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Hotel Highlights

  • The glass-sided rooftop pool and terrace overlooking Barcelona
  • Sample Max and Giuseppe’s award-winning cocktail concoctions
  • Inventive and intimate Michelin-starred Saüc Restaurant

Overview

A ravishing rooftop pool steals the show at Ohla Hotel, a historic-goes-modern Barcelona stay whose neoclassical façade once housed a department store. Soft, minimalist interiors and a Michelin-rated restaurant draw discerning locals and travellers to the site of the first Count of Barcelona's palace, decked out in contemporary luxuries with the help of sculptor Frederic Amat.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Ohla Hotel with us:

A bottle of wine or cava

Facilities

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Ohla Hotel - Barcelona - Spain

Need To Know

Rooms

74, including 24 junior suites and one suite duplex.

Check–out

12 noon. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $286.49 (€218), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional government tax of €2.50 per person per night on check-out.

More details

Some rates include buffet breakfast.

Also

An à la carte room personalisation service is available on request; choose your pillows, amenities and even the aroma of your sheets.

At the hotel

Gym and wellness centre, sauna, hair salon, library, DVD library, terrace and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: Prija natural toiletries, flatscreen TV, iPod dock and minibar.

Our favourite rooms

Standard rooms overlook the inner garden or Comtal pedestrian street; bag room 602 for its large walk-in shower. Design rooms are airy and open-plan so be prepared to abandon inhibitions. Room 603 has large floor-to-ceiling windows and a view over the Palauet de la Musica from the shower. The light and spacious junior suites have a living room and huge arched windows. We love room 508 for its dark, sexy bathroom with rain shower and separate bath overlooking Via Laietana.

Poolside

The glass-sided unheated rooftop pool is surrounded by white leather loungers and cabanas, offering unparalleled views of the city.

Packing tips

A notebook for jotting down Max and Giuseppe’s cocktail recipes and a favourite frock/shirt for sampling them on the rooftop terrace. If the nights are chilly the hotel provides pashminas. Leave techy bits behind: the hotel has a variety of DVDs, Playstation games, and a laptop or iPad.

Also

In-room massages are available on request. Two standard rooms are adapted for wheelchair users.

Children

Kids are welcome. Extra beds (€52.50 a night in a junior suite) and cribs (free on request, subject to availability) can be added to rooms. Babysitting is available with a local nanny, subject to availability.

Eco‐friendly

Solar panels are fitted in the hot water system; all food is locally sourced and seasonal.

Food & Drink

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Ohla Hotel - Barcelona - Spain

Hotel Restaurant

Ohla Hotel has two restaurants, each with a singular style and menu. On the ground floor, the relaxed Ohla Gastrobar serves creative tapas dishes and has an industrial, slightly masculine feel, with high ceilings, concrete pillars and huge slate tiles lining the bar and open kitchen. Even the locals are getting excited about award-winning chef Xavier Franco’s innovative tapas plates – try the baked cod croquettes. For more formal dining, cross the suspended walkway over the lobby to reach low-lit and intimate Saüc Restaurant and discover why Xavier Franco’s reinterpreted Catalan cuisine has earned it a Michelin star. Book the Saüc tasting menu – where sticky-sweet suckling pig and decadent chocolate fondant with cognac ice cream are served – to sit at the kitchen-bar table and watch the kitchen's busy bees work their magic. This table is available from 1.30pm–3.30pm and 8.30pm–10pm; booking is essential.

Hotel Bar

Sink into one of the quirky lipstick-red tulip chairs with a dry martini or signature G&T lovingly crafted by Max or Giuseppe, Ohla Boutique Bar’s award-winning barmen. Open every day until 2am (3am on Fridays and Saturdays). During the summer months, the rooftop terrace is perfect for an al fresco twilight sundowner – try a Mulata Mojito, made with Havana 3, mint, lime, vanilla sugar, yellow Chartreuse, pure chocolate liquor and soda. Oh, and gold dust.

Last orders

Ohla Gastrobar is open from 7am until 1am daily. Saüc Restaurant serves lunch between 1.30pm and 3.30pm; dinner from 8.30pm until 10.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday. Reservations are required.

Room service

Room service is available 24 hours a day and includes appetisers, sandwiches, fish and meat plates, desserts and cheeses.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Saüc deserves your finest frock, but understated Spanish chic is fine for everywhere else.

Top table

For a view of Ohla Gastrobar’s bustling open kitchen, ask for a bar-side stool at the counter. Saüc’s window-side tables are best for people-watching.

Local Guide

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Ohla Hotel - Barcelona - Spain
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

After you’ve soaked up the Catalan rooftop rays and let yourself loose with Max and Giuseuppe in the cocktail bar, you’ll want to see what the rest of Barcelona has to offer. Take a wander through the narrow streets of the Barrio Gotico, pausing to peer into the tiny boutiques along Calle Avinyo and the tapas bars of Calle Ferran. If your cards need a workout, then head to nearby El Corte Ingles for a dose of Spain’s favourite department store. For designer labels, head over to Paseo de Grácia. You’ll find more independent and unusual shops in the El Born area. The city is an exhilarating mix of Gothic and Spanish modernist architecture; Gaudi’s Casa Battlo and La Pedrera are two of the most visually exciting examples. Have drinks on the strikingly surreal roof of the latter, with views over the city.

Local restaurants

Borrow one of the hotel’s foldaway bikes and cycle down to Agua (+34 932 251 272) on the beachfront; it’s fab for seafood. Grab a shady spot on the outside terrace if the sun’s beating down. 7 Portes on Passeig d’Isabel II (+34 933 193 033) is the oldest restaurant in Barcelona and serves authentic Catalan fare in a formal setting with a pianist from 10.30pm. For an avant-garde take on tapas, head to Comerç 24 on Carrer Comerç (+34 933 192 102), a modern restaurant decked out in bold shades of aubergine and mustard yellow. Models, footballers and discerning tourists head to Monk Bar (+34 933 184 252) on Pau Claris for its elegant Japanese, Mediterranean and French cuisine.

Local bars

Charm your way into Mutis, a candlelit, velvet-clad speakeasy in a residential apartment building next to Bar Mut, between Diagonal and Pau Claris avenues. Bookings are essential so ask the concierge desk to organise (+34 934 158 515). Bar Mut itself is worth trying – people eat late here and it’s on the expensive side but the fish-focused tapas are delicious. Try the scallops or the carpacio huevos fritos. A ten minute walk from the hotel, dimly-lit, atmospheric Andu on Correu Vell is a real local’s haunt and well off the tourist trail.

Local cafés

A few doors down from the hotel, the small, cute Creps a Barcelona café (+34 933 015 401) serves – unsurprisingly – crepes and gallettes in sweet and savoury combos, with a range of teas and infusions. Look out for heavenly Caelum in the heart of the Gothic Quarter, a 15 minute stroll from the hotel. Stylish café and shop combined, it’s the perfect place to stock up on yummy Spanish goodies (marzipan, nougat, brownies…)

+ Enlarge
Beside Barrio Gotico

Ohla Hotel

Via Laietana, 49, Barcelona, 08003

Planes

The nearest airport is Barcelona Airport, known locally as El Prat, about 17km from the hotel.

Trains

Estació de França is a 15 minute walk from the hotel. Barcelona’s main railway station, Estació de Sants, is about 6km away. It’s a 17 minute subway ride on the L1 line. The nearest metro station (Urquinaono, L1, L4) is only 20m from the hotel and Catalunya (L1, L3) is 200m away.

Automobiles

The hotel is within walking distance of the Ramblas, so you won’t need a car to explore. There’s an extensive metro and bus service if you’re venturing further afield, or hail a taxi. If you do have a car, parking is available at the hotel for €30 a day, subject to availability. It takes about two hours to drive from France to Barcelona on the AP-7, and six from Madrid on the A2, via Zaragoza.

Reviews

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Ohla Hotel - Barcelona - Spain

Anonymous review

by James Davidson , What he hearts

I can’t take my eyes off Xavi Hernández. I’m at Barcelona’s Camp Nou, a mecca for football fans. It’s a blustery spring night in the Catalan capital, and I’m finally watching an FC Barcelona home match. Everyone else, of course, is watching Lionel Messi – considered by many The Best Player In The World. Xavi is quietly efficient, graceful, making the hard…
Read more

Ohla Hotel

Anonymous review by James Davidson , What he hearts

I can’t take my eyes off Xavi Hernández. I’m at Barcelona’s Camp Nou, a mecca for football fans. It’s a blustery spring night in the Catalan capital, and I’m finally watching an FC Barcelona home match. Everyone else, of course, is watching Lionel Messi – considered by many The Best Player In The World. Xavi is quietly efficient, graceful, making the hard things look easy… streamlined. (Bear with me, I am getting to the part where I talk about our hip hotel.) In many ways the footballer’s movements are akin to our hotel: Ohla puts the ugly things out of sight, does the whole five-star thing without a song or dance, and retains effortless calm throughout.

Riffing on the footie analogy, Ohla has relegated the reception to the first floor. There are no luggage-laden, airport-weary tourists cluttering up this lobby. Sidle into the softly lit entrance through the discreet glass doors of this boutique Barcelona hotel, and you instantly sense the low-key buzz from the ground-floor restaurant and bar, where even the locals want a piece of the action. Built on the site of the first Count of Barcelona’s palace, this refurbished former department store and police office has dispensed with its civic duties to concern itself solely with the pursuit of pleasure.

Inside the bedrooms, cupboards and WC unsightliness has been done away with, eliminating the more scruffy elements of the room (they’ve, confusingly at first, been hidden behind the bathroom’s sleek black walls). The lighting is behind architectural cut-outs in the ceiling, and there are absolutely no furnishings that needn’t be there. It’s minimalist, but with a distinctly braver space-age feel rather than your typical Scandi style.

Fans of the flamboyant, fear not, it’s not all slick understated refinement. Our room’s centerpiece is the shower: more than a nod to the showy artistry of Messi. Standing on the edge of where our open-plan bathroom meets the bedroom – an enclosed ensuite with three clear-glass sides – it shouts proudly that not everything should be hidden. This isn’t form over function either, the soaking from the ginormous rainfall head is a near-religious experience, and while it might not be wholly appropriate for friends travelling together, who cares? This is a romantic trip. And you can easily fit two in here.

Surprisingly it’s outside where the splendour is at its strongest. The hotel’s entire façade is dominated by Mur d’ulls, 2011 a work by artist Frederic Amat, in which hundreds of ceramic eyeballs dramatically peer out at us. They’re curiously dotted around the neoclassical front exterior, and litter the modern façade at the rear. You can get up close and personal with these peculiar little pupils from the chill-out terrace, which is a perfect mixture of the hotel’s extravagance and refinement. It’s very New York, but with views of the mesmeric architectural chaos of Gothic Barcelona instead of skyscrapers. You can spend an age here – and we do – ogling the near-perfect vistas. By summer, this must be one of Barcelona’s most splendid spots.

Then there’s the location. We’d arrived the day earlier, Mrs Smith and I giving each other a knowingly smug grin as the taxi pulled up outside the hotel. We know Barcelona well and were more than a little pleased with its locale; Ohla is steps away from the best of Gothic Quarter and just a short walk from El Born, a fashionable area with some fine eateries and nightspots (the internationally renowned tapas of El Xampanyet and Cal Pep, and the undeniably pretty new hotspot, Café Kafka are just some favourites).

Not that you need to walk far to experience fine eateries. Ohla hosts the Michelin-starred Saüc, chef Xavier Franco’s relocated restaurant with a focus on inventive Catalan cuisine. While downstairs he presents his diffusion line, in the shape of Gastrobar, a light, airy space where the divine breakfast is also held. It’s a voyeurs’ dream with huge windows looking out onto the bustling streets outside. If you’re smart you’ll perch at the sleek bar and watch the chefs busily preparing tapas and platillos like Iberian pork cheek with sweet potato and charcoal-grilled mussels with fresh tomato sauce. The biggest hitters for us? The Marennes-Oléron oysters with green apple and kaffir lime: utterly sublime, we immediately ordered more; this is the sort of forward-thinking execution of Catalan cuisine that will see you back again, and again.

Finally we stray from the arms of luxury, and spend a day snooping around the streets around the hotel – boutiques interspersed with tapas and caña. (Bar Pinotxo, just inside Boqueria Market, is a must, with prodigious el Bulli icon Ferran Adrià agreeing on this.) Then, soon enough, we are on to see another of the chef’s great loves: FC Barcelona. It’s a masterclass, and they run out easy 4–0 winners. There’s a period in the second half, where the opposition don’t touch the ball for nearly 20 minutes; it was that moment where I started thinking of the Ohla analogy… It too is a well-oiled machine, and for large periods the competition doesn’t come close.

The Guestbook

Reviews of Ohla Hotel from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The hotel was very cool and modern. The bar and pool upstairs were gorgeous. The concierge and all staff were really lovely and helpful.

Don’t expect

They close the pool at 6.30pm as the pool area becomes a rooftop bar open to the public. It was only annoying as we were there for one night and would have liked to have had more time by the pool.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the roof terrace and the in-room massage. Nine out of 10.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

This is an absolutely superb hotel within walking distance of all major sites. The rooftop pool especially fantastic with great views. We couldn't find a single fault. Perfect!

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

It's a great location for everything in the city. I liked the very cool and hip design and the fab rooftop bar, as well as the very friendly and welcoming staff.

Don’t expect

I thought the parking fees were a little steep, and I could not get reservation in the restaurant for our anniversary.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Ideal location: central but without the chaos and touristyness of being near La Rambla. Breakfast was generous; food was generally excellent but there is better to be had, and cheaper! Service was absolutely first class; it is a very welcoming place with a helpful staff.

Don’t expect

The rooftop pool bar has amazing views, but doesn't look as well kept as the rest of the hotel. But, that's a small thing compared with the overall excellence.

Rating: 9/10 stars