This recently renovated Art Nouveau gem is among the oldest and best of Barcelona's smaller hotels. And for location, decor, and price, it can't be beat. Abutting the Liceu opera house and 100 yards from the middle of La Rambla, the España dates to 1857 but was renovated in 1904 by architect Lluís Doménech i Montaner, who also designed the Palau de la Música. The decorative and sculptural detail is remarkable: don't miss the alabaster fireplace in the bar lounge, by
Eusebio Arnau. Rooms are ranged around a breathtaking top-to-bottom skylit corrala (central gallery) with wrought-iron railings. Accommodations are a bit small, but are handsomely decked out in grays and dark browns, with iPod docks, wood floors, comfortable desks, and office chairs.