very impressive.
Hotels such as the Hilton Diagonal Mar are perfect for Hilton’s ‘Stay Longer and Save’ promotion, where Hilton Honors members can save up to 20% when they stay for three nights or more. Non-members can get a 15% discount.
Many thanks to Danielle and the team at Hilton for inviting me to stay.
How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards (September 2023)
There are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
Did you know that the Virgin Atlantic credit cards are a great way of earning Hilton Honors points? Two Virgin Points can be converted into three Hilton Honors points. The Virgin Atlantic cards are the only Visa or Mastercard products in the UK which can indirectly earn Hilton Honors points. You can apply here.
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You can also earn Hilton Honors points indirectly with:
- American Express Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
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and for small business owners:
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The conversion rate from American Express to Hilton points is 1:2.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)