Hotel El Palace Barcelona Review

Regal by name and most definitely regal by nature, the Hotel El Palace Barcelona is Barcelona’s first ever five-star hotel and boasts décor and furnishings as rich as its fine heritage.  

The Luxury Editor’s Chrystal was invited to experience the independently owned city-centre hotel. Read on to discover more. 


In 1919, the hotel opened its doors as the Ritz of Barcelona, and although Ritz founder, César Ritz was hesitant to bring a hotel to Barcelona– he only chose large European capitals as locations for his hotels – he was persuaded to do so by Catalan politician Francesc Cambó and the decision was (and still is!) a huge success. The hotel quickly attracted a star-studded line-up of guests; from Hollywood stars including Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, Sofia Loren, and Woody Allen to other prominent figures such as Alexander Fleming, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso – and Queen star, Freddie Mercury met Spanish Soprano, Montserrat Caballé, here to perform the hit song ‘Barcelona’.

In 2005, the hotel was rebranded to El Palace but continues to live up to the ostentatiously stylish, incredibly luxurious, and unequivocally elegant standards that the Ritz name has now become famous for.

El Palace Barcelona has been recognised for its outstanding quality and distinctive character and is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. 


Located in the Eixample District of bustling Barcelona, El Palace offers guests convenient access – walking or via metro – to many of the city’s main attractions. Iconic buildings such as La Pedrera, Casa Batlló and La Boquería are a stone’s throw away, high-street shops and other historic sites can be found on nearby Passeig de Gràcia, and the many independent boutiques and restaurants within the historic Gothic Quarter are also close by. Take a 25-minute stroll to witness the splendour of Sagrada Familia or hop on the nearby metro to reach the beach in less than 30 minutes. A perfectly placed base from which to explore the city. 

Style / Concept 

Standing rather majestically on the corner of a busy street, El Palace Barcelona is hard to miss; the Baroque-style building is adorned with scarlet red robes that proudly hang across its entrance and the striking shade continues across window canopies and ornate window boxes that frame the rows of the rooms and suites high above. Smart, smiley, and perfectly polished porters greet us and whisk away our bags. Half an evolution of the traditional revolving door is all it takes for me to enjoy a ‘take-my-breath-away’ moment; the grandeur of the hotel reception is a visual feast. Huge marble columns shoulder a sweeping double star case, imposing high ceilings present twinkling chandeliers, their glint not to be outdone by the shiny floor below, and heavy curtains give way to an enticing view through to the Great Hall – elegance is present in every blink of the eye. Even the Concierge’s key cupboard is Insta-worthy! 

Once inside guests are transported back to a bygone era – unaware of the hustle and bustle of the busy city outside and every guest is welcomed with VIP service, whilst an air of timeless glamour flows throughout the entire hotel. 

Guest Rooms and Suites 

El Palace Barcelona presents 120 guest rooms taking inspiration from a neo-classical style. A signature art suite can be found on floors one to six – each named after and styled in honour of some of the renowned artists that frequented the hotel (Salvador Dali | Josephine Baker | Cesar Ritz | Carlos Ruiz Zafon | Joan Miro | Ronnie Wood. Floor five and the Joan Miro suite would be our home for the next two nights. 

The heavy bronze door key with a theatrical red tassel and engraved suite name was yet another distinct sign of quality.

The Joan Miro suite covers rooms 508 – 509 – 510 with access via doors 508 and 510 only (509 is a façade!) and is a grand space; featuring a dining table for six, a large lounge area with fireplace, a desk to complete the all-important business deals along with an old ‘pole-style’ desk stand telephone (don’t be fooled – it’s for show only which I discovered when I tried to call room service!!), a separate WC and a door leads to a large bedroom, with an extensive dressing area with ample wardrobe space, that then leads to a beautiful marble bathroom. The large bathroom has his and her sinks, walk-in rain shower, a bidet and toilet and the piece de resistance was the Roman bath-inspired mosaic shower – it was a work of art! 


Décor reflects the style of Joan Miro’s work with a simple colour palette of yellow, bronze, and dark wood with a slightly masculine vibe. 

The attention to detail is ever present with sumptuously soft bed linen, El Palace embossed pillowcases, a TV cleverly disguised as a mirror, weighty historic and lifestyle coffee table books, a personalised welcome note with a plate of cheeses, meats, and local wine. We forgot to leave our ‘no need to clean’ and the housekeeper was meticulous in her work, precisely folding our clothes and considerately (and creatively – she made a heart shape from my necklace) placing our other personal items on show so we could easily find them. 

El Palace Barcelona is forging relationships with like-minded local brands one of which is Carner, a local perfumer who created a signature scent Bo-Bo which captures the festive Mediterranean spirit that is also reflected in the work of Joan Miro. The scent was light and fresh, so we enjoyed a little spritz. The shop is a short walk away from the hotel and offers a super selection to suite all occasions. 


There is an excellent choice of bars and restaurants and El Palace Barcelona with something to suite every occasion. Executive Chef, Jesús Caballero’s combines Basque and Catalan culinary styles, using local and seasonal ingredients at each of the restaurants within El Palace Barcelona. 

The Rooftop Garden & Terrace. We enjoyed dinner here on our first evening and this truly enchanting place proved to be one of our favourite spaces within the hotel. 

Accessed via the seventh floor, the 1,500 m2 space presents panoramic views across the city. It has a relaxed vibe, and its considered layout means guest can comfortably wine, dine, relax, and recharge. The focal point is the central pergola with tropical plants inspired by the greenhouse of the Ciutadella Park, under which sits a striking stone bar which is where the creative cocktail magic happens. There is a second pergola, known as the

Pergola Sagrada Familia that offers an additional shaded area and inviting low-level seats with the scent of orange blossoms and jasmine filling the air. Statues, sculptures, and over 50 types of plants adorn the Rooftop Garden – details that enhance the charming character of this welcoming sky-high space. 

Hotel guests who dine at the Rooftop Garden receive a welcome drink upon arrival and are presented with a choice of tapas or a la carte menu along with a choice of seating preferences; high bar stools, relaxed low-level seating under the cover of the pergola adorned with pretty flowers or take a slightly more formal seat in the restaurant area. We opted for the latter and enjoyed the catch of the day, served with seasonal veg followed by a truly indulgent melt-in-the-middle chocolate dessert, we gorged somewhat on the nuts with our pre-dinner drinks so didn’t need a starter. Service wasn’t the speediest but always with a smile and the team took time to remember your name and face and showed interest in the ponderings of your day. On our second night, after exploring the city, we enjoyed a cocktail nightcap here and as the sunset and darkness crept in, the Rooftop Garden took on a totally different twinkling persona to that of its daytime self. 

The Rooftop Garden also hosts live music performances, DJ sets, along with a Summer Rooftop Cinema, Brunch & Vinyl’s, Yoga, and many other seasonal activities. 

Other food and beverage options at the hotel include; 

AMAR Barcelona – a luxury brasserie serving fresh seafood with an extensive wine in a stylish art deco setting. 

The Great Hall – a grand and formal setting, where Afternoon Tea is the order of the day, and live music from a pianist can be enjoyed on a weekend and as were checking out we had the pleasure of catching a glimpse of the Afternoon Tea with a Tango performance – quite a rousing experience. All day dining is also on offer here and is a refined setting to enjoy a coffee, light bite, or glass of fizz. 

The Bluesman Cocktail & Cigar Bar – Named after the painting gifted to the hotel and painted by Rolling Stones legend, Ronnie Wood, the hotel’s speakeasy bar oozes the style and sophistication of a bygone era. A stunning marble bar houses a collection of unique spirits used to make creative and signature cocktails, antiques and crystal chandeliers from the roaring twenties, red fabric walls and velvet chairs add to the exuberant atmosphere. Live music is played on a weekend from 10.30pm.  


A buffet style breakfast is served in El Jardin which is a beautiful monochrome courtyard come indoor garden area accented with colour from the seasonal plants that line the area. Three ‘carts’ present a selection of cold breakfast dishes ranging from granola, cinnamon and orange zest infused prunes (my favourite) to local style pastries, meats, cheeses, eggs, Spanish omelettes, smoked salmon, along with hot dishes including scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, and noodles – to name just a few. Freshly prepared dishes such as porridge, eggs Benedict, French toast and pancakes can also be ordered and if you fancy some fizz to kick-start the day then the Cava cork can be popped! 

Spa and Pool 

El Palace Barcelona is home to the Mayan Luxury Spa which as its name suggests is inspired by the Mayan culture, offering guests traditional Mayan treatments designed to bring the mind, body, and soul together as one. Anne Semonin is the luxury cosmetic brand of choice at the spa and along with traditional treatments, modern and alternative therapies and facial treatments can be booked. 

We didn’t use the spa; however, it did look like an absolute haven of tranquillity and is on my to-do-list next time I visit. 

In a busy city one of the best ways to chill is to take a refreshing dip on the rooftop and El Palace Barcelona offers guests use of its dip pool located on the seventh floor. Set alongside the charming Rooftop Garden Bar and Restaurant there are plenty of sun-loungers, towels, and refreshments on hand to relax on a warm sunny day amidst the beautiful blue Barcelona sky. From the pool area, you can access the solarium, the highest point of El Palace Barcelona. An almost secret spot, with stunning 360 views, and the best place to watch Barcelona’s spectacular sunsets. 

Events and Activities 

El Palace Barcelona is not just a hotel, it is a destination point. Renowned within the city for its array of cultural, fun, and invigorating events and activities; ranging from art exhibitions, live music performances, to rooftop yoga and summer cinema sessions it welcomes tourists and locales alike. And the hotel’s beautiful unique and historic ballrooms are the idyllic setting for big events and celebrations. 

TLE Top Tips

  • Take a walk up the stairs and look down from the first floor – the view of the reception is quite spectacular. 
  • Before entering the hotel look down to see the bronze tile in the pavement acknowledging its Ritz heritage. 
  • Our Les Clefs d’Or Concierge couldn’t have been more helpful. It’s an obvious one but be sure to tap into his local knowledge. 

Final Thoughts 

I hope my review conveys what a stunning and high-quality establishment El Palace Barcelona is – a true grand dame of a hotel. 

We only wish walls could talk as her stories would be as breath-taking as the hotel itself!! 

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