My husband and I spent 8 days in Barcelona. We loved touring the city and viewing the architecture by Gaudi. You must see Familia Cathedral and all its angles and the beautiful shell like stair cases (spirals). We also enjoyed seeing the Olympic Stadium, the bull fight ring (not the actual fight, though!) Gothic quarters and Picasso museum.
I have a word to the wise for those visiting Barcelona. DO NOT stay at the AC Hotel Sants. This was a huge disappointment. We have not had a bad experience at a Marriott property...ever, until now. July can get hot. The A/C is anemic. Like most European properties that we've visited, they don't do ice machines. In the case of this hotel, they don't do ice until the "restaurant is open" at 7pm. If you come after 7pm, then the "restaurant people" congregate in the back. You have to go find them. If you want a drink, then you can have beer, Coke, or water. The room is cramped. Find someplace else to stay. You won't regret it.
Thanks for this information. I have a trip planned to Barcelona for June 2016. I will be staying at a Marriott property 2 days prior to my cruise and a different one 2 days after my cruise. I have been going back and forth trying to decide which property to choose, although this was not on my list I will make sure it stays that way.
In Europe, we've only twice left the Marriott/AC brand, and Barcelona is one of those cities..
Right above the Barcelona Sants station is the Barcelo brand Sants hotel. Nice room, excellent location, very good food. Train to the airport is effectively in the hotel's basement. In Rome, we use the Starhotels Michelangelo.
Other than those two, we always stay at Marriott. We've stayed at a few AC hotels in Italy and find that they are very nice, although they may not permit you a hotel breakfast when redeeming Marriott points.
We stayed at the Cotton House 5 days before a cruise. Probably my favoite Marriott. Loved it No CL but breakfast is provided for Gold elites and it was more than I could ask for. Excellent location. Excellent staff. I could see Famalia Sagrada from my room. Seems like about a 30 euro cab from airport, and a little less than that to cruise port. Let us know how you like it.
I travel to Barca several times a year on business. The best option, for location is the Renaissance @ Pau Claris. Right in the centre and 10 minutes walk from Las Ramblas, and Gaudi architecture is only a street away. There is a tourist bus stop very close too, and its a cool hotel with a nice bar, although there is no pool. It can be expensive sometimes, but not as expensive as the Arts hotel. Ive never stayed there yet, but its on the beach so you will likely need a taxi to get to the centre but it looks amazing
The AC Sants is right next to the main station in Barcelona, and is quite basic.
Another option is the Rennaisance FIRA, which is very unique in its design, but towards the outskirts and perhaps not ideal for tourism
Barcelona is an amazing place - enjoy
I stayed at the Ren FIRA as a tourist for three nights before a cruise and really liked it - the hotel itself is very cool (I posted some pics in the unique Marriott thread). It is on the outskirts in terms of the tourist area, but there is a commuter rail station just next to it that links easily to the metro and runs very often (almost every 5 minutes in the morning) - and the 10 trips for 10 Euros pass is a great deal.
I wouldn't recommend it for a family or people who don't like to use public transportation and want to be in the nightlife, but if you are spending time outside Barcelona as well as in it (like day trips to the Pyrenees or the Costa Brava) and don't need to be in the tourist center all the time I would recommend it as I also found it ot be a bit cheaper than the other locations. I found Barcelona itself to be an easy city to navigate with the Metro (mostly, some stations have many entrances/exits and you can get a bit turned around) for the major spots.
I responded on this earlier, but I cannot say enough good things about this hotel. It is only one and one half years and located in the old Cotton exchange building. It is a small hotel and it is beautiful. Rooms are small, but functional. We had a Madras room. It overlooked the street and we could see Famalia Sagrada from the window. Perfect location. A few blocks from Pllaza Catalunya and Las Rambas. It is about a mile walk down La Rambla to the sea. Also walked to Familia Sagrada.
The restaurant could be a stand alone restauranat. Breakfast provided for Gold and Platinum elites. Best of all, the employees make this hotel special.
You can buy a custom made cotton shirt there if yoiu are filthy rich.
I think that you made a good choice and that you will love it.
3 I'd say. I'm there every year at least once. There's more to do than that, but it's a good start.
Sagrada Familia, Parque Guell, Las Ramblas, the waterfront. Each one is about 1/2 of a day or a 1/3. I don't schedule more than 2 big things a day or you get travel fatigue.
Don't eat on Las Ramblas, it's fake food. Do eat at La Boquiera Market located off Las Rambas. It's a very cool fresh food market that is being transformed into stall food more and more every day. Luckily the food there is pretty good. I do a sort of tapas/lunch there.
Once you have those done, there are many other cute corners to visit, but I feel like you need to do the iconic things first, then move to the next layer of travel.
I actually spend a lot of time in Poblenou and Barceloneta. My favorite place is Surf House Barcelona. A reservation will make your visit nicer. I sit outside and stuff my face with their awesome food and watch the ocean. I would eat there every day and I try to if my colleagues let me. They take what would be considered US cuisine and make it taste awesome.
I've been trying to get a reservation at Ferran Adria's restaurants, but whenever I think about it, it's too late (you need about 30-60 days out to get a reservation.
Cotton House is a rocking choice! When it opened, they had some great deals. I wish I had grabbed one. June is pretty busy, July and August are crazy with tourists.