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Casa Bonay, Barcelona, Spain
Don't come here if you're looking for a run-of-the-mill hotel. This place has a hip, buzzing vibe, with a big yet cosy lobby bar full of young creative types - both locals and visitors - during the day chatting or on their laptops, or enjoying one of the inventive cocktails and perhaps a DJ playing music by night. Located in the l'Eixample neighbourhood, that's central though away from the hectic tourism hotspots, the hotel is impeccably designed and housed in a stylish apartment building dating from 1869. You enter from a vaulted, cobblestoned courtyard, and its coffeeshop is too the left, its charming tapas restaurant to the right, and lobby bar straight ahead. Guest rooms are characterful and charming, and rates surprisingly affordable
It's great being so close to great, vibrant neighbourhoods: El Born and El Poblenou are a ten-minute walk.
A homely, hip abode in a great central yet untouristy location.
By plane: there are direct flights from London (2 hours 5 mins), Manchester (2 hours 20 mins) and Edinburgh (2 hours 40 mins). The hotel is a 25-minute drive from El-Prat airport. Paid public parking is available nearby for €25 per day. skyscanner.net
Style & Character
There's a bright and breezy Mediterranean feel here, with Catalonian touches, such as hexagonal Gaudí-influenced oak stools in guest rooms, rush matting typical of the Empordà region, and original encaustic floor tiles that were revealed when linoleum floors were painstakingly chipped away by hand. The colourful hand-painted offset lettering of the room numbers adds further charm.
Service & Facilities
The design, decor, architecture, vibe and focus on certain facilities rather than others makes this more a home from home (a special one at that!) than just another hotel. Small and medium-sized dogs can stay at a charge of €20 per night, and beds, treats and bowls can be provided. Dogs are allowed in Libertine lobby bar.
- Three restaurants
- Two roof terraces
- Family rooms
- Paid parking
- Free Wi-Fi
Room 202 looks out onto neat little gardens and apartment blocks where locals hang out their washing. You feel you're living in a community rather than an impersonal city centre neighbourhood.
Passage Tiny, Passage Medium, Gran Via Medium, Courtyard Medium, Gran Via Large, Courtyard Large, Courtyard Mini with Terrace, Courtyard Large Terrace
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom with Malin+Goetz toiletries, minibar stocked with local products, TV, selected magazines, fans (if you don't like AC), free Wi-Fi.
Food & Drink
The dark and moody Libertine bar is open all day for breakfast, sandwiches and tapas, and as a workspace. In the evening it becomes a cocktail bar with DJs from Thursday to Sunday. There's also a streetside cafe, Satan's Coffee Corner, charming tapas restaurant Bodega Bonay, and rooftop spot Chiringuito serving summer barbecue and tapas.
Libertine: cocktails and craft beers.
Bodega Bonay: Tapas, local produce and good wines. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Tapas from €7.
Chiringuito: Open daily for dinner. Mains from €9.