Barcelona’s place in the city break premier league has been assured for years. Its only weakness was a shortage of good quality beds. Now finally, the hotel product is catching up.


Last year 15 new hotels opened. This year will see another 22, and as competition increases, older hotels are sprucing up too.


Here is a selection of the best new hotels in the Catalan capital for luxury, budget, design, food and sightseeing.


1. Best for design

Where: Casa Camper, opened January 2005.

Why: this cosy 25-room four-star hotel from the trendy Spanish footwear company Camper is in a converted 19th century building in the cool El Raval district. The hotel was designed by Fernando Amat, creator of Barcelona’s interior store Vinçon and the blood-red walls, vast showers, wall-to-floor glass and rich wood tones create a cosy if mildly eccentric haven. All rooms have their own lounges and the bedrooms face away from the street, meaning guests can sleep in peace but still watch the world go by when they choose. Check out the in-room jelly slippers and the wooden bikes for hire.

How: Design Hotels offers bed and breakfast at Casa Camper from £160 per double per night in June, on which agents can earn commission. See Designhotels.com or call 00 800 37 46 83 57.

See also: Hotel Granados 83, opened in March 2006. A contemporary four-star hotel in an old industrial building with New York-style loft rooms near Las Ramblas. Design hotel has double rooms from £146 with breakfast in June.


2. Best for sightseeing

Grand Central PoolWhere:
Hotel Grand Central, opened November 2005.

Why: right next to the cathedral, this four-star property couldn’t be better placed for the sights, with Las Ramblas, the shopping area around Plaza Catalunya and key museums and restaurants all on the doorstep. Rooms are light and spacious and many have stunning views of the Gothic district. The infinity swimming pool on the roof is a great place to relax and admire the cityscape and the distant sparkle of the sea just moments from the hustle and bustle of the city.

How: BCT Travel Group offers two nights’ bed-and-breakfast accommodation at the Hotel Grand Central for £408 per person including return flights in June.

See also: Hotel Barcelona Catedral opens its doors in September. This four-star boutique hotel near the cathedral will offer free guided walks through the Gothic quarter on Sundays. Rooms are from £153 per double, but there are up to 50% reductions available for September.


3. Best for luxury

Gran Hotel MiramarWhere:
Gran Hotel Miramar, opens August 2006.

Why: sitting high on the Montjuic mountain and surrounded by gardens, the five-star Miramar will have one of the most amazing views of the city. The well-designed rooms are plush with every luxury imaginable including plasma TV screens, Wi-Fi connectivity and spacious bathrooms. Most rooms have terraces and some have spa baths. The hotel also has a spa and indoor and outdoor swimming pools, making it a real year-round luxury hotspot for customers.

How: rates have not yet been confirmed ahead of the August opening.

See also: Hotel Hilton Diagonal Mar, opened August 2005. This modern 433-room five-star hotel overlooks the sea near the Barcelona International Convention Centre and the upmarket Diagonal Mar mall. Priced from £163 per room per night including breakfast.


4. Best for gastronomy

Hotel Condes de BarcelonaWhere:
Hotel Condes de Barcelona, opened March 2006.

Why: this four-star hotel is in the centre of the city in Paseo de Gracia opposite Gaudi’s Pedrera building and has been renovated from two elegant 18th century palaces. Lasarte restaurant has just opened in the hotel under three-Michelin-starred chef Martin Berasategui. A table here is one of the most sought after in town, at least until the hotel’s second restaurant, Loidi, opens in autumn.

How: Thomas Cook Signature offers one night’s bed-and-breakfast accommodation at Hotel Condes de Barcelona from £221 per person including return flights in June.

See also: Drolma restaurant at Hotel Majestic – not new but overseen by another Michelin-starred chef, Fermi Puig. Double rooms from £184 in June including breakfast.


5. Best for budget

Where:
Catalonia Aragon Hotel refurbished winter 2005/06.

Why: this three-star property is just one of the older hotels in Barcelona that has been spruced up to meet the rising accommodation standard in the city. All rooms have been refurbished and 50 completely new rooms have been added. Close to Gaudi’s landmark Sagrada Familia cathedral, this hotel is a good choice for customers more interested in dropping the bags and heading off to do the sights than hanging out in their room.

How: Thomas Cook Signature offers two nights’ bed-and-breakfast accommodation at the Catalonia Aragon Hotel, including return flights from a choice of airports, from £245 per person in June.

See also: Chic&Basic Born, a three-star property, is opening in July and will offer simple, stylish rooms in a central, period building. This should be an excellent option for young city-breakers who would rather spend their money on going out and having fun. Rooms are from £62 per night in June.