Centrally located in Barcelona's edgy El Raval district, Hotel Principal is a timeworn establishment with small bedrooms and jaded staff. Downstairs, the hotel retains some historic appeal - massive wooden doors dating from the 19th century lead up to a grand staircase. But the remaining period features have been overwhelmed by functional fixtures and fittings, naff prints and an array of knick-knacks. Furnished and decorated on a budget, the cramped en-suite bedrooms tend to be short of daylight. Still, the beds are comfortable enough and the free WiFi works surprisingly well for a three-star hotel. The en-suite bathrooms are in reasonable condition and there are small safes in the wardrobes (3 euros a day for a key). Despite the thin walls, hard floors and tendency for doors to slam, it can be surprisingly quiet on the fourth floor at night (perhaps due to a lack of guests). Stairs on the fifth floor lead to an extensive, but basic, terrace with views over the surrounding rooftops.
One of the views from the rambling roof terrace
Cramped and crudely-decorated, yet fairly comfortable, bedrooms