Few hotels have seen as much of the city's history as this elegant palace just off the Passeig de Gràcia. Built in 1919 as the Barcelona Ritz, it hosted the kings of Spain and Italy, and the president of France in style, before being taken over by the trade unions at the beginning of the Civil War and made into a workers' cantina with a picture of Lenin holding pride of place.
After hosting Himmler and Pétain during the Second World War, the hotel refound its footing as the address of visiting poobahs, who would host grand balls and receptions in its Gran Vía Salon. Dalí stayed and tested the hotel's legendary service by ordering a stuffed horse brought to his room.
Now reincarnated as the five-star El Palace Hotel, it reopened in 2009 after a careful restoration to bring it back to its original glory. Its has one of the city's fanciest ballrooms, and you can feel as spoiled as Montezuma himself in the Mayan Luxury spa with its Temazcal Sauna. And the food is heavenly as well: its very formal Caelis restaurant has a Michelin star.
Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 668.
metro: Urquinaona or Passeig de Gràcia
+34 93 510 11 30
Image by John Brennan