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El Palace, Barcelona, Spain
This stately hotel opened in 1919 as a Ritz and retains the glamour such hotels represented in years gone by. It has an incredible roll-call of past guests, including Miro, Cary Grant, Sophia Loren, Madonna, Michael Douglas, Sean Connery, Michael Jackson, Elton John and Paul McCartney. Indeed, Salvador Dali even had a horse brought to his room. With spacious guest rooms, an outrageously opulent grand hall, a cosy basement cocktail bar, and fabulous roof terrace with a pool, bar and restaurant, as well as a luxurious spa and a fitness area, you really will live like a royal here. It's well located in the Eixample neighbourhood, near lots of sights.
We loved the rich array of modernist architecture nearby and the lively nightlife scene locally.
The hotel is centrally located on the eastern side of Eixample, a few blocks from the Gothic Quarter.
By plane: Fly direct from London (2 hours 5 mins) and Manchester (2 hours 20 mins) to El Prat airport. The hotel is a 30-minute drive away. Public parking costs €38 per day. skyscanner.net
Style & Character
With its old-fashioned ambience - you feel this must be what it would have been like to stay at a luxury hotel in the 1950s - El Palace largely attracts a more mature following. You'll be struck by the grandeur of the place; huge rooms are extravagantly decorated.
Service & Facilities
We loved the outrageous opulence of the Great Hall - you need to have a drink there even if not thirsty.
- Roof terrace
- Swimming pool
- Fitness centre
- Paid parking
- Free Wi-Fi
The Ronnie Wood suite is styled by him and decorated with his artwork, complete with a 1956 Wurlitzer jukebox and bespoke playlist; it's great fun - but you'll need deep pockets to stay. The Roman baths in the Classic rooms - long hidden away behind plaster - are a riot of mosaics and a bit special.
Classic Room, Superior Room, Junior Suite, Superior Suite, Family Suite, The Art Suites, El Palace Suite by Ronnie Wood
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom with sustainable toiletries, TV, tea and coffee facilities, desk, free Wi-Fi
Food & Drink
For afternoon tea in the Grand Hall, the kitchen makes vegan cakes and sandwiches on request. On the rooftop during colder months is a Swiss-themed Chalet where you can have a delicious traditional beer or champagne fondue.
Grand Hall: Modern European dining: pastas, salads and sharing plates. Open all day. Mains from €19.
Amar: seafood restaurant from chef Rafa Zafra. Open Tue-Sun for lunch and Tue-Sat for dinner.
Rooftop: Mediterranean cuisine, tapas and sandwiches. Open 10am-10pm.