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Hotel Highlights

  • Mesmerising city views from the rooftop pool
  • Dynamite Catalan cuisine
  • The height of relaxation in the heart of the culture quarter


Bang in the centre of the Barcelona bustle, Grand Hotel Central provides respite for many a weary traveller, shopper or culture-hound. An imposing 1920s façade masks a warm and well-lit modern retreat, where visitors can watch the city unfold from the eighth-storey roof terrace, then swing back down into the urban action, a doorway’s width away.

Smith Extra

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

A free bottle of Cava on arrival, €15 voucher for the hotel's thermal suite and late check-out (subject to availability)


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Grand Hotel Central – Barcelona – Spain

Need To Know


147, including 22 suites.


12 noon, but can be later by arrangement. Earliest check-in, 2pm.


Double rooms from $281.61 (€210), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.48 per person per night on check-out.

More details

Rates exclude breakfast (from €25.30 a person).

At the hotel

24-hour room service, library, laundry service, fitness centre, conference rooms, daily newspapers, airport transfer, WiFi in public areas. In rooms: LCD TV, CD/DVD players, iPod dock, minibar.

Our favourite rooms

The Executive rooms are slightly larger than the standard, and both are very spacious. Bigger still are the Loft and Master Suites – the latter packing in a colossal 40 metres squared. Both offer 32” LCD screens and come with freebie goodies: Cava, chocs, and the hotel’s own guidebook to the city. Loft Suites offer mouth-watering views of the Roman walls, while the smaller City rooms occupy the corners of the building and offer the best panoramas of the city (the clue’s in the name).


The roof-top infinity pool perches at the summit of the city, offering an unrivalled view of Barcelona from the sleek wooden sun loungers.

Packing tips

A handful of tomes on art history and architecture for swotting up on Barcelona’s gorgeous historic buildings and sounding authoritative about Picasso; plenty of euros for splashing out on the Ramblas, the city’s most famous shopping street.


Massages can be arranged.


Under-11s stay for free, over-11s require a €61 supplement for an extra bed (excluding VAT). Cots are available for babies, and babysitting can be arranged.


Solar panels on the roof cut down on wasted energy; all food is locally produced.

Food & Drink

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Grand Hotel Central – Barcelona – Spain

Hotel Restaurant

Grand Central Hotel is home to Avalon, award-laden chef Ramon Freixa’s cosmopolitan eatery. Like Britain’s Blumenthal, Freixa has a wizard’s touch with unexpected flavours, fusing traditional Catalan cuisine and seasonal produce.

Hotel Bar

Set beside the rooftop pool, the Sky Bar is the best place in Barcelona to sit with a cheeky afternoon cocktail and admire the city skyline. Drinks and snacks are also available in the restaurant throughout the day. During summer, it's open to guests only from 9.30am to 8.30pm, then becomes a cool hangout for hip locals and guests alike until 1.30am.

Last orders

Dinner is served until 10.30pm and midnight at weekends. The restaurant opens its doors to the public at 11h but hotel guests are welcome for breakfast beforehand.

Room service

A full menu of tasty treats is available at any time.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Spanish city sleek.

Top table

Make sure you get a window seat to watch the world wander by.

Local Guide

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Grand Hotel Central – Barcelona – Spain
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Near Grand Hotel Central, Las Ramblas is one of the city's busiest and most famous shopping areas, packed with street entertainers every day. Set your sights for the narrow streets of El Born district if you're after designer bars and restaurants, a perfect evening's entertainment after a culture-fuelled trip to the Museu Picasso.

For a guide to Barcelona and tips on what to get up to while you're away, click here.

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A ramble from Las Ramblas

Grand Hotel Central

30 Via Laietana, Barcelona, 08003


Fly with EasyJet ( or Spanair ( to Barcelona Airport, which is a 20-minute drive from the city centre. You can grab a taxi for roughly €25. It’s around €3 for a single Aerobus ticket to the centre of Barcelona (buses leave the airport every 15 minutes), and a train runs every 30 minutes from Terminal A.


For travelling around Barcelona itself, there’s an extensive metro and bus system. For trips further afield, take the train to Madrid, Valencia, Zaragoza or Bilbao from Barcelona’s main railway station, Estació de Sants.


You can drive to Barcelona via the AP-7 from the French border, or from Madrid via the A2. Parking is available at a reduced price near the hotel.


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Grand Hotel Central – Barcelona – Spain

Anonymous review

by Charlotte Northedge , Intrepid investigator

Sitting by the rooftop infinity pool at Grand Hotel Central, Barcelona, watching the evening light disappear, we feel serene and just a little smug. Surely no one else in this crowded city can be watching the pink sun sink into water on this particular evening? The evening in question, just a few days before Valentine’s Day, is on the chilly side for Barcelona, which explains why we have the…
Read more

Grand Hotel Central

Anonymous review by Charlotte Northedge, Intrepid investigator

Sitting by the rooftop infinity pool at Grand Hotel Central, Barcelona, watching the evening light disappear, we feel serene and just a little smug. Surely no one else in this crowded city can be watching the pink sun sink into water on this particular evening? The evening in question, just a few days before Valentine’s Day, is on the chilly side for Barcelona, which explains why we have the rooftop, and seemingly the whole city, entirely to ourselves.

The Grand Hotel Central is, as its name suggests, right at the heart of Barcelona. But while the streets outside thrum with office workers, tourists idling past shops and cars dodging bikes, the hotel feels like an isolated retreat. A very high-end, minimalist retreat that is – all low-level mahogany furniture and candles flickering in glass holders. Designers Sandra Tarruella and Isabel López have incorporated original features, such as an old-fashioned lift shaft and marble staircase, from the 1920s apartment block the hotel was hewn from into their modern scheme of muted greys and browns, and sleek, dark furniture.

Stylish rather than opulent, our city suite with its bare walls and large, empty surfaces feels like an elegant backdrop for the real feature: huge windows facing directly onto the city’s fairytale cathedral, floodlit in the evening light. Reclining on the king-size bed, complimentary cava in one hand and chocolate in the other, I feel like a princess. My prince, however, is busy checking out the massaging power shower and ‘amazing lighting solutions’ in our en suite (we have just finished decorating our bathroom at home, so no detail escapes his designer’s eye), and delights in the fact he is able to operate each individual light, window blind, and the MP3, CD and DVD players from the comfort of bed. In fact, leaving this super-convenient, soothing environment at any point during the weekend is invariably a shock to the system; and so, we resolve sagely, we should stay in the room as much as possible. This is, after all, a romantic weekend.

Eventually, though, hunger drives us down to the hotel’s restaurant, Actual, a secluded spot in the basement with equally soft and seductive lighting. Here, we indulge in three courses of award-winning chef Ramón Freixa’s twist on traditional Catalan food. Mr Smith is dubious about his Catalan sausage, which comes parcelled in filo pastry and tastes ‘a bit like haggis’. But this is a man who generally turns his nose up at fish, seafood and any meat that isn’t chicken, and rejects tapas on the basis that he ‘likes to have his own dinner on his own plate’. He won’t even try my heavenly sea bass.

After dinner, we feel in need of a stroll. Having only visited Barcelona in the humid, tourist-packed summer months, we discover a winter-evening vibe that is quieter, more authentically Spanish and certainly more romantic. I had been advised by friends who know the city that the Born district is the place to be seen, so we head straight for the main street, Passeig del Born, and some expertly mixed mojitos at bustling Pitin. The bar staff seem impressed by our cocktail-drinking abilities – Spanish revellers are, we note, infinitely more civilised than their English counterparts, and seem able to make one drink last an entire evening. ‘We’re just doing our bit for queen and country,’ says Mr Smith plaintively.

The next day, after breakfast in bed (you just mark your choices on the menu hanging on your door), we meander towards the seafront, taking in craft markets, an outdoor ballet performance in Plaça Real and even a full-blown saint’s day carnival. And then, with only a short detour to the shops on Las Ramblas, we head for the beach in Barceloneta. It’s easy to forget that Barcelona is a beach city, but even in February, the combination of winter sun, die-hard surfers and fresh seafood in one of Barceloneta’s outdoor cafés, immediately gets us into that two-week-beach-holiday kind of mood. Mr Smith, predictably, does not share my enthusiasm for seafood tapas, and as I tuck into wonderfully tender calamari, sardines and cuttlefish, he joyfully takes delivery of an omelette – which, at least, comes on its own plate.

Since I’ve had my choice of lunch venue, Mr Smith insists, with a glint in his eye, on taking a cable-car trip across the port to Montjuïc, a scenic hilly area rejuvenated for the 1992 Olympics. A vertigo sufferer, I start to feel faint in the queue, and the German teenagers who find it hilarious to wobble the car as we set off are silenced by my look of unadulterated terror (Mr Smith, unfortunately, has photographic evidence). But by the time I am kissing the ground at the other end, I have to agree that it has been worth facing my fear for the stunning views over the city.

After another early evening of stargazing back at the hotel, we head out for dinner at a typically British hour. However, by the time we agree on a restaurant, it is approaching the more local mealtime of 10pm. Mr Smith’s ‘anything-but-tapas’ edict is limiting to say the least, but we finally find a pizza restaurant that fits his requirements and my ‘authentic-atmosphere’ criteria. Any disagreements are soon forgotten over pizza and a carafe of wine and, by the time we head back, we are more than ready for another night in that enormous bed.

I often find that city breaks don’t give me enough time to wind down; too much marching around with guidebooks, Mr Smith trailing petulantly in my wake. But with the rooftop pool, luxurious suite and the beach just a 20-minute wander away, our weekend at the Grand Hotel Central feels like more like a mini-holiday. We may not have packed in many sights, but we’ve absorbed Barcelona’s laid-back atmosphere. We’ll just have to come back to take in the rest of the city, perhaps when it’s warm enough to make full use of that infinity pool.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Grand Hotel Central's Guestbook below.



Stayed on

We loved

Highlights for us were the rooftop pool cocktail bar; the bedtime chocolates (proper chocolate truffles!); the airport transfer; the Grand Cesar Salad; and the quality of the beds pillows.

Don’t expect

Three coathangers per person seems a bit mean - we had to ask twice for more (but at least they trust us with removable ones!). WiFi wasn't working in the rooms, only public areas.

Rating: 10/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

This is a fantastic hotel in a central location – the staff couldn't have been more helpful, and the rooms were great. I really couldn't find fault (and I'm fussy!) Well done Mr & Mrs Smith for the recommendation.

Rating: 10/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

The rooftop bar with the infinity pool overlooking the city was just wonderful! There's a cool street-level bar too. I liked the great urban-chic-style rooms.

Don’t expect

The in-house menu could be a bit more extensive.

Rating: 9/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

I liked the wonderful people (incredibly friendly and helpful) and the fantastic location for exploring Barcelona, as well as the good bar and restaurant and amazing rooftop pool. We loved it.

Don’t expect

The hotel car not available at weekends for airport pick up and drop off, which seemed odd to me.

Rating: 8/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

Suite 712 was super and had a lovely bathroom and separate shower, enormous bed and lots of space. The coffee maker was brilliant and they even supplied three candles with matches for the romantic touch.

Don’t expect

The room only had one small window so was quite dark and the lighting was very subtle, not really bright enough to read by.

Rating: 10/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

The staff was very helpful and friendly! The rooms were clean and spaceous – perfect location, too. We will be going back!

Don’t expect

The bar menu was very basic and not very Spanish. The restaurant menu is really not much better than the bar menu, so we didn't eat in the hotel. And, I'm bored of being charged for a full breakfast when I only want a yoghurt and coffee.

Rating: 10/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

Good central postion; staff really friendly and helpful. Lovely hotel.

Rating: 10/10 stars