There are no shortage of good hotels in Barcelona. Still, if you choose the right it will make your holiday that much more special.
I’ve listed a few of my favourites below (they’re places I’ve visited myself, and the ones I recommend to friends). Are they Barcelona’s best luxury hotels? I think so.
By far the best way to narrow the choice down is to decide what area you’d like to stay in, and start there. That comes down to what you want to see and do when you’re in Barcelona.
You’ll see the Ciutat Vella talked about frequently, and for the most part that’s where tourists want to be. Eixample and Gracia are the others, but I’ll get onto those shortly. Be aware that Ciutat Vella is literally just ‘old town’ in Catalan, and that’s divided into a few distinct areas: El Gòtic; El Born; El Raval; and La Barceloneta.
Each area has its own character, and that may help guide your choice:
El Gòtic is the Gothic Quarter, home to the cathedral, some Roman ruins and parts of the original city walls, the Jewish quarter (El Call), and a maze of narrow alleys which can be a joy to get lost in.
I’d recommend this area for first-time visitors, particularly those on a short stay, who want to be in the middle of things. You’re between El Born and El Raval here, so the attractions either side are an easy walk.
Things to see: MUHBA; Cathedral; Placa Real; Las Ramblas
Upside: Literally in the middle of everything. The narrow streets can be charming.
Downside: This is tourist central, so a lot of restaurants, bars, and shops are tacky tourist joints. Some hotels are only accessible by foot. Streets can be clogged with foot traffic.
Best El Gòtic Hotels
Set in a charming restored 12th century palace, Hotel Neri is arguably the best way to soak up the atmosphere of Barcelona’s historic Barri Gòtic. For genuine period style, it is easily one of Barcelona’s best luxury hotels. Read more here.
El Born is home to a number of tourist attractions, but is also home to a lot of expats, and has a more gentrified feel than other parts of the Ciutat Vella. Upscale restaurants and bars are plentiful, and there are narrow streets with charming independent boutiques to explore.
Upside: Hundreds of bars and restaurants at your doorstep, and many of them are good. Easy access to the Gothic Quarter and the waterfront.
Downside: Lots of tourists and lots of bars can add up to noisy nighttime scenes.
Best El Born Hotels
The Barcelona Edition
The new-build Barcelona Edition opened in 2018, and combines modern luxury and design with an unparalleled city-centre location. If you’re looking for modern chic, in a fantastic central location The Edition is easily one of Barcelona’s best luxury hotels. Find out more and book it here.
Yurbban Passage Hotel & Spa
Close to the Plaça de Catalunya, and literally connecting the El Born and Eixample districts, Yurbban Passage Hotel & Spa offers the best of both worlds. Read more and book here.
Hotel Rec Barcelona
The Hotel Rec is a rare wallet-friendly Barcelona hotel. To a degree you get what you pay for, but the Rec does have a few things working in its favor. Read more here.
El Raval is the newer area built inside the walls of the Ciutat Vella, which had been used for agriculture. Most of the buildings here date to the 1800s, so there’s still plenty of charm in the architecture.
El Raval was once known as the Barri Xinès and was home to a lot of crime and prostitution. A lot of locals still warn people off visiting. Full disclosure: it’s also where I stay, and therefore I have a warmer feeling for the place than many.
Still, El Raval is gentrifying, which means you get quite a lot of hipster restaurants and bars alongside Pakistani butchers, Filipino hairdressers and the like. It’s cosmopolitan and colourful, though there are still some less than savoury types around.
Upside: Home to a lot of attractions; dynamic dining scene; cheaper than other areas; easy walk to the Gothic Quarter, and to Sant Antoni, Poble Sec, and Montjuic in the other direction.
Downside: Dodgy characters abound; not as sparkly clean as some areas; noisy tourists.
Best El Raval Hotels
On-trend shoe brand, Camper, is likely to do things a little differently to your standard hotelier. It does. And Casa Camper is in one of my favourite El Raval streets. For its quirky design style, and fab location, Casa Camper is easily one of Barcelona’s best luxury hotels. Read more here.
In the heart of Rambla del Raval, Barcelo Raval is a good value-for-money hotel by Barcelona standards. It even has a cool rooftop bar! Read more here.
La Barceloneta was built in the 18th century to house people (mostly fisherfolk) displaced when a fort was built in El Born. The beach was shipped-in at a later date, but has become an attraction in its own right. I’ll be honest – I’m not a huge fan but I am spoiled for beaches, and this one doesn’t really float my boat. On the other hand I do like wandering past Port Vell to check out the superyachts in the harbor.
Things to see: Port Vell; Beach.
Upside: It’s a pleasant enough promenade along the beachfront. This is the area most people head to for paella (which is not a Catalan dish, but what the hey!). The hotels are not in amongst the narrow streets that can be messy.
Downside: The narrow streets are much less charming than El Gòtic and El Born, and overflowing with often badly-behaved tourists and rental apartments.
Best La Barceloneta Hotels
Okay, technically Hotel Arts is in Port Olímpic rather than La Barceloneta, but it is right next door. This modern high rise hotel is part of the Ritz Carlton hotel chain, and it shows. Not cheap, but good. Read more
W Barcelona gives fans of the brand a brilliant beachfront base, and it’s right on a nudist beach too! Okay, maybe that doesn’t sound like a feature of Barcelona’s best luxury hotels, but the W really delivers. Read more here.
Eixample is ‘the extension’, a forward-looking piece of town-planning by Ildefonso Cerdá after the walls of the city were demolished in the mid 1800s. Cerdá’s grid layout featuring square blocks with chamfered corners are Barcelona icons.
Eixample is roughly twice the size of the Ciutat Vella, and was – and remains – home to Barcelona’s wealthier residents. The new space also gave the modernista architects a blank palette. So Eixample is home to the bulk of their iconic buildings, as well as the grande dame hotels that appeared at the end of the 19th century.
Cerdá’s layout also features a number of leafy boulevards that connect the city and house its more fashionable retail outlets. Most of the really good Eixample hotels are on, or adjacent to, these boulevards.
Upside: Chi-chi shopping; modernista masterpieces; grand boulevards; elegant, and surprisingly intact architecture; good transport links; upmarket feel.
Downside: Less lively atmosphere than many parts of the old town; it’s a big area – some Eixample hotels are not close to attractions.
Attractions: Casa Batlló, Casa Milà, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, La Sagrada Familia, Museu del Disseny de Barcelona, Fundación MAPFRE Casa Garriga Nogués Exhibition Hall, Mercat de Sant Antoni
Best Eixample Hotels
Murmuri Hotel Barcelona
In a city full of design hotels Murmuri stands out for its location and value. Read more here.
Hotel Casa Elliot
The charming recently-renovated Hotel Casa Elliot in the Sant Antoni district gets you out of the usual tourist haunts for a more local feel. Read more here.
Singapore has Raffles.
Hong Kong Has the Peninsula.
In Europe grand hotels are a bit more common, though they’re often where you go for spot-on service, along with the fancy digs. They’ve had years to get it right after all. Here are just a few of Barcelona’s best grand luxury hotels:
Mandarin Oriental Barcelona
With its superb location on the Passeig de Gràcia, indoor and outdoor pools (the latter with views), and even Michelin-star dining, The Mandarin Oriental Barcelona is definitely one of the city’s grande dames.
The room rates are in line with the quality, however. Still. It is the goods. Book it here
Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona
The Passeig de Gràcia is the address in Barcelona, and the Majestic Hotel has been welcoming guests here since 1918. Again, you’re paying top dollar for the experience (though there are some good off-season deals to be had), but if you’re only ever visiting Barcelona once…. Book it here
Casa Fuster Hotel
If you’re looking for the European grand hotel experience in Barcelona, and are willing to sacrifice an absolutely centre-of-town location for some savings (though it’s hardly cheap – or far) Casa Fuster Hotel may be a good choice.
As the name suggests, Casa Fuster started life as a house – allegedly the most expensive house in the city at the time – designed by famed modernist architect Lluís Domènch I Montaner. It was converted into a hotel in 2004.
Casa Fuster enjoys a prized Passeig de Gràcia address, but at the Gràcia neighborhood end. This is not a bad thing, Gràcia is a charming place, with a unique character that makes it well worth exploring. And strolling down towards town you’ll have the smug knowledge that what you’ve saved on accommodation compared with the ‘central’ grande dames will buy a decent meal. Book it here
Like it or not, tourism contributes to climate change, and can have a detrimental effect on the environment. While most hoteliers act responsibly, some go further with certification.
Hotel Pulitzer Barcelona
Hotel Pulitzer has Biosphere certification from the Responsible Tourism Institute, which addresses Sustainable Development Goals. The hotel claims to use “recycled and eco-labeled materials, solar panels for hot water production, organic or Km0 products and increasing coverage of LED lighting and A+ or higher energy rating appliances,” amongst other measures to limit its impact.
The hotel’s location just off the Plaça de Catalunya adds to its attractiveness. Book it here
Find the Love It There* – Barcelona recommended hotels here: