By Sally Davies
The W rises up at the end of the beach like a tall, shimmering sail.
An insider’s guide to the top Barcelona hotels near the beach (20 minutes’ walk or less) — from five-star skyscrapers to intimate four-star boutiques — including the best for rooms with sea views, rooftop pools, Michelin-starred restaurants overlooking the ocean, and slick bars with coastal views.
Hotel Arts Barcelona
This modern five-star is smack on the seafront, with views down the coast. A good-sized swimming pool sits alongside Frank Gehry’s huge, shimmering ‘Fish’ sculpture. The spa has all the treatments and facilities you’d expect from a hotel of this size and calibre. Some rooms look out to sea, some over the city, but the best have a view of both. With five restaurants, ranging from an all-day, child-friendly bistro to the two Michelin-starred Enoteca, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
The W, reminiscent of Dubai’s famous Burj al-Arab hotel, rises up at the end of the beach like a tall, shimmering sail. It’s high-end, but works hard to be young and sexy, cultivating an Ibiza vibe in the pool area, and inviting London DJs and mixologists to its Eclipse bar on the 26th floor. The roof, with its infinity pool, day beds and private cabins, almost certainly enjoys the best views of any hotel terrace in Barcelona. There is no faulting the spectacular beach vistas from the rooms — small telescopes come as standard. They are decorated in shades designed to reflect the sea and sand.
Meliá Barcelona Sky
This high-end hotel is actually located in Poblenou, a neighbourhood favoured by loft-dwellers and designers that has long been touted as Barcelona’s answer to New York’s Meatpacking District – but the beach is a mere 20-minute walk away. Some rooms have sea views and the Michelin-starred Dos Cielos restaurant, perched on the 24th floor, has show-stopping vistas of the coast; though the food is of such quality that it threatens to outmatch the views. The 24th floor is also home to the Terrace, an alfresco bar with yet more incredible panoramas.
This sunny, friendly and supremely comfortable hotel sits right on the Passeig de Colom and overlooks the Port Vell, recently converted into a marina for luxury yachts. The beach is a 15-minute walk away. The Serras is one of a new breed of stylish and unstuffy five-stars changing the face of the Barcelona hotel scene. There is a fabulous decked rooftop bar and pool area, with views across the port. The port-facing bedrooms have plenty of light and a great view. The exciting in-house restaurant has an open kitchen and serves Japanese-influenced Catalan cuisine.
Duquesa de Cardona
The Duquesa, sandwiched between a pedestrianised medieval street and the port, is well positioned for beach lovers (15 minutes’ walk away). This hotel was famously the city’s last bastion of chintz (it dates from 1850), but recent refits have updated its look, while retaining its classical lines and old-world feel. The crowning glory of the hotel is the rooftop terrace, with its navy blue-tiled plunge pool, cocktail bar and restaurant overlooking the yachts of the Port Vell.