The best boutique hotels in Barcelona
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Catalonia's colourful capital combines everything that is most charming about Mediterranean cities – a relaxed pace, months of endless sunshine, unbeatable food – with culture and design. Over the last decade or so, Barcelona's hoteliers have worked hard to create unique, beautifully designed spaces that reflect the nature of this quirky city, frequently repurposing historic buildings in a way that preserves the original features and style. Cons are thoroughly mod, however, and you can also expect high-quality fabrics, furniture, and the more personal approach to service at which smaller hotels excel. Located in popular areas such as the Gothic Quarter, the Old Town and Central, here's our pick of the best boutique hotels in Barcelona.
At a glance, the best boutique hotels in Barcelona
Best overall boutique hotel in Barcelona – Serras Hotel
Most affordable boutique hotel in Barcelona – Villa Emilia
Best boutique hotel in Barcelona with a swimming pool – Grand Hotel Central
Best boutique hotel in Barcelona for location – Hotel Pulitzer Barcelona
The bijou Hotel Bagués is housed in the former headquarters of the Bagués-Masriera jeweller’s and a forensic attention to materials and details is evidenced throughout. The hotel embraces a heady miscellany of styles and materials that fuses leopard skin, Venetian glass and gold plate giving an exotic, ritzy, and curiously cosy overall effect. The front desk should give masterclasses in warmth and helpfulness to hotel staff everywhere. There is a rooftop plunge pool and gym, and a small museum on the first floor exhibits jewellery from the original Bagués-Masriera collection.
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A delightful little hotel with only 22 rooms housed in a 17th-century mansion. Hotel Neri might not have a pool or gym, but its location is certainly hard to fault – down a quiet side street that's close to the Cathedral and a wide range of Barri Gòtic eating and drinking options. Its terrace on an atmospheric little square and its leafy rooftop bar are extra pluses. Beautifully sympathetic to the style and original features of the historical building in which it is housed, the hotel embraces an unusually bold palette for its soft furnishings and large, splashy artworks. Glass chandeliers and crushed velvet sofas make it classy but cosy all at once.
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The hip, chic and good-value four-star hotel has a retro-glam interior by British designer Kelly Hoppen. It’s well located for shopping and to see the Gaudí buildings. The Murmuri has a rooftop sun deck with loungers, but for a gym or pool you’ll need to go to the nearby sister Hotel Majestic. Rooms are modestly sized but stylish, cosy and carpeted. El Passatge is a bright and lively restaurant serving Catalan and fusion dishes at good prices. The real star of the Murmuri, though, is the stunning Marfil cocktail bar on the ground floor, as popular with locals as it is with hotel guests.
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The outré façade dotted with eyes on stalks and all-black lobby suggest something more avant-garde than the reality, which is a smart but understated five-star hotel. The Ohla provides all mod cons, along with plenty of luxuries – such as a clear-sided rooftop dipping pool. The hotel places you right in the heart of the action in the busy Via Laietana, the de facto border between the medieval Barri Gòtic and Born areas. Standard rooms have large rainshowers and luxurious touches such as a pillow and sheet menu. Don't miss a meal at Caelis for creative modern takes on classics both French and Catalan.
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You'll struggle to find a hotel much more central than the Pulitzer, sitting as it does just off the Plaça Catalunya. Exuding a vibrant cool, this is where the party people stay – which is not to say that you can't have a perfectly peaceful time. The lobby sets the tone with its white leather sofas and zebra-print rugs. The rooftop bar is the real selling point, with its glamorous clientele and Café del Mar vibe. Wood, leather and satin dominate the chic but modestly sized bedrooms, while bathrooms are tiled in dark marble.
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A creatively refashioned Twenties property in an atmospheric area, between the Gothic and Born districts and directly opposite the cathedral. The hotel exudes Art Deco grandeur, from its elegant façade to its stylish fonts. There is a spa, and the ground-floor gallery highlights the work of up-and-coming artists, but the rooftop infinity pool steals the show. Rooms have high ceilings and Nespresso machines. Head to City Bar & Restaurant; the former offers a relaxed cocktail bar with DJs and occasional live music, while the latter serves a range of tasty and unexpected dishes in a smart and stylish environment.
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The España is a much-loved Barcelona institution, which started out as an inn for travellers in the 19th century. Recent additions include a top-deck sundeck and cocktail bar, which sometimes hosts live music or DJs. The rooms are fairly tiny unless you splash out for a Boutique room with terrace (ask for one on the fifth floor for a view to the nearby church), but such is the price you pay to sleep in a sensitively converted historic building. The Fonda España is worth eating in for the wonderful Modernista mosaics alone, but if traditional Catalan fare is your thing, you’ll love the food too.
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The Serras is sunny, friendly and supremely comfortable. Its decked rooftop bar and pool area, with views across the port, is worth a visit even for non-guests. A relatively sombre design by renowned designer Eva Martínez is never less than tasteful, with a white and chocolate theme in the bedrooms, nods to traditional Barcelona tiling on the over-sized headboards, and crushed velvet in ochre and grey in the common areas. Standard rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, balconies and beds with mattresses by appointment to Queen Elizabeth II, no less. The house restaurant, Informal, is overseen by Marc Gascons, who has a Michelin star at his restaurant near Girona.
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One of the loveliest hotels in its price range, the Villa Emilia is not especially central (it is located in the Eixample, just off the Gran Via) but it is conveniently close to various forms of public transport. The shady rooftop terrace is a delight and hosts barbecues on Thursday evenings. Downstairs, Zinc Bar has a piano player on busy nights. Afternoon tea is laid on (free) at 5pm every day. The rooms are comfortable and well designed for this price, decked out in autumnal hues, with ethnic artworks above the beds. Staff bend over backwards to keep guests happy.
Frequently asked questions
Which boutique hotels in Barcelona have nice views?
Grand Hotel Central has spectacular views from the 10-metre rooftop infinity pool. The rooftop Skybar is open from April to October. Even the gym here has a great view. The decked rooftop bar and pool area at Serras Hotel looks across the yachts moored in the marina, as do some of the rooms. Superior rooms at Hotel Bagués look over either La Rambla or Betlem Church. At Hotel España, ask for a Boutique room on the fifth floor to see the nearby church from your terrace.
What is the difference between a boutique hotel and a hotel?
Intimate rather than grand, a boutique hotel has a limited number of rooms, each with a unique interior. Borrowed from the French word for a small shop, the ‘boutique’ hotel emerged in the 1980s as an antidote to the large chain hotel. They tend to be independent and personally run rather than a member of a multi-national group.