Where to Stay in Barcelona, Spain, for a Local Experience

The Magic Fountain of Montjüic is one of many must-see attractions in Barcelona
The Magic Fountain of Montjüic is one of many must-see attractions in Barcelona | © eye35 / Alamy Stock Photo
Mandi Keighran

Barcelona, the vibrant capital of the Catalonia region of Spain, has much to offer. Whether you want to discover the local cuisine, immerse yourself in its rich history or escape the city for wine country, this is our pick of where to stay in Barcelona for a local experience – there’s even a romantic “boatel” where you can bunk down in the captain’s cabin.

1. Room Mate Carla

Boutique Hotel

A colourful bedroom at Room Mate Carla
Courtesy of Room Mate Carla / Expedia

Interior designer Tomás Alía is one of Spain’s foremost creative talents and the man behind the interiors of Room Mate Carla, a boutique design hotel in the central Eixample neighbourhood. Just a few minutes from some of the city’s most famous sights, including Antonio Gaudí’s La Sagrada Família, Plaça de Catalunya and La Rambla, the colourful hotel makes the perfect urban retreat. The rooms and suites feature bold murals that climb the walls and spread across the ceiling to form a backdrop to the sleek, minimalist furnishings, while the communal spaces are a celebration of colour, including the honesty bar, which features bright blue walls and furnishings and a mirrored ceiling.

2. Can Bonastre Wine Resort

Resort, Luxury

A large and homely bedroom at Can Bonastre Wine Resort with wooden flooring
Courtesy of Can Bonastre Wine Resort / Expedia

Escape the city and discover a wine lover’s paradise. The Can Bonastre Wine Resort, just a 35-minute drive from Barcelona, is set in the Penedès wine region, overlooking the dramatic Montserrat mountain range. The two suites and 10 rooms, named after the surrounding mountains, take design inspiration from this rural setting and bring the outside indoors. Book a tasting at the Can Bonastre Winery, specialising in crafting original wine from up to 13 different varietals, and indulge in a treatment at the Acbua Wine and Beauty Spa, which has a thermal circuit that includes a Turkish bath, an indoor pool, a sauna and a relaxation area with panoramic views. Want to arrive in style? The resort also boasts an operational heliport.

3. Hotel Neri Relais and Châteaux

Boutique Hotel, Hotel

A large bedroom at Hotel Neri Relais and Châteaux
Courtesy of Hotel Neri Relais and Châteaux / Expedia
Discover Barcelona’s rich architectural history in luxury at this exclusive boutique hotel in the old Jewish Quarter; it comprises two aristocratic homes, one of which is a 12th-century medieval palace. There are 22 rooms and suites – Suite Neri, with its spacious living area and views over the Gothic Quarter, is the one to go for if you’re looking for true indulgence. Alternatively, book one of the six self-catering apartments with bespoke timber furniture by Corada Figueras architecture studio; they’re ideal for families. Chef Alain Guiard serves up refined Spanish dishes at the on-site restaurant – think casserole of cuttlefish, potatoes a lo pobre (fried with onions) and squid ink, or oxtail tatin with reineta apples.

4. Villa Emilia

Boutique Hotel

A tropical-inspired bedroom with a double bed at Villa Emilia
Courtesy of Villa Emilia / Expedia

Looking for a hotel for an extended stay in Barcelona? Villa Emilia has a variety of deals for long-term guests, including special prices for stays of a month or longer that feature a daily continental breakfast. The rooms boast murals of tropical palms and exotic birds, which complement the simple furnishings, while there’s the option of adjoining rooms for groups and families. Dogs and cats are also welcome at the hotel, with every room having a comfy pet bed so that your four-legged friends can bunk down in comfort. Try a Spanish-style G&T or a glass of vermouth at the tranquil La Terrassa bar, and grab a casual meal at Bistrot. The menu features Spanish classics such as pan con tomate (grilled bread smeared with tomato and garlic) and a Spanish omelette.

5. The5rooms

Bed and Breakfast, Apartment

A large bedroom at The5rooms with a bare brick wall and artwork
Courtesy of The5rooms / Expedia

In 2004, Yesica Delgado Fritz had a vision of a boutique hotel that would offer guests a local insight into her city. The result is the5rooms, an eclectic collection of 12 rooms – nine doubles and three junior suites – with characterful brick walls and elegant timber flooring, as well as two cosy self-catering apartments that are ideal for families or extended stays. The hotel rooms are arranged around an internal courtyard, which is typical of the Eixample neighbourhood, and you’ll have access to a library of books, including guidebooks, inspiring coffee-table books and novels. Fancy a drink? Help yourself at the honesty bar.

6. Motor Yacht Boatel

Boutique Hotel

A large living room on a yacht at Motor Yacht Boatel
Courtesy of Upscale Yacht Boatel VIP Cabin Close To The Beach / Expedia

Experience a different side of Barcelona at this “boatel” moored in Port Forum Marina, a laid-back beach neighbourhood. You’ll have the boat entirely to yourself, and the spacious Captain’s Cabin offers couples a romantic mix of nautical charm and contemporary design – and the opportunity to enjoy sunset drinks on the deck. Want to explore the city by boat? In summer months, Las Golondrinas boat tours depart from the marina and finish up at the main port next to the Columbus Monument and La Rambla.

7. ANBA Boutique

Bed and Breakfast

A bedroom with golden bedsheets at ANBA Boutique
Courtesy of ANBA Boutique / Expedia

Planning to explore the winding medieval streets of Barcelona’s picturesque Gothic Quarter? Sitting on the first floor of a modernist building from 1876, this boutique hotel is just a five-minute walk from Plaça de Catalunya and features carefully restored original features, including ornately painted frescoes on the ceilings. There are only seven rooms, including triple rooms suitable for families or groups of friends, and a luxurious suite with gilded columns that frame a window overlooking the lively streets below. There’s also a rooftop terrace garden where you can have breakfast or enjoy a cocktail during the day.

8. H10 Madison

Chain Hotel, Luxury

A large bedroom at H10 Madison
Courtesy of H10 Madison / Expedia

In an elegant 20th-century building with high ceilings, this four-star hotel takes inspiration from Barcelona’s thriving industrial design scene, with interiors by Lázaro Rosa-Violán. Brightly coloured furniture is contrasted with classic woodwork and sparkling chandeliers in the communal areas, while the simple rooms have a chic industrial edge. The highlight is the rooftop Terrassa del Gòtic, featuring a plunge pool surrounded by sunloungers and views over the Barcelona Cathedral. Looking for a spot for dinner? The Avenue Restaurant and Cocktail Bar on the ground floor serves up tasty cocktails and Mediterranean cuisine, such as tuna tataki with couscous and mango mayonnaise, and crispy coconut shrimp.

9. The 8 Boutique Bed and Breakfast

Bed and Breakfast

A large bedroom with white colour scheme at The 8 Boutique Bed and Breakfast
Courtesy of The 8 Boutique Bed and Breakfast / Expedia

Want to learn more about Barcelona’s most famous architect Antoni Gaudí? This charming bed and breakfast is directly next door to one of his masterpieces: the Unesco-protected Casa Batlló. It’s also just 50m (164ft) from Passeig de Gràcia, where you’ll find some of the city’s best shopping. The accommodation itself is simple yet stylish, with individual rooms for solo travellers, and double or twin rooms for couples and friends. There’s also a concierge service to help you book guided tours, museum tickets and make restaurant reservations.

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