By Johanna Read, TravelEater.net
The only problem with these exquisite hotels is that to explore Barcelona, you can’t stay inside.
Hotel Arts Barcelona (Carrer de la Marina 19-21)
Situated at the Port Olimpic Marina with views of the Mediterranean and the city, the elegant Hotel Arts Barcelona is a Ritz Carlton property next to the beach. Want the most luxe? Book the penthouses (which include the use of a Mini Cooper Cabrio) or the club rooms. Admire Frank Gehry sculpture and the sea from the rooftop infinity pool which turns into a chic lounge in the evenings. The spa is the only one in Barcelona with views of the Med. Dine at the Michelin-starred Enoteca or have a cocktail inspired by the 41st parallel (on which Barcelona sits) at P41/Coctelarium.
The Barcelona EDITION (Avinguda de Francesc Cambó 14)
This luxury boutique hotel is in Barcelona’s El Born district, not far from the Picasso Museum. You’ll have tastes of the neighbouring Gothic Quarter’s wooden window shutters thanks to the hotel’s walnut panelling and whitened oak herringbone floors. Rooms have chairs by Oscar Tusquets and art by Chema Madoz, and two penthouses feature private terraces for dining al fresco. Food is a focus with Sebastián Mazzola, formerly of the Adrià Group’s Tickets and Pakta, overseeing the hotel’s food and beverage. The Roof offers a plunge pool as well as year-round dining with panoramic views thanks to ingenious sliding glass walls.
Hotel Bagués (La Ramblas 105)
This five-star hotel, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, is right on Las Ramblas in the Gothic Quarter. Kristen Slizgi, travel writer and founder of The Luxury Travelist, describes it as “a first-class stay with exquisite personalized service”. Formerly the El Regulador palace, the building was turned into Hotel Bagués in 2010 but retains its original Art Nouveau and Moderniste façade. There are just 31 rooms and suites, plus an outdoor pool and roof terrace for tapas and cocktails.
Nobu Hotel Barcelona (Av. de Roma 2-4)
Brand new in September 2019 is Nobu Hotel Barcelona. Japanese influences are throughout the hotel’s 259 sleek rooms and, of course, in the Nobu Restaurant and in the tapas bar, Kozara. Near Parc de Montjuïc and the main site of the Barcelona Olympics, immense windows provide views out to the Eixample neighborhood.
Hotel Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos I (Avinguda Diagonal 661-671)
Barcelona’s Fairmont is set within 19th-century gardens providing a calm oasis in the heart of the city. The elegant hotel has 394 rooms and 38 suites in soothing grays and whites. Dining includes the Mediterranean-focussed B●24 and The Terrace which overlooks the main saltwater pool and gardens (there’s another adults-only outdoor pool and an indoor pool too). The Royal Club Fitness & Spa is in the gardens and guests also have access to the Royal Polo Club.
El Palace Barcelona 1919 (Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 668)
A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, Hotel El Palace was once a Ritz with Salvador Dali living in its Versailles-like opulence. It’s just a few blocks from Plaça de Catalunya and Passeig de Gràcia. The 120 guest rooms still evoke historic luxury but are fully equipped with all the modern conveniences. Admire La Sagrada Familia from the immense rooftop garden complete with a pond, swimming pool, solarium, and restaurant. The Mayan spa has a volcanic stone sauna and unique treatments.
Hotel Neri (Sant Sever 5)
A top pick by Sangeeta Sadarangani, CEO and Founder of Crossing Travel Company, is Hotel Neri, a Relais & Châteaux property. The luxury boutique hotel is in the Gothic Quarter near the Cathedral of Barcelona. It’s comprised of two historic residences, one a 12th-century palace. There are just 22 rooms and suites, as well as six apartments with full hotel services. As with all Relais & Châteaux hotels, gastronomy is of high importance. Chef Alain Guiard’s “a restaurant” is sure to impress.
Mandarin Oriental Barcelona (Passeig de Gràcia, 38-40)
Right on the prime Passeig de Gràcia, Mandarin Oriental Barcelona has views of Gaudí’s Casa Batlló with its elaborately mosaiced walls and “House of Bones” exterior. Interiors were designed by Patricia Urquiola and many of the hotel’s modern rooms have balconies and terraces (the Grand Suite has several, off its three bedrooms and two living rooms). The rooftop lap pool has dazzling views of the city. There’s also an excellent spa and Michelin-starred dining.
Cotton House Hotel, Autograph Collection (Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 670)
This restored 19th-century hotel is in the Eixample district, a short stroll from Plaça de Catalunya. The building was the headquarters of the Association of Cotton House Manufacturers and features two impressive staircases, one of marble and one spiraling around chandeliers. An outdoor pool, rooftop terrace, glass conservatory, and libraries showcase the building’s history. The 83 guestrooms and suites are bright white and contemporary.
Canadian freelance writer/photographer Johanna Read specializes in travel, food, wellness, and responsible tourism. She visits three to six continents annually, sampling local foods whenever possible. See her work in outlets like Fodor’s, USA Today, Time Out, Reader’s Digest, and on her website TravelEater.net, Instagram @TravelEaterJohanna, and Twitter @TravelEater.