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In a city with as many hotel options as Barcelona, picking the right one can be a dizzying prospect. While you’ll find all the usual chains here, we love the option of a boutique hotel as the small properties are chic, trendy, and tend to combine great features — like indulgent spas and Michelin-starred restaurants — with dashes of local color. Luckily, in a destination that loves design as much as Barcelona does, there’s no shortage of boutiques which deliver chic pool scenes, great bites, and rooftop terraces with enviable views of iconic attractions like the Gaudi-designed La Sagrada Familia, the narrow medieval streets of the Gothic Quarter, and the Las Ramblas pedestrian street. Here, we’ve rounded up a handful of the best stays the Spanish city has on offer — whether you’re traveling on business or escaping your 9 to 5 on a romantic rendezvous.
Best Overall: The Serras Hotel
If we were going to design a dream hotel, this would pretty much be it. At the five-star Serras Hotel, guests will find just 28 rooms — each decorated stylishly in creams and dark woods with colorful accents like mustard-hued velvet settees — in what was once Picasso’s first studio. The hotel offers great views of the gorgeous Port Vell from its rooftop terrace, complete with a great bar and small infinity pool for siesta-hour dips (our recommendation: request a room on a higher floor for the best views). The Gothic Quarter is just behind the hotel, so you’re within an easy walk of its sights and tucked-away restaurants and bars — but, with a Michelin-starred restaurant right downstairs, you probably won't be in that big of a rush. It’s more informal than you might think, with the chef pulling seasonal ingredients straight from the market to create Catalan and Mediterranean tapas. Best of all, the hotel is just a 10- to 15-minute walk from Barcelona’s gorgeous golden beaches, so if you want to even out your city slicking with a little shoreside R&R, that's no problem.
Best Budget: Hotel Banys Orientals
Located in Barcelona’s trendy, artsy Born neighborhood, this 43-room hotel is an 18th-century gem with room rates about two-thirds the price of many similar boutiques. The rooms are chic, with clean, minimalist design. If you’re looking to head out and about, the metro station is just three blocks away and Las Ramblas, the popular tourist street that borders the Raval district, is a 10-minute walk away — as is the beach. Two of Barcelona’s most important cathedrals — Barcelona Cathedral and Santa Maria del Mar are also close by. Not that you’ll be lacking in restaurant options in this quarter of the city, but if you’d like a delicious, quick meal, the on-site restaurant, Senyor Parellada, has a wonderful Catalan menu. Despite the name, there isn’t a spa on site, but with a central location, well-kept rooms, and a price point that lets you splurge on everything else the city has to offer, this is still one of Barcelona's best value picks.
Best Design Hotel: Hotel Brummell
It might technically be a three-and-a-half star stay, but Hotel Brummell delivers five-star design and service. Each of its 20 rooms features stylish, modern furniture and art — think clean Scandinavian lines with pops of lively Catalonian color — created by rising young European designers for an immersive taste of the latest and greatest on the continental art scene. The hotel’s Brummel Kitchen also gets great reviews, and the on-site cafe, The Box Social, is an ideal spot for seasonal local food. When it comes to downtime, the hotel has a beautifully tiled pool with comfy low-slung beach chairs, a garden, and a sauna. Plenty of Barcelona’s top spots are within a short walk: Teatre Grec, the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, and the Miro Foundation are all close by. The subway is a bit more of a walk — about 15 minutes — but if you want a haven to return to after a busy day of sightseeing, this restful property is just your spot.
Best Family: Hotel Arai
This design-centric hotel in Barcelona’s city center is a real treat for adults, but it’s also great for traveling families. Located right in the Gothic Quarter, the 31-room hotel is a restored 18th-century palace, with careful attention paid to preserving its original architecture and furnishings (tables, for instance, are made from recovered wooden beams). Families will love the aparthotel-style lodging, with nicely-sized double beds and two single couch beds in the family room, so everyone gets their own space. The family room also comes with a kitchen, so you get breakfast out of the way before leaving for a day of sightseeing. The onsite pool is great, and each guest also gets a free ticket to the Egyptian Museum — an air-conditioned attraction that will keep kids cool and occupied on hot summer days. Parents will also appreciate the bottle of wine that comes as a welcome gift.
Best Romance: Alma Barcelona
With 72 rooms spread over seven floors, Alma Barcelona is a little on the large side for a boutique property, but it doesn’t feel like it. Located in Eixample, the city’s upscale district, the Alma offers clean, minimalist rooms that deliver a swanky, sexy vibe with moody dark walls and design-driven furnishings. Common spaces like the hotel bar take the atmosphere a step further with gold mood lighting, a black marble-topped bar that serves up fantastic cocktails, and a beautiful atrium executed in chic industrial tones. The hotel is close to shopping on the Passeig de Gracia as well as Gaudi’s stunning Casa Mila. There’s an indoor pool for lap swimming, as well as a rooftop terrace that draws the eye over to La Sagrada Familia. Whatever you do, just be sure to make time for a treatment in the spa or some time in the sauna and steam room.
Best Luxury: Abac Barcelona
This luxury hotel combines next-level design, top-notch dining, and a gorgeous spa — plus best-in-class amenities — for an incredible stay. Each of its 15 rooms are done to perfection in cream and blush tones, with techie touches like remote-controlled blinds and Bang & Olufsen sound systems. There’s a three-star Michelin restaurant on site that serves an artfully executed dinner to remember (the tasting menu is avant-garde in all the right ways), so be sure to book a reservation in advance. Over at the spa, the bee sting facial and sen massage are the way to go, using Heaven by Deborah Mitchell products that were developed from ancient herbal treatments. Some see the hotel's slightly residential location as a downside, but after being swept up in the hustle and bustle of tourist attractions in the city center — and navigating peak-season crowds — it's a pleasing respite to come back to. If you really feel like splashing out, go for the incredible penthouse which has all-glass walls and a private terrace.
Best Nightlife: Ohla Barcelona
The best hotel nightlife in Barcelona is found at the W — and that should definitely be your first stop for a cocktail on any trip to the city. But, if you’re looking to stay boutique, Ohla Barcelona offers the best of two worlds, with a location between the romantic Gothic Quarter — home to bars and clubs for younger visitors and locals — and the artsy, trendy El Born district which is home to cocktail bars and cafes with tables that spill onto the sidewalk late into the night. During the day, there’s plenty to do on either side of the dividing Via Laietana, and the rooftop pool is an especially nice spot to take a break from the bustle. It’s also home to three culinary endeavors — each of which is well worth your time — and a great cocktail bar that can provide the perfect drink to start (or end) the night. Recover the next morning with a detoxifying workout in the gym and a session in the sauna.
Best Business: Hotel DO
We’d come here for a leisure trip, too, but for business, Hotel DO is one of the city’s best stays. The property's 18 rooms are stylishly decorated, with a focus on natural materials and tones, and come with free Wi-Fi, large sink areas for getting ready (complete with Molton Brown toiletries), and traditional balconies in typical Barcelona style. We love that desks come not just with a notepad and pen, but staplers and paper clips, too, for last-minute meeting prep. One extra touch really sets this hotel apart for business travelers: custom business cards with your name and the hotel’s address and contact info, which are great for handing out to clients you plan on meeting up with at the hotel later. After office hours, keep in mind that views from the roof are great, and there’s a lovely terrace with a small pool to cool off in, as well as a spa to get rid of workday stress. The hotel is also gastronomically gifted, and the on-site restaurant, La Terrassa, is an ideal place for tapa-accompanied meeting.
Best View: Casa Camper Hotel Barcelona
Those who love taking in Barcelona's jumble of Catalonian rooftops will adore this 40-room hotel by Camper (yes, the same company behind the quirky shoe brand). The wrap-around terrace that plays host to an excellent rooftop honor bar is also a beautiful place to take in a panoramic view of the city’s architecture, which really shines at sunset — or, enjoy it during the morning while you take advantage of free breakfast. Those staying on lower levels in the A building can also look out from their rooms to a vertical garden that adds some greenery to the city. Rooms are minimal and accented with trendy pops of color on the walls; if you want a bit of space, go for the rooms that offer a “mini-lounge” off the bedroom, complete with hammock and working table. Downstairs in the lobby, there’s a well-stocked, 24-hour free snack station. Another selling point? It’s only a two-minute walk to Placa Catalunya, the central meeting point for residents and a great gateway for a day discovering the city.