El Palace Hotel Barcelona
Palatial, Historic, Central
Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 668 Barcelona, Spain +34 93 510 11 30 hotelpalacebarcelona.com
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At a Glance
The city’s original five-star property, El Palace is the grand dame of the Barcelona hotel scene, with a palatial feel and a prime central location within walking distance of many of the city’s best restaurants, shops and sights.
- The rooftop garden, with its covered drinks terrace, restaurant and pool, all looking out over the sprawling city
- The grand, neoclassical lobby and Great Hall, which gives the undeniable sense of having stepped into a palace
- Bluesman Cocktail Bar, where guests descend into the 1920s
El Palace Hotel Barcelona Review
El Palace Hotel was the first five-star property in Barcelona when it opened as the Ritz in 1919, a date guests will find scattered throughout the hotel. César Ritz—already a savant of grand European city hotels—wanted the neoclassical property to evoke grandeur, and he succeeded: opulence envelops guests the moment they enter the lobby, where an extravagant crystal chandelier hangs from a high gold-lined ceiling and a carpeted grand staircase rises on either side. One need only take a few more steps in to find themselves in the Great Hall, where soaring ceilings, an elaborate red and white carpet and deep emerald columns give the impression that you’ve stepped into a monarch’s reception hall. Which all makes perfect sense, since the hotel was financially supported by then King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenie, and has played host to multiple royal events (along with welcoming music royalty like Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, art royalty like Picasso or cinematic royalty like John Wayne and Sofia Loren). El Palace also hosted the fashion shows of Pertegaz and Bastida in the 1940s. All this to say, the hotel has quite the pedigree.
Of the 120 rooms, this culture is perhaps best experienced in one of the six Art Suites, fashioned in 2016 as part of the hotel’s renovation and expansion. Each was inspired by a prominent hotel guest—including Josephine Baker and Salvador Dali—and is infused with their chosen art form (dance, sculpture, literature, etc.). While these suites may possess the most character, the hotel’s transportive feel is present in all rooms, which maintain the sophisticated, neoclassical style from the chandeliers to the candelabras. Bathrooms are spacious with a large walk-in shower, and some rooms have extra gems, like the beautifully tiled green and white Roman bath found in certain rooms and suites. All Junior Suites have a bedroom and living room in a shared space and views of a Barcelona courtyard, while the Superior Suites have a separate bedroom and living room. The family suites sleep up to seven guests in three bedrooms connected by a sitting room.
The day begins with a buffet breakfast in the Jardín, where the black-and-white tiled floors and greenery evoke the sense that you are dining out on a terrace rather than inside. All-day dining, including tapas and seasonal dishes, is offered in the soaring Great Hall, as is afternoon tea. The jewel of El Palace’s dining scene though is AMAR, which opened in spring 2022 and is headed by chef Rafa Zafra. This fine-dining restaurant is set in a distinctly modern space (a departure from the hotel’s style) and its menus take inspiration from Catalan cuisine as well as Mediterranean flavors at large. At night, from Thursday through Saturday, the Bluesman Cocktail bar is a popular, 1920s speakeasy-inspired space done in red velvet and gold patterned carpeting, with a glittering mirror ball at the head of the room. Reservations here are needed in advance.
A highlight of a stay at El Palace is spending time in the rooftop garden, where drinks and snacks are served beneath one of two whimsical pergolas, one of which offers views of the Sagrada Familia. There is a small rooftop pool, lined on one side with plants to continue the garden theme and on the other with a dining space for the pop-up restaurant. The garden changes themes with the seasons, donning orange blossoms in the fall and twinkle lights in the winter, and three times a year (summer, Halloween and Christmas), guests can enjoy a movie night on the 360-degree terrace—which is open year round anyway for the sake of enjoying the views. El Palace also has an immersive luxury spa inspired by Maya rituals and culture and complimented with Anne Semonin products.
Note: El Palace Hotel Barcelona is pet -friendly.
El Palace Hotel Barcelona occupies a prime central location within easy walking distance of the Gothic Quarter and the buzzy Ramblas as well as tourist attractions like Plaza Catalunya and Casa Batlló.
Who Should Stay
Any traveler (families included) seeking an amenity-rich European palace-style hotel or a central location
- Abby Sandman