From a new, tech-rich boutique hotel and a beachside resort to a five-star hotel draped in old-world glamour, the Catalonian capital has a luxury hotel for every taste.
For beach access: Hotel Arts Barcelona
You can’t miss this towering, industrial-looking hotel located outside Barcelona’s city centre at Port Olímpic (next to Frank Gehry’s huge golden fish sculpture). The five-star Hotel Arts Barcelona sits 250 yards from Barceloneta beach. It serves up first-rate food (the on-site restaurant, Enoteca, has two Michelin stars), cracking cocktails, and has serious views over the city and sea. Its two sun-drenched, fair-sized swimming pools aren’t bad either. If you’re in town to party, there’s a string of nightclubs nearby (Catwalk, Shoko and Pacha). If not, don’t worry, they’re far enough away that you won’t hear a beat.
The Mandarin Oriental Barcelona is in a prime location for exploring Barcelona’s retailers: Passeig de Grácia, where the hotel sits, is packed with designer shops like Valentino, Prada and Louis Vuitton. It’s also close to two of Gaudí’s legendary constructions. So close, in fact, that a handful of suites offer Casa Batlló views (the Catalan architect’s coral, reef-like building). This world-famous luxury hotel chain has a celebrity following (Dame Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman are both fans), and with that comes a need for top-class facilities. There’s a sprawling rooftop pool area, luxury spa (with hot tub, hammam and indoor pool) and the hotel’s restaurant is overseen by the world’s most decorated female chef, Carme Ruscalleda, who has seven Michelin stars.
The Renaissance hotels are part of the Marriott’s premium line with a luxurious feel, and the Barcelona version has extra personal Catalan touches. The building is equipped with premium rooms and junior suites, along with a gym, a rooftop lounge, meeting rooms, a bar/eatery and an on-site restaurant. For an extra thoughtful touch, the rooms are all equipped with international outlets right in the walls so you don’t have to bring any clunky converters with you. Along with light dimmers, Modernist aesthetics, and Navigators who are like concierges with local tips on the city, the extra touches are what make this hotel feel exuberant. Immerse yourself in tasteful Gaudí designs and the surrounding Mediterranean landscape in the Eixample-located hotel near the high-end shopping of Passeig de Gràcia.
The EDITION Barcelona is a plush, five-star luxury boutique hotel located next door to the Santa Caterina fresh food market in the hip El Born area. All 100 tech-smart rooms come with whitened oak herringbone parquet floors, abstract Gaudí-inspired furniture, and uber-minimalist neutral decor. The exclusive EDITION hotel collection is a partnership between Marriott and Ian Schrager (founder of famous NY nightclub Studio 54) so, naturally, it’s geared up to entertain. There’s a late-night, velvet-curtain draped cabaret supper club, a Peaky Blinders-style speakeasy bar, and a rooftop pool bar with panoramic views and weekly DJs.
Though it’s a bit further from the city centre, Hotel Sofia provides so many opulent amenities and dining options that you won’t need to travel far to be comfortable. Plus, it’s near Camp Nou, the largest stadium in Europe and home to the city’s cherished FC Barcelona football team, so it is perfectly convenient for football entertainment. Within the hotel is Be So, a fine-dining restaurant complete with a tasting menu and sommelier experience; Impar, a gastronomic Mediterranean bistro; the Philosofia book café with desserts, sandwiches, quiches and other light snacks; and Sofia Bar with cocktails and high-end bites like tartare ssam, macarons and ceviche. The rooms themselves are also luxurious, with gold, wood and marble accents. Some options even contain a large circular mirror in the center of the room that also converts into a Smart HDTV. Boasting high-tech devices in the rooms, an outdoor pool and an in-demand spa, Hotel Sofia makes sure to leave none wanting.
This luxury hotel is hidden away in Barcelona’s lively Gothic Quarter. But beware – pets, photos and children aren’t allowed. Room sizes range from Tiny to Suite and are designed like swanky, British country homes; think chequered carpets, rotary dial phones and bucolic wallpaper. The hotel’s sundeck comes with the type of stripy outdoor furniture you now find at most private members clubs, and it is a good spot to kick back after a long day pounding Barcelona’s walkable streets. This quiet, exclusive hotel is ideal for those looking for a discreet, child-free city getaway.
If it’s good enough for Ernest Hemingway, Joan Miró and The Beatles (they’ve all stayed here), it’s good enough for us. This luxury hotel is draped in old-school, Catalan glamour and lies on one of Barcelona‘s busiest streets, Gran Via. But don’t worry, all 151 rooms come with sound-proof windows. Other features include a small rooftop pool, classic mid-century fittings and an elaborate, golden staircase worthy of a palace. Hotel Avenida Palace has been around over 65 years – it was a famous café before – and the customer service isn’t likely to have faltered since. Don’t be alarmed if staff remember your name when you drop off your clunky key at reception to head out – it’s just how things work here.
If you’re looking for a luxury city-centre hotel within walking distance of Barcelona’s best neighbourhoods, sights, bars and restaurants, then this place is for you. Sandwiched between El Born and the Gothic Quarter, on Via Laietana, sits the 20th-century-built Grand Hotel Central. This fancy hotel boasts a popular rooftop bar with infinity pool, free in-room minibars and a modest, neutral 1920s interior. There’s plenty of things to do and see nearby, like visit the Picasso Museum (five-minute walk), Barcelona Cathedral (three-minute walk), Ciutadella Park (10-minute walk) or explore the independent restaurants and bars in the artsy El Born neighbourhood (five-minute walk).
Fancy staying in the building where Picasso started out? Well, you can. The Serras is set in the same 19th-century building where the then 15-year-old painter had his first studio back in 1896. But that’s not all. This luxury hotel has more than one colour to its palette. It also offers views over the yachts at Port Vell marina from its leafy, decked rooftop. That’s in addition to Michelin star-grade dining and a refreshing, warm face-towel welcome. The city’s man-made beach is only around 15 minutes away by foot, too. The decor here is a blend of New York-meets-Catalan contemporary design with high, light-inducing ceilings, Barcelona tiling and pops of bright furniture.
Despite sitting in Barcelona’s liveliest area (the Gothic Quarter), this hotel is ready-made for guests looking for a peaceful stay in a central location. There’s a tranquil internal courtyard lined with orange trees, a haven-like rooftop pool and bar area, and an upmarket cocktail bar for enjoying a late-night tipple. This 28-room luxury boutique hotel, designed by award-winning architect Rafael Moneo, manages to blend old and new nonchalantly – with its exposed ancient Roman walls adorned with abstract, monochrome paintings. Staff are efficient but not over the top, meaning you have everything you need without being fussed over.
The W Hotel is probably Barcelona’s most iconic luxury hotel and offers the best ocean views in the city. The gargantuan glass structure sits at the end of Barceloneta beach and is so big that it casts a sail-like shadow across the sand. With two pools, a state-of-the-art fitness centre, a clubby top-floor cocktail lounge and seafood restaurant led by Michelin star-winning chef, Carles Abellan, it’s the kind of hotel that’s hard to leave. Although the location isn’t the best if you’re looking to explore the city, as it’s about a ten-minute taxi ride from the bottom of La Rambla. But if you want an adventure, why not take the cable car up to Mount Montjuïc.
Almanac Barcelona is a model example of a luxury modern hotel, having only opened its doors in 2018. Clad floor to ceiling in gadgetry, this five-star boutique hotel has been designed for the 21st-century traveller and looks swish, too. The interior is sleek, with gold and white walls decorated with walnut finishes to create a simple yet indulgent aesthetic. In all 61 rooms and 30 suites, there are buttons that control the electric blinds and digital ‘Do not disturb’-style signage, along with a smartphone that controls pretty much everything else. There’s a shallow rooftop pool, too, and the hotel even has its own zesty aroma created by master perfumer Jimmy Boyd.