Barcelona seemingly has it all: magnificent architecture, top-notch museums, an innovative dining scene. Certainly the tourist numbers would agree: It’s one of the top European destinations, with some 8.5 million visitors every year prepandemic. To meet the demand, hotels have sprung up around the city, from design-forward stays in the historic center to shiny newcomers set on the quieter outskirts—joining the classic luxury hotels that have stood the test of time.
And while Barcelona is extremely walkable, it’s a good idea to choose a hotel that’s in line with your itinerary. The vast Eixample district is centrally located and home to many of the major landmarks, including the trio of Gaudí masterpieces: Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, and La Pedrera. The medieval heart of the city, the Gothic Quarter, has a wonderfully moody ambiance, but it’s also packed with bars and restaurants, making it one of the most touristy districts. Escape some of that madness by staying on the fringes of the city, in more residential neighborhoods like Gràcia and Poblenou. For beach time, the seafront district of Barceloneta obliges.
We’ve narrowed down the 10 best hotel options across Barcelona—five-star grande dames, chic boutiques, and urban sanctuaries—all of which capture the spirit of the Catalan capital and its many different sides.
Location: EixampleBook now
Set in a stately 1869 neoclassical mansion on the city’s Gran Via, this independently owned boutique hotel mixes handsome original details with contemporary design. Its 67 rooms have soaring ceilings (and equally tall windows) and restored mosaic-tiled floors; the best are the Courtyard Terrace rooms, with spacious patios equipped with outdoor showers and loungers where you can sneak a peek at the neighbors’ well-tended gardens.
Nearly everything in the hotel is the work of area artisans, including bespoke wood furnishings and colorful bedspreads made from natural sustainable fabrics. But the buzzy, locals-love-it vibe of its public spaces is where Casa Bonay truly shines. Lounge in the trendy Libertine cocktail bar, share tapas at the cozy Bodega Bonay, sip a flat white at Satan’s Coffee Corner, or feast on grilled specialties on the Chiringuito rooftop.
Sir Victor Hotel
Location: EixampleBook now
Sir Victor’s striking modern façade—with curving white balconies resembling the flipping pages of a book—is a bold departure from the elegant 19th-century architecture that defines much of the Eixample district. This was one of the city’s first design hotels when it opened in 2003 as the Hotel Omm; the hip, Amsterdam-based Sir Hotels took over in 2019, revamping the interiors for an even glossier vibe. While the vast circular bar of the swanky lobby-level restaurant Mr. Porter invites mingling, most folks make a beeline to the rooftop terrace for spectacular views of Gaudí’s La Pedrera and Sagrada Familia—along with some rather good cocktails.
The Sir brand prides itself on its creative, locally inspired guest experiences, and here you can choose from six excursions, like shopping for vinyl with a Barcelona DJ or a neighborhood wine tour with a local sommelier. Be sure to check out the mezzanine library, stocked with reads by or about women, in honor of Caterina Albert i Paradís, whose literary alias, Víctor Català, inspired the hotel’s name.
Cotton House Hotel, Autograph Collection
Location: EixampleBook now
Wealthy merchants once hobnobbed in the grand spaces of this 19th-century neoclassical palace, the former headquarters of the Catalan Cotton Textile Foundation, transformed in 2015 into an 83-room luxury hotel. A meticulous renovation maintained its historic features—the imposing marble staircase, intricate wood-coffered ceilings, parquet floors—while weaving in modern design and contemporary artwork, courtesy of Barcelona interior designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán.
The interplay between old and new extends throughout the hotel, notably in the first-floor suites, where sleek black and white furnishings create a subtle contrast with the original marquetry floors, frescoed ceilings, and ornate moldings. Larger rooms and suites have pull-out sofas for small families, or the sprawling duplex Vichy Suite sleeps up to six, with two sofa beds. In a nod to the building’s heritage, a bespoke shirt-tailoring service is offered in-house at L’Atelier, where you can choose your fabric as professionals take your exact measurements. On the restaurant front, Batuar serves excellent Mediterranean-inspired tapas and mains, both inside the brasserie-style dining room and on the spacious, shady terrace. And unlike many Barcelona restaurants, it offers nonstop service from morning to midnight.
Location: Eixample/GràciaBook now
On the border of Eixample and Gràcia, this stylish 152-room hotel is within striking distance of major tourist attractions like Gaudí’s La Pedrera and just across from the village-like Gràcia, with its leafy plazas and hyper-local drinking and dining scene. A free weekly tour for guests reveals the charms of this bohemian neighborhood, with stops at a traditional tapas spot, an edgy art gallery, and the cocktail den Old Fashioned.
But there’s plenty to do in the hotel, whether you prefer a scene-y central bar; a lively rooftop with a pool, bar, and sundeck; or a more tranquil retreat to the courtyard patio, with its native olive trees and Mediterranean-inspired tapas. Unwind at the Seventy Spa, with its indoor pool, multiple saunas, and a menu of treatments using 100 percent natural, vegan products. The environmentally friendly hotel was constructed using green materials and energy-efficient technology, including insulated windows, solar panels, and automated climate control and lighting systems.
The Hoxton Poblenou
Location: PoblenouBook now
It’s not surprising that the city’s hottest new hotel is located in one of its coolest districts: Poblenou, a former industrial zone turned hipster haven, with warehouses converted into co-working spaces, artisanal coffee shops, and slow-food restaurants. With its Detroit-style pizza joint and rooftop taqueria, the Hoxton fits right in, and you’ll likely compete with locals for a table, especially at sunset hour. The nine-story, 240-room property is on the larger side, but it feels intimate thanks to homey design touches, such as terra-cotta floors, handcrafted tapestries, and locally commissioned artwork. Designed for families, small groups, or longer-term stays, the brand-new “Homey Up” room category provides plenty of privacy and space, with two separate bedrooms, plus a kitchenette and dining area. A retail space stocks a range of products from some of Barcelona’s best artisans, including sustainable clothing from Brava Fabrics, Rowse organic cosmetics, and chocolate from ethical bean-to-bar makers Lot Roasters.
Mercer Hotel Barcelona
Location: Gothic QuarterBook now
Few neighborhoods in the world can match the allure of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, with its labyrinthine cobblestone lanes flanked by medieval buildings and dotted with Roman-era relics. The Mercer is at the very heart of it, down one of those narrow alleys and literally built into the ancient Roman defense walls. A former watchtower is now a cozy library, while the original stone walls are integrated into the thoroughly contemporary cocktail bar and sleek Catalan haute-cuisine restaurant.
Historical elements feature throughout the 28 rooms, notably in the third-floor suite, with its sloping 18th-century wood ceilings and pointed archways dating from the Middle Ages. A hushed, refined ambiance pervades—this is not a party hotel—and that’s especially evident on the rooftop terrace, a secluded, guest-only space with a plunge pool, bar, and lovely views of the neighboring church spires.
Kimpton Vividora Barcelona
Location: Gothic QuarterBook now
New hotels are rare in the city’s historic Gothic Quarter, so Kimpton made quite a splash with the opening of this 156-room property in summer 2020. The brand enlisted Barcelona interiors firm El Equipo Creativo to create Vividora’s signature look, blending contemporary design with distinctly Catalan touches, including colorful geometric ceramic tiles and local artwork. Rooms reflect the hotel’s surroundings: earthy terra- cotta tones allude to the mountains while cool blues evoke the Mediterranean Sea. The rooftop Terraza de Vivi attracts guests and locals alike, with its fabulous views of the Barcelona Cathedral and daily brunch of bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys. And of course, there is Kimpton’s famous evening Social Hour, where guests bond over complimentary local wine and vermouth; enjoy other perks like free bike and skateboard rentals.
Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona
Location: EixampleBook now
With a prestigious location on the posh shopping avenue of Passeig de Gràcia, this grande dame has set the standard for luxury since it opened in 1918. Well-heeled guests and locals rub elbows among the neoclassical stone columns of the elegant lobby bar and up at the rooftop restaurant La Dolce Vitae, with sublime Sagrada Familia views. The 272 classic rooms feature a soothing palette of creams and beiges; some overlook Passeig de Gràcia with views of Gaudí’s iconic Casa Batlló, while ninth-floor penthouse suites feature spacious terraces with outdoor Jacuzzis and eye-popping city views. (All guests can enjoy the fabulous art collection lining the penthouse-level hallways.) The family-friendly hotel offers rooms and suites with sofa beds, as well as connecting rooms. Among the Majestic’s exclusive guest experiences is “Remarkable Residences,” taking you inside the lesser-known Modernista mansions of Casa Rocamora or Casa Amatller, where you can enjoy a private dinner surrounded by stunning Catalan architecture.
Hotel Pulitzer Barcelona
Location: Plaza CatalunyaBook now
You’re just as likely to run into a Barcelonian as a fellow guest at this smart, family-owned boutique hotel, conveniently located just off the busy central square of Plaza Catalunya. There’s the popular menú del día (lunch menu), served in the pretty plant-filled Greenhouse Restaurant, but the newly renovated rooftop terrace is what really draws a crowd, with local DJs and live bands from Wednesday to Sunday. Its casual street-food menu is a cut above, with elevated renditions of Catalan tapas like Russian salad (here with fresh seared tuna, rather than the typical canned variety). Of the hotel’s 91 rooms, more than half have balconies; a recent update introduced light-wood floors and highly Instagrammable turquoise-tiled bathrooms. For a true splurge, book the top-floor Terrace Suite, boasting original artwork and a sprawling wood patio surrounded by greenery.
Location: BarcelonetaBook now
One of the modern icons of the city skyline, this glassy, sail-shaped monolith towers 27 stories above the Barcelona coast, offering unmatched views of the city, the beach, the marina, and the Mediterranean beyond. Fittingly, nearly every space at this 473-room urban retreat is oriented toward the sea, from the outdoor pools to the restaurant terraces to the seasonal beach club—even the gym and spa overlook the water. This is where Barcelona’s young glitterati come to party, with DJs on the pool deck in summer, or year-round at the swanky Eclipse bar, with thumping music, fancy cocktails, and panoramic views from 26 stories up. But step inside the sleek, contemporary rooms and things instantly become serene, with spectacular views of the city, sea—or both—framed by floor-to-ceiling windows. Capitalizing on its seaside location, the hotel offers a variety of watersport activities, including Pilates and yoga on stand-up paddleboards.