9 Gorgeous Boutique Hotels in Barcelona
Anyone who’s been to Barcelona raves about the food, the architecture, and the nightlife. But few people realize that Spain’s second city is also home to some of the world’s best boutique hotels—jewel-box properties that are effortlessly stylish, deeply personal, and, in some cases, more affordable than you’d imagine.
Jen has been a staff editor at Architectural Digest, Travel + Leisure, and Martha Stewart Weddings, and her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Afar, and Elle Decor. When she's not snowmobiling in the French Alps or tasting scotch straight from the barrel in Scotland, she's at home in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.
You won’t find a more atmospheric place to stay than the Mercer Hotel, a 17th-century townhouse that sits on the ancient Roman walls of the city’s Barri Gòtic. But don’t be fooled by the medieval arches and columns. The five-star boutique is the epitome of contemporary luxury, a soothing oasis complete with a flower-filled rooftop bar and plunge pool, a gourmet restaurant, a frescoed library, and the kind of service to write home about. The 28 rooms have Scandinavian-inspired furnishings and expressionist artwork, and most surround a courtyard dotted with orange trees—a calming scent as old as Spain itself.
Hidden among the fashion shops on Passeig de Gràcia, Hotel Murmuri is an elegant alternative to the city’s avant-garde décor thanks to interiors by British designer Kelly Hoppen. Instead of minimalist spaces with streamlined furnishings, you’ll find tufted headboards, faux-ostrich throw pillows, and chrome task lamps on the desks in its 53 guest rooms, which also come with free WiFi, flat-screen televisions, and Molton Brown toiletries. Upstairs, a solarium overlooking Gaudí’s famous La Pedrera apartment complex encourages quiet reflection, while the atmosphere downstairs is more convivial in the lobby bar, where there’s also a humidor for cigar lovers.
The Serras may have five-star credentials, but it’s the 1846 building’s background as the site of Picasso’s first studio—a fact honored in a suite dedicated to the painter—that gives this hotel serious pedigree. Add 30 black-and-white guest rooms, many accented with graphic prints that recall the city’s historic tiles, and you have all the makings of one of Barcelona’s most stylish hotels. Though it sits on the waterfront, the rooftop pool caters to a serious party scene, with DJs direct from Ibiza performing lively weekend sets. Downstairs, chef Marc Gascons, who is no stranger to Michelin stars, creates elevated Catalan-Mediterranean specialties that look like works of art at Informal by Marc Gascons.
Hotel Espana Ramblas
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more centrally located hotel than the España Ramblas, which somehow manages to remain a peaceful oasis despite its address near one of Barcelona’s busiest thoroughfares and proximity to all the major tourist haunts. The boutique began its life as a 19th-century lodge, but a 2010 restoration has left it with all the prerequisites of a modern-day Barcelona hotel—namely, minimalist rooms with a restrained black-white-and-gray palette and a rooftop lounge and cocktail bar. Still, many of the old touches remain, including bronze lamps, a stunning alabaster fireplace in the lobby bar, and an elaborately tiled restaurant named after the original building.
Hotel Villa Emilia
For those who prefer a quiet escape from the action, consider Hotel Villa Emilia, an affordable gem that sits in a quiet corner of L’Eixample. The 53 rooms are modern yet cozy, with Egyptian cotton linens and tranquil hues of gray, but the real draws are its public spaces. While the rest of the country is sipping gin and tonics into the wee hours, vermouth is the spirit to order at the Zinc Bar, where you can wind down among locals to the tunes of a piano on busy nights. And if the complimentary afternoon tea isn’t your thing, you can always retreat to a plush wicker chair on the rooftop terrace.
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ABaC Restaurant & Hotel
The residential enclave of Sant Gervasi has become an unexpected foodie destination thanks to Michelin darling Jordi Cruz’s experimental Catalan cuisine (think foie gras tacos with mole migas and sweet corn ice cream). Main event though your meal may be, the 15 whitewashed guest rooms at ABaC are more than mere footnote. Housed in a 19th-century mansion—the restaurant resides in a sleek glass addition—each takes an understated approach to hospitality, with luxe linen bed sheets and parquet flooring, plus rain showers and Hermès products in the baths. For the ultimate food coma cure, head to the small on-site spa for a cava body wrap or a steam in the hammam.
Creative types flock to this restored 19th-century apartment building in Barcelona’s artsy L’Eixample neighborhood for the cool-kid vibe (the gin and tonics flow on weekend nights, when the moody, teal-clad lobby bar Libertine becomes the city’s hottest lounge) as well as its Instagram-worthy style. Designed in collaboration with Brooklyn firm Studio Tack, Casa Bonay’s 67 surprisingly affordable guest rooms were painstakingly renovated and feature original mosaic-tile flooring, large windows that let in plenty of natural light, and eye-catching tropical prints on everything from the wallpaper to the throw pillows—a motif that also appears on your server’s shirt at Elephant, Crocodile, Monkey, the hotel’s Southeast Asian restaurant.
For the quintessential Barcelona lodging experience, look no further than Casa Camper, a quirky boutique owned by the Mallorca-based shoe brand. Set within a 19th-century building, 40 minimalist rooms look out onto a vertical garden and are outfitted with unexpected details like hammocks and bright red walls. You won’t stay in them for long, though: there’s a 24/7 snack bar and a Michelin-starred Asian tapas restaurant, a sky terrace overlooks the rooftops of the edgy El Raval district, and a basement cocktail bar resembles an American rec room with wood paneling, cozy club chairs, and two billiards tables. The hotel is also within short walking distance of Las Ramblas and the Richard Meier–designed Museum of Contemporary Art.
Cotton House Hotel
Rehabbed by Spanish interior designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán, this Belle Époque building in L'Eixample is the former headquarters of Barcelona's Cotton Textile Foundation. Its 19th-century history shines through in the lobby's antiqued mirrors, the library's original millwork and parquet floors, and the small lounge where you can order bespoke shirts made with custom fabric. The theme continues in its 83 sophisticated rooms, which are swathed in crisp white hues with black cotton-inspired prints on the walls. Ditch your bed and instead snag a table at the airy Batuar restaurant for Catalan-influenced small plates or, better yet, a striped chaise on the rooftop pool deck.
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