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Barcelona – any hotel/restaurant recommendations?

  • T_London

    Hello! I’m going back to Barcelona (last went five years ago) and would greatly appreciate any hotel (with outdoor pool) and restaurant recommendations!

    Thank you!


    Mandarin Oriental has beautiful rooms and is centrally located. It has a what one would call paddling pool on the roof top. Think there is a bigger pool in the spa. They used to do a sumptuous Sunday lunch buffet with unlimited champagne pre-pandemic but not sure if it’s still going.


    Botafumeiro for a classic fish restaurant.
    Hotel Arts for a great hotel with decent pool.


    Hilton Diagonal has a good pool, but is a bit out of town. Good if you have Hilton status.


    Rhys’s review of an Edition hotel is a good read, plunge pool IIRC though.


    Caelis is a great place for lunch – excellent food/drink, and great value compared to the UK.

    Hotel Claris is another nice option with a rooftop pool (you can swim lengths, but it’s on the small side for that). Good location, and restaurant. Not as slick as some of the 5* hotels in bigger chains will be, but also a lot more reasonably priced (at least for some dates).

    The new Kimpton hotel in the city looks nice, but I’ve never stayed.


    Unless you book a suite or the largest room, don’t bother with Kimpton. Rooms are tiny and everything is falling apart even though it’s a brand new hotel. I was upgraded from basic to a slight bigger room as Spire last year, but it was really tiny and crammed with too much furniture that you couldn’t put a medium sized suitcase anywhere, no proper wardrobe either. The bathroom worktop had fake marble laminate that started to peel off on the edges. There is somewhere my review in the comments on the site.


    Hotel Catalonia Barcelona Plaza
    on Plaça d’Espanya (Plaza de España) has a roof top pool. The Arenas mall in the converted bull ring is right next door and has some great restaurants on the very top floor.


    The best restaurant is probably the tapas bar around the corner from your hotel. Seriously. The quality of many no-name corner restaurants in Barcelona is off the scale; forget destination gastro eateries and just get into the vibbe of simple, super-fresh seafood the way it’s always been cooked.

    If you must go to a destination restaurant, here are some foodie notes from a recent business trip (these are only the places I can remember, and I didn’t pay the bill for any of them so have no idea if they are value for money)

    – El Nacionale: incredible vibe; mediocre food. I felt old here, and the clientele was young, beautiful and oh-so-fashionable
    – Els Pescadores: best food of the trip in a quiet square away from all main attractions
    – Barceloneta: great food, great vibe but off the beaten track unless you’re foolish enough to stay in the W
    – Carpe Diem: horrible place on the Amex Platinum list. Had my phone stolen there a few years ago and it wasn’t any better this year. Forget it unless you’re under 25 and wearing little more than a bathing costume.

    For hotels, first decide where you want to be based. Barcelona has two main hubs: the Gothic Quarter and the seafront. Personally, I love the old town and would always stay there, but you won’t find many creature comforts like swimming pools and spas in that part of town. If those are important, head to the beach. Barcelona is a big city, so beware of hotels in nondescript locations: taxi availability falls off shockingly as the night progresses and you might be forced to walk home or take a ruinously expensive rickshaw…fine if you have an expense account but terrible otherwise.

    As noted above, the Arts is the most iconic hotel in Barcelona. It has an amazing location on the seafront in the centre of the beach area nightlife, with beautiful gardens and an elegant pool. The W is another icon, but it’s so far out on a limb that it’s hard to recommend; beside the location, I find the vibe depressingly cheesy.

    I would personally stay in a small boutique hotel in the old town – there are many options – so that you can spend the hours after midnight sipping G&T on the Plac Reial and then stroll back to your hotel.


    We stayed at the Barcelo Raval earlier this year. Really nice hotel and excellent customer service and a couple of streets behind The Ramblas.

    Michael C

    If you want to be right in the centre of things, Hotel 1898: lovely respite stepping in from the Ramblas, rooftop pool & bar.
    For a lower budget, Universal on Av. Paral·lel.
    And as someone else mentioned, for a bigger pool/beach experience, Hilton Diagonal, though involves travel to centre (using the tram is nice). Note you have to reserve certain loungers/beach access in advance, through Purobeach.


    Be careful with the Hilton Diagonal or any of the other hotels in that part of town,beg the AC Marriott. They’re right next to a huge conference centre and you may find yourself amongst thousands (literally) of suit-wearing delegates.

    I have been one of the delegates, and I felt very sorry for the people attempting to use the pool, bar and restaurant while we swamped the place talking business.

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