Restaurant run by Michelin-starred chef Martín Berasategui
Fee for most non-local TV channels
Neighborhood can feel a little unsafe late at night
Some bedrooms are small
Located on a quiet side street off Barcelona's main tourist thoroughfare La Rambla, this 1859 building was redesigned as a hotel in the early 20th century by celebrated Modernist architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. A restoration in 2010 kept many of the historic and design features, including a stunning carved stone fireplace in the bar. The striking, contemporary decor gives the hotel a very stylish flair, from the dramatic light fixtures in the common areas to the staircase that snakes up the property. There is also a great food program on the property including a restaurant by Michelin-starred chef Martín Berasategui. A rooftop pool and bar is open in the warmer months. Some nearby hotels have lower rates, but don't offer the same history or style.
There are unique details at every turn, from the engraved Catalan greetings in the lobby to the impressive Sala de las Sirenas, named for the mermaids in the murals. The high-ceilinged, gilded lobby is sleekly elegant, with dark furniture. A skylight lightens up the slate-colored walls in the hallways, and also puts the towering gold lighting fixtures on clear display. Hotel Espana's cutting-edge design and its central location have made it a popular booking for every type of traveler.
On a small street right off La Rambla, Barcelona's most famous thoroughfare, the hotel has a central location for tourists in El Raval, with many restaurants and shops nearby. The charming Gothic Quarter is just on the other side of La Rambla. The Liceu Opera House is around the corner, La Boqueria outdoor market is a couple of blocks away, and Gaudí’s Palau Güell is a five-minute walk from the hotel. Other walkable sights include Placa de Catalunya (10 minutes) and Port Vell (20 minutes). The nearby metro stops provide easy access to most other attractions.
The 82 quiet rooms are incredibly chic and decorated in shades of taupe and grey, and many have giant backlit photos as headboards. Amenities in all rooms include flat-screen TVs, free minibars, iPod docks and safes with space for a laptop. Deluxe Rooms and suites include robes and slippers, while Deluxe and Executive Rooms and suites come with Nespresso coffee machines. The biggest suite, with exposed brick walls, includes a large living area and an outdoor deck. Bathrooms have waterfall showers, though sinks are a little shallow. Guests have complained that most rooms are on the small side. An extra perk is free national and international press on your tablet or smartphone during your stay.
Restaurant Fonda España, which serves lunch and dinner, is run by noted Basque chef Martin Berasategui, whose eponymous restaurant in the town of Spanish town of Lasarte-Oria was awarded three Michelin stars. (He has seven Michelin stars in all.) Bar Arnau is one of the most stylish cocktail destinations in Barcelona; while the trendy Alaire Terrace Bar, open from May to October along with the pool, serves cocktails, as well as sandwiches, salads and tapas. Another notable feature is the Sala de las Sirenas function room, with a mural and large coffered skylight, which make for a dramatic event space.