Since the 1992 Olympics, Barcelona has been a transformed city. Once an industrial area, the renovated port and new man-made beaches are laced with inviting promenades and cafes where people gather to see the sea, enjoy the water and have a delicious bite to eat. A stroll through the city provides the chance to see the old Roman Gothic quarter. The city was once protected by Roman walls, and remnants of Roman buildings are there to explore.
There are charming squares to sit and have a drink, to shop for local treasures or to hear local street musicians. Visitors and locals tend to head to the Ramblas to shop for souvenirs, fish and fresh produce. Talented street entertainers perform, and a statue to Christopher Columbus may be seen. The thriving city is filled with places to stop for coffee and a snack in the markets. The city stretches out into the harbor via the Rambla Del Mar, where shops and popular eateries are a favorite destination for locals.
This is the festive and vibrant place where artists Salvador Dalí, Picasso and architect Gaudí contributed to its cultural heritage. Barcelona is the second city of Spain, located in the separate municipality of Catalonia. Catalans consider themselves a nation without a state. They speak their own language in addition to Spanish and have distinct foods, dances, music and personalities.
It’s a friendly region located in the upper south-eastern corner of Spain bordered by France and the Mediterranean. The city is a transportation hub for connecting to other cities in Europe via its modern airport, new port with many berths for ships, and its high speed train links to France and cities in Europe. People come to enjoy tapas, music, art, history and culture. For many, the beautiful, historic city is considered to be the most wonderful in the world.
There are five luxury hotels in the city which each have earned five-star ratings and awards for their fine accommodations, exceptional service, historic and artistic structures, and visitor friendly amenities and locations. Here are the best of the best in Barcelona.
The Serras is a boutique hotel which overlooks the Port Vell. With amazing views of the Mediterranean Sea, this 5-star, luxurious hideaway has sleek, contemporary décor and a trendy sort of vibe. The staff is dedicated to personal service on the highest level. It is a fitting and delightful place for enjoying the world quality amenities and particular intrigue of Barcelona, and an amazing structure set in what was once Pablo Picasso’s first studio. It is situated in the Gothic quarter, in the Barrio Gótico.
There are only 28 guest rooms and suites in the hotel, and each is soundproofed for privacy and outfitted with a wireless sound system, a smart HD TV and the latest technology. The design is urban and modern. The furnishings are sleek, yet comfortable, and the hues are a well-blended palette of whites and blacks with a dash of brown or yellow for contrast. To echo the former fishing background of the surrounding neighborhood, iron and wood accents are throughout.
The Informal Restaurant with its terrace, the Rooftop dining area and the Le Nine Lounge Bar offer Mediterranean and traditional Catalan cuisine prepared by resident Michelin star chef, Marc Gascons. A DJ offers music on Friday and Saturdays nights in the mezzanine bar and restaurant.
Room rates start at EUR 615.00 per night for a Junior Suite with a city view, and EUR 725.00 per night for a sea view. Both come with complimentary WiFi and private balconies, and a choice of one king bed or two twin beds.
Mandarin Oriental Barcelona
An exquisitely beautiful structure, this hotel has earned its five-star designation by providing exceptional service and luxurious accommodations. Guests enjoy the well-appointed rooms and Michelin star cuisine. Located on the Passeig de Gracia, the hotel has its own beautiful gardens and views of the nearby Casa Batllo. It is situated in the center of the city.
Each of the 120 rooms and suites feature interior design by Patricia Urquiola, leading Spanish expert. From A Deluxe Garden Room offered from EUR 535 per night to the Penthouse Suite offered from EUR 9,000 per night, the rooms are exceptional examples of fine contemporary furnishings. Color palettes range from rooms with bright whites with contrasting pops of color to sophisticated neutrals with muted greys, blues, taupe and mink. Bespoke rugs, lamps, walk-in showers, freestanding soaking tubs and ornate screens fill the suites. All of the suites include private butler service.
Dining features Catalan cuisine and refreshments in several hotel spaces. These include Moments with its Gastronimc Catalan menu, Bistreau by Angel Leon with its causal sea menu, La Mesa featuring gastronomic cuisine, Terrat which is open to hotel guests only an doffers alfresco Peruvian, Mediterranean foods and cocktails, the Mimosa Garden featuring food and cocktails in a natural setting, and Banker’s Bar offering cocktails in the evenings.
There is a full wellness spa on site and a fitness center which is open 24 hours.
Hotel Ohla Barcelona
This five-star boutique hotel fills a neoclassical building that was once the first department store in Barcelona. It is centrally located in the Gothic Quarter with easy access to Passeig de Gracia, Las Ramblas, the Barcelona Cathedral, concert hall El Palau de la Musica Catalana and the Plaça de Catalunya.
There are 74 rooms decorated in contemporary décor with large windows to view the city sights. Each room is furnished in minimalist design. There are suites in varied sizes, including the Penthouse Suite which occupies its own floor at the top of the hotel, and the Dome Suite which is a dual level space int the dome which is at the buildings very top. Amenities are completely modern with large screen TV, free WiFi, minibars, rain showers, and a host of personalized choices for linens, music, and films.
Rooms range from Essential to Suites, with price points starting on average of 321USD per night.
Dining is available at the Ohla Gastrobar where tapas, dishes and refreshing desserts are popular. Two lounges, Ohla Boutique Bar for cocktails and Ohla Chill-Out Terrace for views, plus are the place to view the city and enjoy companionship.
Located in the old Jewish quarter, this exclusive boutique hotel utilizes two aristocratic houses for lodgings. The interior design preserves the essentials of the historic buildings, though contemporary amenities fill the rooms. It is located near the popular Las Ramblas, the delicious La Boqueria marketplace and the Picasso Museum.
The hotel has just 22 exclusive rooms and suites decorated with murals of gold and silver, or with terraces or balconies. Hard surfaces include quartzite, used for its benefits to health. Each room is unique, but fully equipped with modern appointments and furnishings. Rooms range from Standard at approximately EURO 240.00 per night to EUR 648.00 per night for the Neri Suite.
Dining is available at the Neri Restaurant with traditional and modern cuisine based on seasonal products, the Lounge Bar, The Terrace and the Roba Estresa.
Hotel Casa Fuster
This stunningly beautiful hotel is located within minutes of Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, and Casa Mila. It was built as a gift for the wife of Senior Fuster, who spared no expense. Construction began in 1908, and the architect was Lluís Domènech i Montaner whose works are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A Catalan, his work remains famous as part of Modernist design. The hotel has expensive features in marble and other high quality materials. It is an excellent example of Barcelona’s historical period of wealth and prosperity.
The hotel includes 105 rooms ranging from Standard to Grand Suite. Each room’s amenities include air conditioning, and central heating, Chopard toiletries, a mini-bar and kettle, a free safe, an LCD TV with satellite channels and cable, free high speed WiFi, a telephone a kettle and coffee maker, a bathroom and a complete bathroom. The rooms décor is elegant and warm, using cherry wood and other luxury materials. The linens and furnishings are in natural tones, and follow Modernist style in keeping with the hotel’s history. Contemporary designer touches and large windows bring light into the rooms.
Standard room rates start at EURO 247.75 per night, while the Grand Suite starts at EURO 2004.75 per night, based on online reservation rates.
The hotel has several spots to enjoy dining. Restaurant Galaxó offers avant-garde Mediterranean cuisine and Café Vienés offers teas, cocktails and snacks and was once the place where poet Salvador Espriu was part of intellectual conversations. “Café Vienés becomes an exclusive club for hearing jazz each Thursday night from 9pm to 11pm. The Mirador Blue View Terrace offers summer cocktails, DJ entertainment on weekends, and sea breezes from the hotel rooftop, while enjoying views of Passeig de Gracia, Tibidabo Mountain and the Sagrada Familia. The pool is located there as well.
The hotel has a fine reading room with chairs to sink into and relax in while immersed in a good book.
Written by Garrett Parker
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