Take the lift to the roof-top terrace for smashing views over the harbour. Open from 11.00 till 01.30 at the weekends and till midnight during the week you can book a meal or just enjoy a drink and the view. There’s live music and cocktails too. It’s a great place to cool off and chill out.
On the other side of the Cathedral, down Carrer de Montjuïc del Bisbe, which is to the right of the small square by the cloisters, you’ll find the Plaça Sant Felip Neri, a most beautiful square with trees and a fountain. The pock marks you can see in the stonework of the church were caused by a bomb dropped by the Italian Air force during the Civil War. All the people, mostly children, sheltering in the church crypt were killed by the concussion. The square is mostly made from buildings moved stone by stone when the Vía Laietana was opened. Across the square you’ll see the terrace of the Beautiful Hotel Neri where you can get a bite to eat and a drink from 10.00 till 23.00 and until midnight at weekends. If the square is not too busy, it’s a fine place to sit. Pop inside the hotel and wonder at the proportions of the stonework.
Exhausted and thirsty after negotiating the crowded Rambles? Tired after traipsing around the shops on Portal del Àngel? Pop into this four-star hotel on the Plaça de Catalunya itself and relax in the shade of the apsis of Romanic Santa Ana Church. (That’s two secrets in one.) Incredible as it may seem, 30 seconds from Plaça de Catalunya is a Romanic church complete with beautiful cloisters; this hotel backs onto it and you can see parts of it from the terrace. Open all day so you can have breakfast, a set lunch and a la carte dinner, as well as drinks. Don’t miss it.
Plaça Catalunya 19, 08002 Barcelona
+34 93 316 87 00
A member of the same group as the Granados 83, the Claris offers cocktails and drinks on their rooftop terrace between 18.00 and 01.00. Lunch and dinner are also available. The Hotel Claris is located on the very busy Carrer Pau Claris and is a very handy refuge if you’re nearby and feeling the heat. Along with classic cocktails, El Terrat del Claris makes fine non-alcoholic cocktails for those who prefer them.
The Hotel Condes de Barcelona occupies two buildings, on both side of Carrer Mallorca on the corner of Passeig de Gràcia. The building on the lower side is home to Alaire, a rooftop terrace serving cocktails, drinks and snacks and open to the public. You get great views over Passeig de Gràcia, Casa Milà (La Pedrera) included, and a glimpse of the Sagrada Familia in the background.
It’s a very pleasant place for a snack during the day, though not cheap, and there is live music on Wednesdays and Sundays in summer.
This roof-top retreat is a personal favourite. Relax by the small pool and enjoy a quiet restorative or snack. The bar opens from 18.00 till 01.00 during the week and till 02.00 at the weekends.
This is a modern hotel on Carrer Roselló between Aribau and Enric Granados. To the side of the hotel are gates leading to one of L’Eixample’s interior patios. This little area is known as the Jardins Joan Brossa after the contemporary poet.
Part of the gardens is given over to the hotel restaurant and bar terrace. You can enjoy a meal or drink here in peace and quiet surrounded by greenery and the curious interior architecture of L’Eixample.
If the gates to the jardins happen to be closed –after about eight in the evening– just walk through the hotel and out the back doors onto the terrace.
However, avoid this place at all costs around five in the afternoon in term time. It quickly becomes a hell-hole of screaming brats who, freed from the tyranny of their teachers, burn off their accumulated frustrations and blast your tranquility to jagged bits.
Spent three nights here with five girlfriends for a 'big birthday' in May 2009 and could not have been happier with the location, rooms, reception, cleanliness and atmosphere.
The hotel is in an old building and has an impressive huge carved wooden door, but inside all is modern and minimalist. The garden area behind reception is pretty with lots of steps to reach all the levels.
We didn't try the bar as there are loads of bars and cafes nearby. Helpful staff and loads of leaflets at reception.
We chose 'room only' as it is far cheaper to get a breakfast of anywhere choice in the city (Cafe de L'Opera round the corner is divine). Each of the three rooms we had were spacious and spotless, with big bathrooms and walk-in showers. Ours had a small balcony and all windows had blackout curtains as well as voiles. Like most hotels, it didn't have many hangers but that would be my only gripe. Each of the rooms had the facility to be turned into a family room, but the beds were discreetly folded up against the wall in all the rooms, sometimes behind a wardrobe area.
There was free internet access and a laptop in each room which was useful once we discovered how to get @ on a Spanish keyboard (Alt/Gr plus the @ key).
I'd stayed right on the Ramblas once before, but this was just far away enough to avoid the late night noise (except on the night when Barcelona beat Chelsea, ha!). Being so central the hotel is just near the Liceu metro station and within easy stretch of all the sights and shopping.
The street outside the hotel is pedestrianised, but is only about 25 yards from Las Ramblas, so not far to walk if you have luggage.
C/ La Boqueria 10
Junto A Ramblas 78
This is a four-star hotel on the beach, which includes fantastic spa facilites. Had three lovely nights here enjoying the beach and treating ourselves to pools, spa, sauna and some of the many treatments available - from facials to massages.
Placa de les Barques
08393 Caldes D'Estrac
93 791 0400
Right outside the rail station for Caldes (about 50 km North of Barcelona).
The hotel Omm is one of the coolest in the city with a price tag to match. In the lobby is the restaurant Moo (equally expensive) and also brasserie Moovida.
Although having different names, the restaurant and brasserie tables are almost next to each other so there's not too much difference in atmosphere, the food and wines (try the rose) are delicious and it's a fraction of the price.
Perfect place for taking friends to impress them!
Lobby of Hotel Omm. Rosselló, 265, Barcelona, Barcelona 08008.
The hotel is in a good location and newly opened in 2007. However, our room had bedbugs and even when we caught live ones to show the managers they were unconcerned - so much so that they didn't even have the good grace to apologise.
Calle Avinyo 16, Barcelona
I am just back from Barcelona. Wonderful city, even if I found a temperature that was much more similar to the winter rather than the beginning of spring. Anyway, I spent my stay at Hotel Lleo, a nice hotel, clean, with friendly staff, and located in a highly strategic location. I would recommend it to everybody, and, definitely, I will stay at it next time I'll be in Barcelona again.
C/ Pelai, 22-24, 80001 Barcelona
Small, beautifully furnished and efficiently managed, the Racó del Pi occupies a sheltered spot in the rambling backstreets of Barcelona just off Los Ramblas. It's all very understated, a style that gives the gothic architecture chance to impress inside as well as out.
Such is the location, however, that all this amounts to a hill of pinto beans as most of your trip will revolve around the multitude of shops that wait within easy reach. By all means, make time to explore the city but don't forget that excellent (and cheap) train links can take you out into quieter areas for a different perspective on Catalan culture.
Part of this culture is, of course, the food and it's not difficult to find in Barcelona but it's worth noting that the Racó offers an extensive breakfast spread for an additional cost. With the room rates being so reasonable then it's something to consider at least once.
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