Best Hotel Bets

  • Best for a Romantic Getaway: Lovebirds have good reasons not to leave the confines of Gran Hotel La Florida, Carretera Vallvidrera al Tibidabo s/n (tel. 93-259-30-00; www.HotelLaFlorida.com), a fabulous historic hotel -- and not all of those reasons are to be found in the bedrooms. The stainless-steel lap pool, spa, and gardens offering sweeping views of the city are enticement enough to keep you holed up for days.
  • Best for Art Lovers: As stylish as anywhere in the city, the Hotel Claris, Pau Claris 150 (tel. 93-487-62-62; http://claris.barcelonahotels.it), has rooms and foyers dotted with early Egyptian art and artifacts, 19th-century Turkish kilims, and even some Roman mosaics, fruits of the owner's passion for collecting.
  • Best for Business Travelers: Catalonia Barcelona Plaza, Plaça Espanya 6-8, (tel. 93-426-26-00; http://barcelonaplaza.barcelonahotels.it). Ideally located near Sants railway station, in easy reach of the airport and close to a wide range of conference halls and exhibition centers, this immaculate hotel boasts some of the most sophisticated business amenities in town.
  • Best for Celebrity Spotting: Preferred choice of top models and temperamental rock stars, the Hotel Arts, Marina 19-21 (tel. 93-221-10-00; www.hotelartsbarcelona.com), has remained a jet-set playground and symbol of "cool Barcelona" for more than a decade.
  • Best for Service: As well as being a highly regarded hotel, the Prestige, Passeig de Gràcia 62 (tel. 93-272-41-80; www.prestigepaseodegracia.com), offers a unique service to its clients. The role of the concierge is replaced with "Ask Me" -- specially trained information officers on call to find the answers to the most challenging queries, from scoring soccer tickets to finding halal restaurants.
  • Best In-House Restaurant: When celebrated chef Fermin Puig took over the food department of the highly regarded Majestic, Passeig de Gràcia 68 (tel. 93-488-17-17; www.splendia.com/Hotel-Majestic), he not only revolutionized what clients receive on their breakfast tray but also created Drolma, one of the country's most celebrated haute cuisine restaurants. Puig's take on traditional Catalan and southern French cooking has impressed even the most demanding gourmand.
  • Best Historic Hotel: The moderniste masterpiece Hotel Casa Fuster, Passeig de Gràcia 132 (tel. 93-225-30-00; http://Hotels.com/Casa-Fuster-Hotel), was an emblematic building before it was converted into a luxury residence. The rooms have been restored to turn-of-the-20th-century opulence, but with all the mod cons expected by today's high society.
  • Best Modern Design: Its once-staid interiors now imaginatively revamped and transformed into a luminous and relaxing blend of grays and whites, hotel Curious, Carmé 25 (tel. 93-301-44-84; www.hotelcurious.com), has the coolest and sleekest minimalist decor of any traditional building in the Ciutat Vella.
  • Best for Sheer Atmosphere: If faded glory is your thing, then look no further than the Hotel España, Sant Pau 9-11 (tel. 93-318-17-58; www.hotelespanya.com). Designed by a contemporary of Gaudí's, the street-level dining room, filled with florid motifs and brass fixtures, will whisk you back to the early 1900s, when it was filled with chattering patrons taking supper after a trip to the opera house next door.
  • Best for Architecture Buffs: The very best of modern and traditional architectural styles and decor meet in the gay-friendly Advance Design Collection Hotel, Sepúlveda 180 (tel. 93-289-28-92; www.hoteladvance.com), an atmospheric former 19th-century mansion, which has been magically transformed by some of the city's top designers.
  • Best Boutique Hotel: As boutique-hotel fever sweeps the city, the ultra-chic Soho, Gran Vía de les Corts Catalanes 543 (tel. 93-552-96-10; www.hotelsohobarcelona.com), located near the lively Plaça Espanya corner of town, emerges as the new numero uno, thanks to the joint creative work of its inimitably cool Catalan and Danish designers.
  • Best Small Hotel: Hostal D'Uxelles, Gran Vía 688 and 667 (tel. 93-265-25-60; www.hotelduxelles.com), looks like it has stepped straight off the pages of one of those rustic-interiors magazines. Located on the first floor of two adjacent buildings, each of the 30 rooms has a character all of its own, but all include canopied beds, antique furniture, and Andalusian-style ceramic bathrooms.
  • Best for Sea Views: You can't get nearer to the Med than the new, iconic W Barcelona, Plaça de la Rosa dels Vents 1 (tel. 93-295-28-00; www.starwoodhotels.com). Designed by top architect Ricardo Bofill in the shape of a vast sail, it towers on the very edge of Barcelona's busy and colorful harbor, visible from far off and already an essential part of the city's coastal profile.
  • Best for City Views: The Hotel Miramar, Plaça Carlos Ibañez 3 (tel. 93-281-16-00; www.hotelmiramarbarcelona.com), perched on the northeasterly flank of Montjuïc hill and surrounded by attractive gardens, enjoys magnificent bird's-eye views of the city, inland hills, and the coastline below.
  • Best Inexpensive Hotel: Serenity and character abound in Hotel Peninsular, Sant Pau 34 (tel. 93-302-31-38; www.hotelpeninsular.net), a nunnery-turned-hotel. Located on a colorful street just off La Rambla, the hotel -- with its Art Nouveau elevator, long hallways in tones of green and white, and lush inner courtyard -- is an oasis from the hustle and bustle outside. Book ahead.
  • Best for Families Who Don't Want to Break the Bank: The family-run Marina Folch, Carrer del Mar 16, principal (tel. 93-310-37-09), is the only hotel in the beachside neighborhood of Barceloneta, with plenty of open space for the kids to run wild. Ask for a room at the front for a balcony with a view of the port.
  • Best Hostal: Forget faded curtains and floral wallpaper. Gat Raval, Joaquín Costa 44 (tel. 93-481-66-70; www.gatrooms.es), is a streamlined hostal fitted out in acid green and black that has been conceived for the modern world traveler on a budget. On-demand Internet access and touches of abstract art add to its contemporary ambience, and the foyer is always abuzz with travelers exchanging information.

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