One of the most popular neighborhoods in Barcelona is La Barceloneta, an area with a strong community spirit and a lively social life. However, the uncontrolled mass tourism of the post-Olympic era, with its abundance of cheap holiday lets and tourist flats lead to the disintegration of the area’s social fabric. Ultimately, the locals took the streets to protest, and the government stepped in, imposing strict control on the tourist trade, especially on hotels and holiday apartments. Luckily, there are a still a handful of places to stay in the area, offering you a glimpse of life in one of Barcelona’s most distinctive communities.
This is one of the most luxurious hotels in Barcelona, let alone the Barceloneta. The futurist design of the five-star W Hotel has become part of the city’s iconic landscape, defining the view from the beachfront with its proud sail-like shape (earning it the nickname ‘Hotel Vela‘ or ‘Sail Hotel’). The décor is hip, modern and playful, especially in the lobby where the shapes are soft, the colors vivid and the atmosphere endlessly cool. The rooms, on the other hand, are more subdued, designed to reflect the colors of the sea and sky, making for an altogether more relaxing experience. Perched on the very tip of the Barceloneta, the W Hotel can feel like a world of its own, away from the busy crowds of the city center. Although it’s only a 10-15-minute walk to the Gothic or the Born, guests will be delighted to know that there are a number of restaurants inside and around the hotel, not least Bravo24 by the famous local chef, Carles Abellàn.
The name of this chic, modern hotel is a reference to the address: number 54 on the central avenue of the Barceloneta, Passeig Juan de Borbó. The hotel is surrounded by all the main attractions of the Barceloneta: the beach, the fresh food market, the Catalan History Museum and, of course, all of the great bars and restaurants tucked away in the backstreets. The rooms at H54 are not the most spacious, and no doubt this accounts for its three-star rating, but they are all well equipped, and the décor is modern and playful – think zebra print and faux fur. This is the ideal place to stay if you’re not intending on spending your time in your hotel room but rather out and about exploring the city. When you do need a little R&R, though, head to the hotel’s roof terrace which offers a breathtaking view of the city and the harbor.
H10 Port Vell, Barcelona | Courtesy of H10 Port Vell
Not technically part of the Barceloneta itself, this four-star superior hotel is located slap-bang in the middle of all three of the main areas in the city center: the Gothic, the Born and, of course, the Barceloneta. The hotel is located in a historic townhouse that has been entirely refurbished and boasts an elegant, modern design – simple but stylish – as well as a range of facilities such as the rooftop terrace with a swimming pool (small but just perfect for cooling down on a warm summer’s day) and a fitness center. The bedrooms are compact yet comfortable, with open bathrooms with walk-in showers and glass paneling. From the hotel, you’re a five-minute walk from many of the city’s main sights and shopping areas: the Cathedral, Saint-Catherine’s market, the Portal de l’Angel high-street and Maremagnum shopping center (the only shopping area open on a Sunday).