Barcelona’s eclectic mix of all-night bars, delectable tapas restaurants, architectural gems and vibrant atmosphere draws international visitors for long weekends of late nights and little sleep. But for parents, it’s still easy to enjoy Barcelona with children. The majority of the city’s restaurants and hotels are accessible for children, and Spanish families rarely seem to hit the town without their little ones in tow (whether you’re heading to an early breakfast or a late, post-Flamenco supper, you’ll see people travelling en famille).
Kodomo.com’s Founder and Director Cass Chapman profiles five of the city’s best hotels that combine luxurious accommodations with premium, family-friendly amenities:
If you’re up for exploring Barcelona without being smack in the center of the city, Le Meridien Ra Beach Hotel is situated a tranquil 40-minutes out of town in the direction of Tarragona. Located on the white sands of San Salvador, this 1920s beauty combines beaches, gardens, and a swimming pool, while private terraces are attached to each room to allow for seclusion from other guests. Children are kept happily occupied by the kids’ club that operates throughout the summer months, and the adjacent beach goes down especially well after an afternoon of sightseeing in the city. Parents have plenty of relaxation options, too: the hotel’s Spa After Dark means you can enjoy some pampering once the kids are in bed.
If you want to spoil yourself, the newest addition on the Barcelona luxury hotel block is the always-extravagant W Hotel. A little like Dubai’s Burj Al Arab in exterior design, the hotel’s prominent Barceloneta address will place you at the base of Las Ramblas on the sea, so you can sip Cava by the water’s edge or head straight into Barcelona’s heart. Many rooms offer direct beach access, and the immediate location on Playa Sant Sebastia makes the hotel perfect for older children looking to hang out near the sea. Though there are a few areas (such as the Eclipse club) where kids are not permitted, there are plenty of family-friendly evening options, including Salt, the on-site restaurant-cum-beach-club. If you have animals to consider in addition to children, the hotel is also pet-friendly and offers dog-walking services, beds, and even pet welcome kits.
If you want to show your children the Barcelona’s sights, Le Meridien in the city centre is perfectly located; everything from the zoo to the aquarium to the world-famous Boqueria market is within walking distance. In a quirky touch, the hotel’s bedroom keys are designed by local artists (so they don’t look like keys at all), which proves a hit with the little ones.
Le Meridien excels in providing all the amenities a travelling family would require. The resident housekeepers are happy to meet any need on demand, and the 24-hour concierge can arrange everything from babysitting services to tours of the city. An in-house hairdresser and fitness center will keep parents looking, and feeling, their very best. Medical facilities are available on-site for those who need them (or just want the reassurance that they are there) and, if you want to see the city by night, the hotel’s limousine service is a fun way to cruise the streets in style. In the lobby, chalk-filled vases adorn each table so children can draw and decorate them with their own designs. The vitality pool and outdoor spa are a big hit for kids and parents, while Le Meridien’s chef is happy to provide home-made smoothies, purees, and warm milk bottles for babies, or whip up special children’s dishes when asked.
On the edge of Montjuïc Mountain, Hotel Miramar offers elegant surroundings in addition to its enviable vistas (you’ll find private terraces in each room that offer unrivalled views of the city’s skyline). Near to Las Ramblas, where street performers, flower stalls and musicians line the walkways, the hotel is still distanced enough to offer some respite from the city’s non-stop liveliness. The top of Montjuïc Mountain (where the castle of the same name can be found) can be reached using the Funicular de Montjuïc, a railway that operates as part of the Barcelona Metro, and then a gondola lift, which children will adore.
Design-loving parents will appreciate the Miramar’s Philippe Starck baths, controlled-climate indoor pool and a decked outdoor pool for hotter summer days. The hotel’s Preferred Family Certification also means it’s very well equipped for children, with special amenities ranging from extended dining hours (so kids can eat earlier than adults, who tend to dine much later in Spain) to babysitting services from a company that is licensed, bonded and insured. Also available are bottle warmers, an outdoor playground, family-friendly spa services, and connecting rooms. In addition, the entirety of the hotel is stroller accessible.
Barcelona can’t be written about without a nod to the original Hotel Arts. Distinguished by the Frank Gehry fish sculpture out front, the hotel provides a fair dose of luxury, with enormous bathrooms, high-tech entertainment systems and views of the sea in every room. Two on-site restaurants cater to different needs: Bites always has a featured children’s item and the menu doubles as a drawing book, while the Michelin-starred Arola restaurant is ideal for parents seeking a night to themselves. Other special touches include the reception desk’s fun questionnaire for children (asking a waiter for an autograph, for example, is one such task), which, once filled out, earns kids a free ice cream. All family rooms are adorned with coloured balloons and sweets to welcome families with aplomb, while bunches of flowers line the corridors.
Kodomo.com recently launched with the aim of providing parents well-researched recommendations on where to eat, stay and play across the world with children in tow. The site provides specific information on everything from spa hotels to ski weekends, Malay suites to Apulian villas, all with family-friendly facilities in mind.
View more information in our Barcelona city guide
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