Of Barcelona’s main neighborhoods, the Gothic Quarter and La Rambla shopping streets are often the first places visitors look for accommodation due to their proximity to the most popular tourist destinations and high-end shops. While there are plenty of fantastic hotels here, it’s 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 attractions such as the Picasso Museum, the Modern Art Museum and the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar. The modern, trendy Eixampledistrict is still within walking distance of most of the city’s old town attractions, and is home to some of its own stunning sites, such as the impressive Basilica de la Sagrada Familia and Gaudi’s La Pedrera.
Where to stay for luxury
Gothic Quarter, Barcelona
If you really want to relax in the lap of luxury, the five-star Hotel The Serras, once the studio of a 15-year-old Pablo Picasso, is the place to be. The hotel’s roof terrace overlooks the Port Vell marina and offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. Many restaurants can be found nearby. You can stay here and enjoy the on-site Michelin star restaurant. Close by, in the Gothic Quarter , is the Mercer Hotel Barcelona, which retains several original period features, including a Roman wall and medieval frescoes. The rooftop pool offers great views of the cathedral and dome of Santa Maria del Mar and breakfast is served on a peaceful patio with orange trees.
The El Raval neighborhood hosts Casa Camper Hotel Barcelona, just a few steps from La Rambla and a two-minute walk from Plaza Cataluña. In addition to the amenities and services typical of a great hotel, this premier host offers guests unlimited complimentary snacks, including pastries, salads, soups, sandwiches and a full selection of beverages, available throughout the day.
Despite its location in the more contemporary Eixample business district, El Palace Hotel really 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 atmosphere, with fountains, pergolas and more than 50 species of plants adorning the rooftop pool area.
Where to stay for the best value
Incredibly fun and unique, Room Mate Pau offers chic, modern rooms with luxury toiletries and complimentary breakfast. Centrally located just two blocks from La Rambla , the hotel overlooks Plaça de Catalunya, and is just steps away from the bus stop to make getting around the city a breeze. Not far from here, also bordering the Gothic Quarter , the stylish Yurbban Trafalgar Hotel offers a host of services for the multitasking traveler, including a gym, business center and even a self-service laundry in addition to the standard dry cleaning. When you’re ready to relax, the rooftop pool area with city views awaits.
The ultra-modern Musik Boutique Hotel is located in a quiet area of La Ribera still within walking distance of the main attractions and close to the Museu de la Xocolata (yes, that’s a chocolate museum). The Olivia Balmes Hotel is value for money but feels like a luxury hotel, just two blocks from La Pedrera and Gaudí’s architectural masterpieces on Passeig de Gracia in the Eixample district . The rooftop solarium and swimming pool overlook the city centre.
Where to stay on a budget
Budget hotels are hard to come by in prime locations, but somehow the Hotel Curious managed to make it just two blocks from La Rambla and La Boqueria Market. For those looking to explore, the bus stop is steps away, or the more adventurous can hire a bicycle from the hotel’s tour desk. The efficiently located rooms are simple, modern and clean, many with charming balconies overlooking a narrow street.
The Hotel Constanza Barcelona in the Eixample district is a great find, just three blocks from Placa de Tetuan and five blocks from Placa de Catalunya. Most rooms have scenic balconies over a quiet street or courtyard. 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 regarded service staff and a reputation for reliability. Another hidden gem is Hotel Paral-lel, which has small but efficient rooms. This hotel is located on the outskirts of El Raval neighbourhood, close to several concert halls and theatres, as well as Barcelona’s millennium-old Sant Pau del Camp Monastery.
Where to stay for romance
Pedestrian zone in Barcelona
Couples will enjoy an unforgettable experience at Hotel DO: Placa Reial, where a stay includes breakfast served in your room until 11:00 AM and sweet surprises such as chocolate covered strawberries. Just steps from La Rambla in the Gothic quarters Placa Reial, this small boutique hotel is close enough to the main attractions to allow enough time to relax in the hotel’s spa and enjoy the local produce menu in one of the three restaurants.
If you want to be immersed in history, the Hotel Neri Relais & Chateaux occupies two restored medieval buildings just a few steps from the cathedral. Grand stone steps and candle-lit terraces balance beautifully with modern touches for an idyllic stay.
Hidden outside the city center in the residential area of Sarria-Sant Gervasi, Hotel Primero Primera is a 4-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. For those who want even more seclusion for their romantic getaway, ABaC Barcelona is located on the northern edge of the same district, overlooking La Tamarita Gardens and Kennedy Square. Each room is spacious and beautifully appointed with exotic wood floors and elegant décor. Amenities include large rain showers and Jacuzzis with underwater sunbeds. Those looking for something different will enjoy a stroll to the nearby gardens of Turo del Putxet, a large park with hills overlooking the city.