Hotel Continental testimony of the golden age of hotels in the city and of history
The Hotel Continental, located on La Rambla 138, in front of the Canaletas Fountain, has witnessed much of the city’s history portal since the end of the 19th century
Discover in this documentary, made and broadcast by Betevé, the most relevant episodes of super history, the most illustrious guests and meet Our family of hotel tradition for almost 200 years!
The golden age of the great hotels in Barcelona
We transcribe here the text published on the Betevé website and from here we want to thank you for having dedicated a special program dedicated to hotels.
Barcelona is a city of hotels. More than a century and a half ago, establishments for guests began to be built as we know them today, surpassing the hostels and inns of previous times. The big hotels arose to welcome the foreigners who came to Barcelona to attend the big events that were celebrated or, simply, to enjoy the atmosphere and the terraces of the Ramblas cafes.
Today, some of these historic hotels in Barcelona have disappeared; others are still active, such as the Hotel Continental. Here you can discover the history of some of the most emblematic hotels in the city.
The Continental Hotel witness of history until today
The history of the Continental dates back to the late 19th century, when it was a great hotel and restaurant. In 1931, the grandfather of the current owner, José María Malagarriga, bought the name and rented the building on La Rambla, 140. In 1952, on the occasion of the Eucharistic Congress, an extension was made and two more floors of the next building were taken , Where is he now. The hotel was there until 1974.
Until 2015, the Continental was the only one in the city to appear continuously in the Michelin Guide since its creation in 1910.
An innovative hotel since always!
The Continental was very innovative. In 1932 he opened the Automatic bar, which had an automated vending machine without staff. It was one of the first to have a TV room. It also had air conditioning.
Orwell, distinguished guest of the Continental
Throughout its history, the Continental has received great personalities. The conductor Herbert von Karajan, Machín, Helenio Herrera or the writer George Orwell, 1937. Actually, who was on the Continental was Orwell’s wife, while he fought at the head of Aragon with the Republic during the War Civil.
But when Orwell was wounded, they took him to Barcelona, ??on the Continental, to heal. Here he wrote a part of his work, ‘Tribute to Catalonia’. In its pages he mentions the hotel and his walks around the city. Today, the hotel has a room dedicated to George Orwell.
The president of India, Nehru, and his daughter, Indira Ghandi, visited Barcelona those days and stopped by Continental to see Orwell.
The assault on the Central Bank
In May 1981, the assault on the Central Bank, located in Plaza de Cataluña, took place. When the police entered the bank, the hostages and robbers came out. Five of the criminals took refuge on the Continental. They asked the front desk person for the toilets and went inside. Meanwhile, the worker called the police to report that five unidentified people had entered. The police appeared immediately and took them away. To all but one, who was hidden all night in the vacuum cleaner room. The next day, the current owner’s mother found him, but the robber fled and he is the only one who has never been found again. That same day, the woman found herself 300,000 pesetas under a bed. It was the part of the 600,000 pesetas of the theft that was recovered.
New challenges today
Hotel Continental has always adapted to the ups and downs of history, today too. We are facing a very complex situation for the hotel and tourism sector and for the world in general, we will continue to strive and add value to our society to continue being part of history in the future.