This veteran hotel on Tibidabo's Hill has a history that stretches back to 1924, with its heyday in the '50s as a hot spot for wealthy Catalan families and visiting stars like Ernest Hemingway, James Stewart, and Princess Fabiola. Having closed in 1979, La Florida reopened in 2001 in a more postmodern incarnation that blends original features such as wrought iron and antique tapestries with bold stainless-steel and glass accents. The art nouveau–inspired guestrooms were designed by internationally acclaimed artists such as Dale Keller, Rebecca Horn, and Cristina Macaya, and they're dotted with contemporary art by a similarly impressive cast—sculptures by British artists Ben Jakober and Yannick Vu and paintings of flowers by Catalan artist Isabel Cruellas, for example. All the rooms have oak floors, luxurious furniture and fittings, and generously-sized marble bathrooms with in-floor heating and separate showers and bathtubs. Deluxe Rooms have balconies facing the city and seaside, Junior Suites have separate living areas, and dedicated family rooms are also available. The hotel features a wonderful restaurant, spa by L'Occitane, open-air swimming pool, and in-house café and bar with regular live music.
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Gran Hotel La Florida’s main appeal lies in its magnificent setting, perched above Barcelona with stunning views across the city and the Mediterranean coast. Despite its relatively secluded location, it’s only 15–20 minutes to the city center by taxi or with the free shuttle service, which transports guests up to the top of the Passeig de Gràcia for some high-end retail action. Families will be happy to know they are only a three-minute drive from Tibidabo amusement park.
Need to Know
Rooms: 70 rooms; from $200. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: The stylish Restaurant L’Orangerie, run by chef Juan Jiménez, serves delicious Catalan cuisine such as hand-cut Iberian ham, while Café 1925 also offers all-day dining and a buffet breakfast. Next to the pool, the TB Bar serves gourmet sandwiches, salads, and Mediterranean tapas throughout the day, and cocktails, wines, and live music (summer only) in the evenings. Spa and gym details: The Spa by L'Occitane includes a sauna, steam bath, and water zone with Jacuzzi. A 37-meter indoor and outdoor stainless-steel swimming pool is heated in winter, and it sits alongside an outdoor bar, sundecks, and sunbeds on the terraced patio. The gym, located within the spa, has a full range of fitness equipment.
Who’s it for: Incurable romantics; anyone looking for an idyllic escape or who might enjoy a wander through the local landscape. Our favorite rooms: The Japanese Suite, designed by Dale Keller, includes an extensive patio with hammocks and an outdoor Jacuzzi with views of a spectacular Japanese garden. The bedroom, separated from the living room by a revolving plasma TV, has a Japanese bed, offers views to the inside of the Zen Zone Spa, and comes with a special sake service. Romance on request: Couples can opt for the Romantic Package, which involves a “romantic bath” on request, breakfast in bed (with a bottle of cava), and either massages or a coupon for the spa worth around $125.