Sophisticates Will Swoon Over This Barcelona Hotel Where Picasso Began His Career

Centrally located on a main thoroughfare facing the port of Barcelona lies the unassuming Serras Hotel, an elegant five-star boutique that impresses with its high-touch hospitality and modern interiors.

The historical stone façade demarcated by rows of Juliet balconies pays homage to the original design of 19th-century architect Francesc Daniel Molina. By contrast, contemporary Barcelona designer Eva Martinez has completely remodeled its stylish interiors.

Oversized casement windows flank the lobby, decked out in neutral mid-century modern furniture. Upon entering, you’ll be ushered over to one of the cozy club chairs. Before you even realize how jet-lagged you are, the attentive staff will fawn over you with a steaming café con leche and a piece of dark chocolate. Prefer a glass of cava? That’s on offer, too.

The concierge will not only run through whatever itinerary you may have managed to cobble together in advance but also offer suggestions on everything from the best boutiques in El Born to the hippest speakeasies around. (Hint: You’re less than a five-minute walk from Monk, the sister cocktail bar to the famed Paradiso.)

The mezzanine level lounge, dubbed “The Nine,” is the perfect spot to unwind with said café con leche. A shrine of sorts to Pablo Picasso, The Nine has a variety of coffee table books devoted to the Spanish artist as well as his work ‘Science and Charity,’ which he painted in this very building. That’s right—Picasso began his career in a studio right here in 1896.

The hotel’s 28 rooms vary from a 270-square-foot Superior Room to a 1,000-square-foot Grand Suite Mediterraneo. The latter, boasting two bedrooms and three bathrooms, is best suited to families. Couples will find the smaller rooms compact yet adequate for a weekend stay.

Interiors are sleek and modern with light oak floors, crisp linens, and spacious all-white bathrooms. You’ll appreciate the Nespresso machine, especially come evening when you can pair a decaf espresso with one of the tasty little cakes that magically appear by your bedside during evening turn-down service. We slept like babies thanks to the royally approved Hypnos mattresses as well as the blackout curtains and excellent soundproofing.

Come morning, join the rest of the guests at the lobby level. Eggs must be ordered à la carte, but you’ll likely find yourself satisfied with the buffet. In addition to standard European breakfast fare like meats, cheeses, yogurt, and muesli, there are welcome surprises such as fresh ginger shots and artfully prepared bowls of seasonal fruit. 

If you were pleased with breakfast, just wait until you have lunch or dinner at Informal, the rooftop, harbor view restaurant helmed by Michelin-starred chef Marc Gascons. The contemporary Catalan fare features colorful and inventive seasonally inspired dishes like a white asparagus appetizer with orange segments, purple endive, and hazelnut butter that I can’t stop thinking about.

Catty corner to the restaurant lies the rooftop bar and plunge pool overlooking the marina. It’s got a low-key vibe and is a lovely place to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail.

Top Takeaways

Location: Barcelona, Spain

Rating: Five-Star

The Vibe: A contemporary guesthouse with only 28 rooms where everyone on staff recognizes you.

Food + Drink: The lobby-level restaurant serves breakfast daily. Rooftop restaurant Informal, a contemporary Catalan restaurant by Michelin-starred chef Marc Gascons serves lunch and dinner; reservations are recommended.

Amenities: Concierge; turn-down service; mini-bar; restaurant; 24-hour room service; Diptyque bath amenities; rooftop bar; plunge pool; gym.

Our Favorite Thing About the Hotel: The location can’t be beaten; every sight and restaurant on your itinerary is within walking distance. We also loved the intimate and personalized service.

What’s Nearby? Picasso Museum; Arc de Triomf; Casa Batllo; Sant Miquel Beach; Barceloneta Beach; and Montjuic Castle.

Any Personal Neighborhood Recs? Take a walking tour around the Gothic Quarter to check out sights like the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar, the Cathedral of Barcelona, the Picasso Museum, and La Rambla. Browse the season’s latest fashion at La Comet, pick up sandwiches from Bo de B to enjoy while sitting on a bench along the pier, and walk to a tapas dinner at the inimitable Bar Cañete.

Rooms: 28 rooms and suites

Pricing: Rates start at €300/night.

Closest Airport: Barcelona-El Prat Airport

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