Unique hotels, unique stories. Discover Barcelona's most iconic hotels 07/10/2022
Can you picture yourself sleeping in the same hotel as Ernest Hemingway or Frank Sinatra? Or staying in the former headquarters of the Cotton Textile Foundation Fundación Textil Algodonera? Or having breakfast in the same place as the Spanish royal family at the beginning of the 20th century? Well, in Barcelona, you can do all these things and many more. The city's historic and Landmark hotels have plenty of stories to tell. Enchanting places steeped in history, they are sure to make your stay an unforgettable experience. Do you want to find out more about them?
Experience Barcelona's exclusive architecture from the inside
There's no denying that Barcelona has some of the most beautiful architecture in the world. Its streets are a wonderful blend of the old and new, the medieval and art nouveau, the cutting edge and traditional. Can you imagine being able to spend some time inside this stunning heritage? Well you can, if you choose one of the city's historic or Landmark hotels.
Gran Hotel Central: pure 1920's style
Built in 1920 by the architect Alfons Florensa for the Catalan politician Francesc Cambó, the Gran Hotel Central will make you feel like a character from The Great Gatsby. Sophisticated and elegant, it retains the same mouldings, friezes and cornices from the Roaring Twenties, just like the ones you would find in Chicago skyscrapers. The terrace has a garden designed by Nicolas Forestier, the landscape architect who co-designed the gardens on Montjuïc for the 1929 International Exhibition, with Rubió y Tudurí. The hotel is situated on the central avenue, Via Laietana, and was one of the first buildings in Barcelona to have a lift.
Gran Hotel La Florida: luxury high in the hills
An imposing white building with distinctive corner towers, the Gran Hotel la Florida was built in 1924 on mount Tibidabo and, as you can imagine, boasts spectacular views of the city. It was the brainchild of the pharmaceutical magnate Doctor Andreu, who wanted to build the best hotel in Barcelona. And when his dream came true, it surpassed his wildest expectations. This luxury boutique hotel has had a chequered history but was reborn in all its glory in the 1950s. Famous personalities like Ernest Hemingway, James Stewart, Rock Hudson and Princess Fabiola have looked at the beautiful views through its picture windows. Are you going to be the next person to enjoy them?
Hotel 1898. There's nothing so sweet as a room for two. Anniversary Song, Jaime Gil de Biedma.
In 1881, the Catalan architect, Josep Oriol Mestres, built a mansion for the family of the Marquis of Comillas. Fortunately, you don't have to be a marquis to stay there now, because it has been transformed into the Hotel 1898. In 1929, the building became the headquarters of the Compañía General de Tabacos de Filipinas. The poet, Jaime Gil de Biedma, worked for the company as general secretary and his office is now one of the hotel lounges. The hotel stands right in the city centre, on the famous Rambla, and its colonial style will inspire you almost as much as the distinguished poet who was part of the group of writers known as the 50's generation.
Cotton House Hotel: wrap yourself in cotton wool
You'll feel like a film star when you walk up its imposing marble steps or elegant spiral staircase. Housed in a 19th-century neo-classical-style building, the Cotton House Hotel was once the headquarters of the cotton manufacturers' guild, the Fundación Textil Algodonera. In 2015, it reopened after a large-scale refit by the prestigious interior designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán, who gave it a colonialist and sophisticated look.
Hotel Duquesa de Cardona. Live like a king
Who said you couldn't travel back in time? This hotel dates from the 16th century, when it was the home of the aristocratic Cardona family. Their luxury home provided a refuge for the Spanish king and queen when they visited the city. In 1850, the building was extended in the neo-classical style, and its sumptuous décor, full of details, textures, prints, mouldings, marbles, mirrors and velvets, bears witness to its aristocratic past. Would you like to spend a few days living like a king?
Hotel El Palace. If walls could talk
El Palace is one of the buildings that best reflect the history of the city. It was the brainchild of the Catalan politician Francesc Cambó, who wanted Barcelona to have a world-class hotel. In the 1920s, a group of eminent Catalans joined forces to bring the project to fruition. Since then, the crème de la crème of society from Spain and abroad have graced its rooms, which also provided a meeting point for artists and intellectuals throughout the 20th century. Do you want to know a few curious facts? The original lamps have protected status and it has Roman style baths. In the 1940s and 1950s, major film and music stars like Ava Gardner, John Wayne, Ella Fitzgerald, Bernard Hilda, Josephine Baker and Frank Sinatra stayed at the hotel, when it was known as the Ritz. It continued to attract celebrities and Dalí made it his home for a time. Personalities like Woody Allen, Pablo Picasso, Carolina Herrera, Josep Pla, Ken Follet, Camilo José Cela and Rafael Alberti have stayed here. Wouldn't you like to walk along the same corridors and relax in the same rooms as they did?
Landmark Hotels: a unique accolade
The Barcelona Hotel Association has created the Landmark Hotel label to recognise hotels that bring added value to the city's architectural heritage. Here's a small sample of the 18 you'll find in the city:
Claris Hotel & Spa GL. Stay among works of art
Housed in a stunning former mansion, the Palau Vedruna, this hotel is a treasure in its own right. Built in 1883 in the neo-classical style, its interior is full of period detail: materials, mouldings, hand-painted frescos, gilded stucco work… And this interest in beauty is still there today, because all the rooms at the Claris Hotel & Spa are filled with works of art. It also houses one of the biggest collections of pre-Columbian art. If you're staying there, keep your eyes peeled: you'll be able to sit on 18th-century English furniture, walk on Turkish kilim rugs, surround yourself with Egyptian engravings commissioned by Napoleon, and works by the Catalan artist Josep Guinovart.
Hotel España. A Catalan art nouveau gem
The Fonda España opened in 1859. At the beginning of the 20th century, the famous Catalan art nouveau architect, Domènech i Montaner carried out a major refurbishment of the building, which was renamed the Hotel España. It is a true masterpiece of Catalan art nouveau, modernisme. Staying here is like stepping into the pages of Eduardo Mendoza's novel The City of Marvels: the sgraffito work in the dining room is by the painter Ramon Casas and the monumental alabaster fireplace is by the sculptor Eusebi Arnau. And although the 2010 refurbishments retain the original 19th-century spirit of the building, its comfort is totally 21st century.
Hotel Miramar Barcelona (Landmark Hotel). The sea at your feet.
The Palau Miramar was built for the 1929 International Exhibition in the early 20th-century style known as noucentisme. Its architect, Ramon Raventós, sought to capture the pure Mediterranean essence of its location. The building was home to the studios of Spanish television from 1959 until the 1980s. In 2006, the famous architect Óscar Tusquets accepted the challenge of bringing back the style and elegance of the building through a modern prism and it reopened as the Hotel Miramar. If you stay here, you're bound to say he's more than fulfilled the brief.
We know it's hard to choose, but which one are you going to pick?
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