A city as cool and creative as Barcelona was always bound to have some incredible places to stay. After all, it’s home to buildings by celebrated architect Antoni Gaudí, who famously designed La Sagrada Família and whose inspiration has seeped into the very core of the Catalan capital. Sip cava and eat pintxos (small snacks) while staying in one of these unique hotels – bookable with Culture Trip.
As the former HQ of Barcelona’s wealthy cotton-producers guild, the Cotton House Hotel is as unique as it is luxurious. Beyond its stately neoclassical facade, this five-star property has retained all of its 19th-century architectural elegance. A stunning spiral staircase makes an impressive centrepiece, with richly decorated bar and restaurant spaces adding to its opulent charm. A swish rooftop pool and elegant guest rooms, finished in crisp cotton white, complete this one-off beauty.
The H10 Art Gallery has certainly put the work in to live up to its name. Each floor is themed around a famous contemporary artist, including Francis Bacon, Henri Matisse, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. Artworks are integrated into sliding doors, while reproductions adorn the guest rooms’ walls. There’s an impressive collection of original artwork, too, with pieces by Miquel Barceló and Joan Miró on display. Hotels don’t get much artier than this.
With its facade of scarlet tasselled awnings, gilt wrought iron and grand scalloped entrance, El Palace Barcelona pulls out all the stops from the get-go. It’s unabashed five-star opulence inside and out at this former Ritz, where lavish maximalism rules supreme. A Mayan-themed spa promises Mesoamerican pampering, or you can get a taste of local dishes with a French twist at the on-site restaurant, L’Éclair. A plush underground speakeasy-style bar, El Bluesman, and neighbouring cigar club confirm the hotel’s uber-upscale credentials.
Roca is at the vanguard of a new type of hotel experience that allows you to do everything via your smartphone. While the technology is very 21st century, the hotel is a celebration of retro-chic. It occupies two art nouveau-style buildings on a leafy lane in the centre of the buzzing Eixample district. Rooms combine mid-century vintage and modernista decor beautifully, plus staff are digitally available 24/7 for useful info or insider tips to help you get under the skin of the city.
There aren’t many places where you can swim inside and outside in the centre of Barcelona, but Hotel 1898 is one of them. This elegantly colonial, upscale hotel offers both a pool within its subterranean spa and another on its rooftop terrace, which, of course, comes with fantastic views. You can unwind with a sundowner and tapas up here, too, or explore traditional Catalan cuisine in its main restaurant directly overlooking La Rambla.
Most hotels aren’t known for their lively rooftop terraces, but that’s where the Hotel Pulitzer Barcelona scores top marks. During the warmer months, this funky space is abuzz with the best-dressed crowd, drawn by top DJs, live bands and post-festival parties. The rest of the hotel isn’t too shabby either, with another highlight being the plant-filled Greenhouse Restaurant – all local and seasonal, of course. After a great night’s sleep, why not enjoy breakfast in your Egyptian cotton-topped bed?
With its sharp monochrome decor, moody black-and-white photos and piped-in jazz tunes, this super-central hotel sticks to the theme in a cool and classy fashion. A big rooftop terrace offers cityscape panoramas, plenty of soft seating and a pool to cool off in during the summer sizzle. By night, it turns into an atmospheric chill-out lounge and tapas bar. Rooms are smart and spacious, with big beds, blackout curtains and pillow menus to aid slumber.
A marquee bulb sign sets the tone for this musical-themed hotel, whose inspiration no doubt came from the building’s previous life as a theatre. Reception staff come dressed in mime-style stripes and braces, while a low-lit lounge area echoes the look and feel of a stage. You can choose between bright modern guest rooms or those themed around musical theatre favourites such as West Side Story, Grease and Chicago. It’s also just a shimmy from many of the city’s best-loved theatres.
The beauty of Soho House hotels is that, while you can expect stylish interiors and a happening vibe wherever you are in the world, each one has a unique character. Reflecting the city’s art and architecture, Soho House Barcelona bears the mark of Lázaro Rosa-Violán, one of the top interior designers in Spain. Directly opposite the Marina Port Vell, the hotel’s clubhouse has rapidly become one of the coolest places to hang out, thanks to its exclusive members- and hotel-guests-only policy.
What makes the Hotel Neri such a unique place to stay in Barcelona isn’t the fact that it’s the only Relais & Chateaux hotel in the city – although that helps. It has more to do with its location on the striking Plaça de Sant Felip Neri, which was severely damaged in the Spanish Civil War; it acts as a lasting reminder of the suffering at that time. Surrounded by historical monuments and awe-inspiring architecture, the hotel itself is ideal for a romantic getaway, thanks to its candlelit courtyards, cosy bedrooms and old-world charm.
Thought originality and style had to come at a price? Think again. Praktik Garden is part of a small hotel chain in Barcelona; each of the five hotels has a unique theme. Something of an urban oasis, this location is overflowing with plants and flowers from the moment you step through the door. Join a plant print workshop or just enjoy your complimentary morning coffee in the leafy outdoor courtyard. Rooms are modern and simple, with rainfall showers as standard and, of course, floral prints on the wall.
Tara Jessop contributed additional reporting to this article.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
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3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
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1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
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1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
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Not sorted your stay? For more inspiration, take a look at our selection of the best beachside hotels in Barcelona and make sure you snag that coveted spot on the sand. Or, if an indoor pool is more your style, book one of the city’s best pool hotels and take a dip that’s a little less crowded. Looking for something different to do during your visit? Check out the best places to ski near Barcelona and refuse to choose between sand and snow.
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