Boutique hotel Margot House wants to be your home-away-from-home. Curl up with a book in the library, help yourself to snacks from the kitchen, and pretend you actually live in your bright and airy room, looking out over one of Barcelona’s swishest streets.
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £169.11 (€197), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €3.30 per person per night on check-out.
Rates usually include buffet breakfast.
Borrow books from Margot House’s on-site library or, if you’re feeling more active, take one of the hotel’s Brompton cycles-for-hire for a spin around the city.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV, iPod dock, free bottled water and Aesop bath products.
Our favourite rooms
In the Premium rooms, you’ll find a raw-concrete and light-wood ensuite bathroom with a double-rainfall shower; talk about washing your troubles away. Natural light-filled Room 2, a Deluxe Suite, also has a standalone bath tub in the bedroom and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Take a cue from the hotel’s decor and pack your Wes Anderson-inspired best: think pink 1960s shift dresses or something with a hint of paisley (perhaps even a boy scout badge if you’re going all-out).
The hotel’s public areas are all accessible, and Room 8 has been specially adapted for wheelchair users.
Over-eights are welcome, but not particularly catered to.
The hotel recycles, uses seasonal and organic food, and offers Brompton cycles to hire.
Opt for a cosy two-top table and adjust the personal mood lighting as you like.
There’s no need to be formal here; go for effortlessly stylish brunch-with-your-mates attire.
Breakfast is dished out in the Margot Sala; pastries are baked by chef Jaime Santianes, and there’s an assortment of muesli, fresh seasonal fruits, meats and cheeses, freshly-squeezed orange juice and classic egg dishes to choose from. Although the restaurant doesn’t do lunch or dinner, you need only ask the lovely kitchen staff and they’ll prepare snacks for you 24 hours a day.
You’ll find the vintage honesty bar cart at the edge of the library. It’s stocked with wines, cava and classic cocktail fixings.
Breakfast to your heart’s content from 8am to 11am during the week and 8.30am to 11.30am on the weekends.
On request, the likes of Club Margot sandwiches, salmon toast and gazpacho can be brought to your room.
A lack of signage makes Margot House so discreet that you could easily pass by it, but it’s smack in the centre of Barcelona’s bustling Passeig de Gràcia, which is filled with shops and restaurants.
Barcelona Airport is 22 kilometres away; the hotel can arrange a shuttle service for up to four people for €21 a person each way.
Services from major cities, including Girona, Madrid and Valencia pull into Sans station, just five kilometres from the hotel; arrange one way transfers for €10 a person.
There's no parking at the hotel, but if you're wheeling your way through Spain, parking is available nearby for between €35 and €60 a day.
Worth getting out of bed for
Just down Passeig de Gràcia you’ll find Gaudí’s most accomplished civil work, La Pedrera; after all, no visit to Barcelona is complete without a little Gaudí gawking. Visit local botanical garden Jardins Mossen Costa I Ilobera for photo-ops with strange-looking cacti and palm trees; the New York Times voted it one of the world’s top 10 gardens. It’s a can’t-miss in the spring, and entry is free. Wander by Barcino, the last remains of the Roman wall, and head over to Las Ramblas to pick up nibbles at Boqueria market, Europe’s biggest food market.
The wooden tables of laid-back Granja Petitbo are laden with magazines for you to peruse while the friendly staff fetch your food. Get your tapas fix just steps from Margot House at Tapas 24, or really splash out on an evening meal at Barcelona favourite Can Valles. Carnivores will love meat-heavy Argentinian restaurant 9 Reinas (+34 932 72 47 66), where you can try exotic meats from around the world.
Brunch your heart out at photogenic Vigadi Café, which serves eggs many ways, jambon toasts, and all manner of breakfast beverages. For coffee and cocktails at all hours, look to Ocaña cafe; this music-filled space also dishes out sharing snacks and light meals. Keep an eye out for cafe-on-the-go Skye Coffee Co (+34 699 54 21 48), which pours out the sweet ichor of life from a silver CitröenHY coffee van; order a café con leche and a pastry to keep you moving. too.
For wine and light bites, head to legendary bar Xampanyet, which is known for its eponymous wine but of course serves up tapas, too. The crowd at petite and atmospheric Bar Mut is always a mix of locals and foreigners, and although the tapas plates are on the pricey side, they’re well worth it. Book ahead for dinner.
When you’re a stressed-out North American, there’s something about the Spanish lifestyle that appeals – wine, tapas, siesta, repeat…
So it was that somewhere between a major move, a career shift, and a very large family wedding, Mr Smith and I felt a greater-than-normal magnetism towards Barcelona.
While Mr Smith had visited the Catalan capital before (albeit in completely different circumstances involving half a dozen friends and a near constant supply of alcohol), I’d never been. But beyond a single reservation for lunch the day we landed, we’d organized next to nothing and had only a vague idea of where we wanted to explore – a rarity for a pair of hyper-planners.
After a somewhat squished (and sleeping-pilled) red-eye flight, and a quick cab ride into the city, we found ourselves at Margot House, a boutique hotel in its truest sense. We realized this immediately when there was no sign or awning save for a subtle sticker beside the building buzzer, not unlike that for our own Toronto apartment. After dozily taking the teeny elevator two stories too high (the sleeping pills still held their grip), we found the nondescript landing and the hotel’s reception.
We’d arrived into the blond-wooded Margot House to be greeted by a sweet receptionist, who not only gave us a room to freshen up in (ours wasn’t quite ready), but also answered all our somewhat garbled questions about how to get around, how to get a Spanish SIM card and how to procure advance tickets for Sagrada Familia (which she kindly arranged). My desire to plan was evidently overpowering that nascent jet lag.
We ate breakfast in the hotel’s shared kitchen space, home to a daily spread of cured meats, cheese, fresh fruit, yoghurt and pastries. Margot House’s common room (where we then took a couple of restorative espressos each) is their version of a lobby but much, much hipper: all mid-century Scandinavian furniture, myriad plants and flowers, a perfectly arranged bar and an artful book shelf.
‘It feels like we’re in Copenhagen’ said Mr Smith when we made it to our room. And he was right. Unlike the rest of Barcelona, which is all Gaudi, rich colours, and sculptural stone edifices, things here are sparse and extremely stylish. The walls are whitewashed and nary a piece of artwork bedecks them. The beds are low and comfortable; the bathrooms concrete and straightforward. They’re stocked with everything you need (Aesop toiletries included, which they also sell at reception), and nothing you don’t.
Besides the rain showers, excellent breakfasts, cloud-like beds, and high-design distractions (I fell for the Instagram bait and you will, too), the thing to be wary of when it comes to Margot House is the room you book. There are only nine in the hotel, so you might be limited in choice, but our window was onto an air shaft (albeit a very stylishly planted one) , which meant that when the lights were out, no matter the time of day, our room was pitch black. It turned out to be excellent for jet lag-induced siestas, but not so great for waking up from them; request room 1, 2, 4, or 5 for windows onto the street if you want natural sunlight – these rooms have plenty.
When we finally pulled ourselves together to leave, we emerged happy to discover we were directly across the street from the Loewe flagship store (my poor, poor credit card), Gaudi’s landmark Casa Batlló, and a few blocks from Casa Milà.
Barcelona is eminently walkable, and this perfectly situated hotel is in Eixample; El Raval, the Gothic Quarter, and Gracia – all neighbourhoods we explored on foot – are all satellites.
The hotel might have no restaurant of its own but the staff were full of suggestions for food (and all manner of cultural tip-offs). Following the receptionist’s recommendations, we wound up at a local festival where we were the only tourists – a situation that is always my priority when traveling to new places. And if you’re too shy to grill the staff as we did, they leave a lengthy list of goings-on in your room.
It all left us feeling very comfortable with our Barcelona routine: wine, tapas, siesta, repeat…