Located in Barcelona’s creative quarter, boutique hotel Yurbban Passage has the bones of a textile workshop, but the topcoat of a craftsman who’s conquered his trade. Iron window frames, brick walls and support columns attest to the building’s industrious beginnings, but the addition of a spa and roof terrace has transformed this old workhorse into a suavely-dressed sire. Nowadays, the hotel is resolutely committed to a life of leisure: lounging in the rooftop pool, you can count the silhouettes of church spires against the sunset. Once you're feeling suitably refreshed, you need only ride the lift back to the lobby, step outside, and you’ll find yourself back in the vibrant bustle.
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £200.07 (€227), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.69 per person per night on check-out.
Room rates don’t usually include breakfast, but the buffet spread (€19 for adults, €15 for kids) and à la carte Catalan breakfast options are worth the few extra euros.
If you’re wondering whether Yurbban is a word from old Catalan, it's actually a blend of ‘young’ and ‘urban’. The ‘passage’ part of the hotel’s name refers to the passageway that runs underneath the building. Dating back to 1878, this alley was once the haunt of craftsmen and merchants, who likely used it to peddle their wares.
At the hotel
Spa with a sauna, lounge area with a library and shuffleboard, roof terrace, gym, laundry and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: 49” flatscreen TV, minibar, Nespresso machine, tea-making facilities, a yoga mat, free bottled water and exclusive bath products.
Our favourite rooms
The Yurbban Suite with Terrace, which has (you guessed it) a roomy terrace with a sunlounger, seating area and a view over the surrounding rooftops. Back inside, there’s a living area with a turntable and a spacious bedroom. The Double Interior is a less extravagant option, but it still has the luxurious finish of the larger rooms. It’s also set back from the street, saving you from any nighttime noise.
The hotel has two pools. One is on the roof terrace, affording swimmers a panoramic view of the city. It’s unheated and flanked on one side by sunloungers and parasols. The second, smaller pool is in the spa area, and has a high, arched ceiling and smooth stone walls. This one’s heated, has lounge beds round the outside and is adults-only, making it a peaceful place to cool off after a day in the busy streets. The spa pool is for guests 16-and-older only.
The spa is in the same area as the pool, and contains a sauna, a hammam, and three treatment rooms. There’s a varied menu of treatments, including facials designed to offset the effects of sun and saltwater, and massages to enliven tired legs. The spa products produced for the hotel are very ethically minded, too: they’re suitable for vegans, free from animal testing and kind to the environment. The hotel also has a gym fitted with the latest equipment.
Barcelona is a walking city, so forgo your fanciest footwear (at least during the day).
All of the public areas are wheelchair accessible, as are two of the Double Interior rooms.
Welcome, although the hotel is best suited to adults. Cots (free) can be added to all rooms. There are no extra beds at the hotel, but Triple rooms have sofa beds, as does the Suite with Terrace. It's 16-and-older only in the fitness centre, spa and pool.
If you like being close to the action (or just want something light), a seat at the bar should do you well. Those who prefer to sit on a soft bench should aim for one of the tables beneath the bookshelves.
El Born’s craft heritage has made it a hotbed of fashion and design, so there’s plenty of boutiques selling clothes befitting of a yurbanite.
With a honey-toned wooden floor, webbed-cane chairs and walls of white-painted brick, Restaurant D’Aprop has the elegant yet understated look of a high-class atelier. This minimalism suits the space perfectly, however, as the high ceiling and floodlit columns provide plenty dramatic effect as it is. The kitchen is helmed by Michelin-starred chef Xavier Franco, who has created a menu that is Catalan at heart, but shows influence from Spain’s Mediterranean neighbours too.
The Lounge Bar is in the restaurant, standing in front of several grated windows. Guests’ line of sight has been kept clear, with all the bottles and glasses arranged on shelves overhead, keeping things smart and ordered.
Breakfast is served from 7am to 11am; lunch from 12.30pm to 4pm and dinner from 7.30pm to 11pm. The Lounge Bar is open from 7am all the way through to midnight.
Room service is available from 7am to 11pm. The starters – such as Iberian ham, Catalan sausages and tomato flatbreads – make great light bites; if you’re after something more substantial, try the veal burger topped with cured bacon.
Yurbban Passage is in El Born, one of Barcelona’s innermost districts. Once the craftsman’s quarter, it’s now home to a multitude of museums, boutiques, cafés and bars. The busier Gothic Quarter is just a few minutes walk away.
Barcelona has a major international airport, which is 25 minutes from the hotel by car. The Smith24 team can arrange flights and transfers; call anytime, day or night.
Barcelona Sants is a major transport hub, connected to lines that traverse Spain and its Continental neighbours. The high-speed AVE service from Madrid takes two hours; from France, the TGV from Toulouse takes three hours. The station is 15 minutes from the hotel by car.
You don’t really need a car in Barcelona; the touristy areas can be reached on foot, and the Metro system has you covered when you want to venture further afield. If you do want to hire, however, the Smith24 team can arrange it.
Worth getting out of bed for
Begin your sightseeing with a ramble along Las Ramblas, a wide, tree-lined boulevard that cuts right through the heart of the city. It’s often busy and touristy, but there are are hundreds of street performers, artists, stalls and cafés to keep things interesting (do keep an eye out for pickpockets, however). You can leave this artery at any time to wander the labyrinthine streets of the Gothic Quarter and El Born, both of which are teeming with architectural delights; highlights include the Catedral de Barcelona, the Basilica Santa Maria del Mar and the Plaça del Rai. The Museu Picasso, home to one of the largest collections of the artist’s works, is well worth a look, as is the Barcelona Museum for Contemporary Art. Combine all these attractions with the mediaeval proportions of the streets, however, and you do get inevitable crowds, particularly in summer. For a little breathing space, decamp to the Jardins de Mossèn Costa i Llobera, named after a prominent Spanish poet. Overlooking the port, these botanical gardens specialise in desert and tropical plantlife. The stars of the show are the cacti, of which there are 800 species to spot. For performances, you’ve got the Gran Teatre del Liceu, the city’s grand opera house, or the less formal Antic Teatre, housed in what was once a neoclassical palace. You don’t even need to see a show to enjoy the latter, as the courtyard comes alive at dusk when locals gather for drinks. But of course, there’s one important set of sights that almost overshadow all the rest: the buildings of Gaudí, whose name is bound up with Barcelona more than any other. Whether it’s the dragon-esque roof of the Casa Batlló or the lavish ornamentation of the Sagrada Família, these masterpieces of Catalan modernism don’t disappoint.
Devoted to an artisanal approach, La Esquina like to keep their menu simple, allowing the quality of the ingredients to shine through. Their main lunch offering is the ‘combi’: you select the meat, fish or the vegetarian option, and they accompany it with a seasonal selection of vegetables, pasta or legumes. The owners of Bar Casa Xica spent considerable time abroad (particularly in Japan) before opening this Asian-Catalan fusion restaurant. Their worldliness makes itself known in the variety of dishes, which range from ceviche to Asian-style hamburgers. For something a little different, pay a visit to La Boqueria, which began life in the 1200s when it was just a few tables set up outside the city gates. Some 800 years later, the market has grown into one of the Barcelona’s most popular attractions, offering all manner of epicurean treats. Whether you’re in the mood for dates, stuffed olives or a full leg of Iberian ham, they’ve got something to satisfy. Get there early to avoid the afternoon crowds.
If you’re in need of a pick-me-up, stop in at Nabucco Tiramisu, a hip and cosy café. It’s a great spot for breakfast – accompanied by freshly squeezed juices – or a mid-afternoon focaccia. A few blocks to the south you’ll find Onna, a small coffee shop that’s built a big reputation. The owner has a special relationship with growers in Costa Rica, hand-picking the beans before bringing them back to be roasted locally. Every coffee is carefully prepared, and the cakes and pastries have inspired a loyal local following.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this city hotel in Spain and unpacked their Catalan crafts bought from El Born’s boutiques, a full account of their city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Yurbban Passage in Barcelona…
Barcelona is a city that draws you into its heart; it beguiles with the beauty of its Gothic Quarter and intoxicates with the buzz of El Born. But once you’ve exhausted your sightseeing capabilities for the day, you also want to be able to get away from it all, as if disappearing down a hidden passageway. Step up Yurbban Passage, a former textile workshop turned boutique hotel. A resident of El Born, it’s as near the action as you’d want a stay to be, but step through the doors and you’ll find it to be an elusive slice of inner-city respite. The lobby, lounge and restaurant are uncluttered and open, with high ceilings giving you some much needed breathing space. Upstairs, the rooms are stylish, modern and leaning towards the minimal end of the furnishing scale – a welcome change from cramped mediaeval streets. A rooftop pool lets you admire the skyline well above the fray; the cavernous spa is a cocoon from the outside world.