Where to Stay in Barcelona: Best Areas & Hotels
Of Barcelona's major neighborhoods, the Gothic Quarter and La Rambla shopping district are often the first places visitors look for lodgings because of their close proximity to the most popular tourist destinations and high-end shopping. Although there are plentiful fantastic hotels here, it is well worth considering some of the nearby areas, which have just as much to offer in their own right. El Born (also known as La Ribera) has fascinating labyrinthine streets to explore, as well as major sights like the Picasso Museum, the Modern Art Museum, and the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar. The modern, trendy Eixample district is still within walking distance to most of the city's old town attractions, and is home to some of its own magnificent sites, like the impressive Basilica de la Sagrada Familia and Gaudi's La Pedrera.
Where to Stay for Luxury
If you truly want to relax in the lap of luxury, five-star Hotel The Serras, once the studio of a 15-year-old Pablo Picasso, is the place to be. The hotel's rooftop terrace overlooks the marina Port Vell, with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean, and although there are plenty of restaurants nearby, you will want to stay and savor the on-site Michelin star-rated Chef Restaurant. Nearby, in the Gothic Quarter, sits the Mercer Hotel Barcelona, which has preserved several original historic features, including a Roman wall and medieval frescoes. Its rooftop pool area has beautiful views of the cathedral and dome of Santa Maria del Mar, and breakfast is served on a quiet patio with orange trees.
The El Raval neighborhood hosts Casa Camper Hotel Barcelona, sitting just a block from La Rambla and a two-minute walk from Plaza Cataluña. Along with the amenities and services typical of a great hotel, this top-notch host treats guests to unlimited complimentary snacks, including pastries, salads, soups, sandwiches, and a full selection of beverages, available all day.
Despite its location in the more contemporary Eixample business district, El Palace Hotel truly excels at immersing guests in old-world elegance. Founded by César Ritz in 1917, each room and suite has been fully restored to its former glory. The recent addition of the 1920s-inspired Diana Garden has enhanced the ambience, with fountains, pergolas, and more than 50 species of plants adorning the roof's pool area.
Where to Stay for the Best Value
Incredibly fun and unique, Room Mate Pau offers chic, modern rooms with bathroom goodies galore and free breakfast. The hotel is centrally located just two blocks from La Rambla, overlooks Plaça de Catalunya, and is only steps from the bus stop to make getting around town a breeze. Not far from here, also bordering the Gothic Quarter, the sleek Yurbban Trafalgar Hotel offers plenty of services for the multitasking traveler, including a gym, business center, and even self-service laundry in addition to standard dry cleaning. When you are ready to relax, the rooftop pool area is waiting with city-wide views.
The ultra-modern Musik Boutique Hotel is located in quieter La Ribera yet still within walking distance to the main sights and close to the Museu de la Xocolata (yes, that's a chocolate museum). The Olivia Balmes Hotel is priced for value but feels like a luxury hotel, sitting just two blocks from La Pedrera and Gaudí's architectural masterpieces at Passeig de Gracia in the Eixample district. The rooftop solarium and pool area overlook the city center.
Where to Stay on a Budget
Budget hotels are hard to find in prime locations, but somehow Hotel Curious has managed to make it work just two blocks from La Rambla and La Boqueria Market. For those who want to explore, the bus stop is just steps away, or the more adventurous can rent a bicycle from the in-house tour desk. The efficiently situated rooms are simple, modern, and clean, many with charming balconies that overlook a narrow street.
The Hotel Constanza Barcelona in the Eixample district is a great find, just three blocks from Plaça de Tetuan and five blocks from Placa de Catalunya. Most rooms have quaint balconies over a quiet street or the courtyard, and the hotel offers full services, including a tapas restaurant.
Just outside the city center but a stone's throw from La Sagrada Familia, Ibis Barcelona Centro has highly rated service staff and a dependable reputation. Another hidden gem is Hotel Paral-lel, which has small but efficient rooms. This hotel sits on the outer edge of El Raval neighborhood, close to several concert halls and theaters, as well as Barcelona's millennium-old Sant Pau del Camp monastery.
Where to Stay for Romance
Couples will enjoy a truly memorable experience at the Hotel DO: Placa Reial, where a stay includes a full breakfast delivered to your room until 11am and sweet surprises, like chocolate-covered strawberries. Just steps from La Rambla in the Gothic Quarter's Placa Reial, this small boutique hotel is close enough to the main sights to leave plenty of time for relaxing at the on-site spa and enjoying the locally sourced menu at one of its three restaurants.
If you want to be immersed in history, the Hotel Neri Relais & Chateaux occupies two restored medieval-era buildings only a block from the cathedral. Grand stone staircases and candlelit terraces balance beautifully with modern touches for an idyllic stay.
Hidden outside the city center in the residential neighborhood of Sarria-Sant Gervasi, Hotel Primero Primera is a four-star treasure with large, comfortable rooms. Here, you can cuddle up on a couch in front of the fireplace or enjoy the peaceful garden and pool area. For those who want even more seclusion for their romantic getaway, ABaC Barcelona is situated at the northern edge of this same neighborhood, overlooking La Tamarita gardens and Kennedy Square. Each room is spacious and exquisitely outfitted with exotic wood flooring and elegant décor, and amenities include large rain showers and Jacuzzis with underwater sunbeds. Those who are looking for something different will enjoy a walk to the nearby Turo del Putxet gardens, a large park with hills that overlook the city.