Fodor's Expert Review Hotel Neri Relais & Châteaux
Carrer Sant Sever 5, Barcelona, Catalonia 08002, Spain See on Map Fodor's Choice
The ancient history of the building is on full display at this small boutique as exposed stone from the 12th Century lingers over the immaculately renovated property. The hotel is actually a combination of two buildings, the other from the 18th Century. Regardless of the years, inside is a high-end hotel where service is exceptional, an awareness for eco-friendliness is a premium, and all the little details have been looked after. Location-wise, the hotel couldn’t be more fascinating as you’ll find it tucked away in the alleys of the Gothic Quarter.
The hotel backs up to Plaça Neri, which is famous for its church that just so happened to be the favorite of Antoní Gaudí. You’ll also see the buildings riddled with bullet holes and blown out chunks – remnants from the Spanish Civil War.
There are only 22 rooms at this hotel and each is wholly unique. What is standard are hardwood floors, hanging string lights, big blackout curtains, work desks, and incense. Purple checked rugs are handmade and designed by the hotel’s owner. Nespresso machines and bottled water are standard in all rooms.
Ask for a room with a balcony so you can people-watch the square down below.
Exposed stone walls give way to raised sinks and shower/bath tub combinations. Because the hotel is eco-friendly, you’ll notice that the Molton Brown bath products all come in ceramic containers to avoid adding more plastic waste to the world.
The moment you enter the hotel, you’ll be faced with the 12th Century stairs and atrium from the original building. To one side is a lush library with red area rugs, bookshelves, and a communal table. To the back are comfy couches and the hotel’s restaurant and bar that buttresses the square. Chocolate chip cookies, water, and cava are always on hand for guests.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Because of the hotel’s unique location, you won’t be able to get a taxi to the front door. You can either arrange an airport shuttle with the hotel to help out, or have the taxi drop you off at Plaça Jaume nearby and walk from there.
There’s no spa, but in-room massages are available.
A Restaurant (that’s the name) can be found in the back of the hotel with large windows onto Plaça Neri. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the casual spot is known for its gourmet tapas and Catalan and Mediterranean cuisine. The healthy breakfast options abound with juices, eggs, fruit, smoked salmon, and more. On warm days (a lot of the time), the hotel opens the doors to the Plaça where they set up tables for meal service.
Open until 1am, the Lounge Bar is in the same area as the restaurant and offers fine wines and mixed drinks. On the rooftop is Roba Estesa, a foliage-filled deck with hanging lights, swinging hammocks, and purple chairs. Open in the summer, it’s an ideal spot for late day drinks.
Because the hotel is in the heart of the Gothic Quarter, it’s both a great location and also a bit on the tricky side. It’s nearly impossible for cars to pull up right at the hotel, so you’ll need to walk to the nearest square if you want to catch a taxi. From a walking standpoint, it’s a great neighborhood to get lost in with winding alleys, ancient sites, and cute boutique shops. The nearest metro is only about 5-minutes away.
If you want to experience a wide-range of Catalan options, head over to Santa Caterina Market (4-minute walk) where dozens of food stalls and a few restaurants are great for sampling. Going the opposite direction, you’ll stumble on Las Ramblas and find La Boqueria (7-minute walk) arguably the best open market in the world with more than 200 food stalls and restaurants.
For a unique experience, hit up Cabaret (4-minute walk) inside The Barcelona Edition. Here you’ll find an avant-garde dance show that later turns into a hopping night club. For something sexy without the theatrics, check out Sky Bar (4-minute walk) atop Hotel Grand Central with a stunning infinity pool and classic cocktails.
WHY WE LIKE IT
This small hotel is tucked away in the Gothic Quarter and carved out of a 12th Century Medieval building. With that history comes exposed stone walls, meticulously careful renovations, and a sense of what Barcelona was like hundreds of years ago. Beyond the unique location, the hotel is at the forefront of personalized service (the staff does their research on you to figure out little surprises along the way), and always willing and able to make the most of your time in the city. If there are any downsides, there’s no pool, gym, or spa and it’s a little tricky to get to the front door, but those things aside, this unique property is a one-of-a-kind find that will help you feel completely removed from your day to day life.