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Spain Hotels

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The 5 Rooms
72 Carrer Pau Claris
Barcelona
Spain 0810
Tel: 34 93 342 7880
info@the5rooms.com
www.the5rooms.com

The 5 Rooms is a very personal project from Jessica Fritz, a vibrant tastemaker who has opened the doors of her updated neoclassical apartment and expanded to the floor above. The hotel is adorned with chic antiques, eclectic art, eye-catching design pieces, and modern comforts. There is a reception area and lounge (filled with tomes on local art and culture), plus some small kitchen facilities. The guest rooms and suites—soundproofed against the busy streets below, where the 19th-century Eixample meets the Barri Gòtic—have high beds swathed in natural textiles, flat-screen TVs, spacious bathrooms, and an overall decor that exudes light and Zen-like calm. Note that the name is deceiving: There are actually 12 rooms available, plus a further two apartments in another building a few doors down the street.—Suzanne Wales

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
ABaC Restaurant & Hotel
1 Avenida Tibidabo
Barcelona
Spain 08022
Tel: 34 933 196 600
www.abacbarcelona.com

The chic and intimate AbaC sits on the Tibidabo hill at the north end of the city, on a street lined with fantastic (and fantastical) modernist mansions. The welcome is discreet but warm, and includes a tour that culminates in the small but attractive spa. In the 15 airy guest rooms, white dominates while daubs of dusty color and at least one but sometimes two plasma-screen TVs add interest. Divided bathrooms aren't huge, but they're well-planned, and come with his-and-her Hermès toiletries. And as you move about the room, the high-tech lighting responds to your location. That said, you may never want to leave the sexy banquette-style sofas along the picture windows in some of the larger rooms. Never, that is, except to dine in the restaurant, which is overseen by chef Xavier Pellicer, who moved his avant-garde two-Michelin-star restaurant to this uptown location last year. Breakfast, an indulgent three-course affair, is worth getting up for.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Abba Lóndres y de Inglaterra Hotel
2 Calle Zubieta
San Sebastián
Spain
Tel: 34 943 440 770
reservas@hlondres.com
www.abbalondreshotel.com

Set right on La Concha Beach, this 148-room hotel recalls the San Sebastián of the Belle Époque era, when Spanish royalty made the city its summer playground. In operation since the late 19th century, it still retains an air of grandeur—though its rooms are a little dowdy (the carpeting and wallpaper are faded and prehistoric-looking, and the ridiculously large hair dryers definitely need to go). Still, they're spacious and comfortable, and for the price, you won't find a better location; just be sure to book one of the 78 ocean-view rooms or suites. The boardwalk, and the hotel's alfresco beachfront bar and restaurant, are just outside the back door, and it's only a five-minute walk to the pintxos bars of the Casco Viejo or the high-end stores in the city center.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
AC Miramar
3 Plaça Carlos Ibáñez
Barcelona
Spain 08038
Tel: 34 93 281 1600
acmiramar@ac-hotels.com
www.hotelacmiramar.com

For years the city has been debating what to do with this small palace on the eastern face of Montjuïc. Built for the 1929 World Expo, it had been empty since 1983 despite its stunning location overlooking Barcelona's waterfront. After an extensive renovation by the designer Óscar Tusquets Blanca—who took the bold step of adding a modern structure around the older building—the luxurious Miramar finally opened its doors in 2006. The 75 bedrooms are arranged over six floors around a covered patio, dominated by a mammoth chandelier inspired by Gaudí. The spacious rooms have traditional mahogany furnishings, tiled floors (there's underfloor heating for the cooler months), and generous terraces. Wispy gray curtains separate the extra-deep bathtub from the bedroom. Request Superior Vista or Deluxe Vista rooms for fantastic views over Barcelona's port. The Miramar has outdoor and indoor pools and a day spa area, as well as the excellent La Forestier restaurant (try the fish of the day cooked with garlic, rice, shrimp, calamari, and spicy peppers).

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
AC Palacio del Retiro
Calle Alfonso XII 14
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 915 237 460
Fax: 915 237 461
pretiro@ac-hotels.com
www.ac-hotels.com

The classy AC chain added this 50-room early-20th-century palace at the end of 2004, slightly competing with its own Santo Mauro—though this one's got the location. Opposite the Parque del Retiro, the hotel is a short walk from all the renovated art museums and is quite plush, without a hint of history-porn (despite the marble pillars, plaster moldings, and mahogany library); it sidesteps self-conscious "Look at me" design, too. It's understated, coolly modern, and deluxe, with all the Wi-Fi and plasma, robes, spa (a very good one), and service a picky guest could ask for. The Índice restaurant has a rising star chef, David Herranz, at the helm.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
AC Palacio de Santa Paula
31 Gran Vía de Colón
Granada
Spain 18001
Tel: 34 958 805 740
psantapaula@ac-hotels.com
www.ac-hotels.com

High-design values have been applied to the restoration of this Renaissance convent built around a large cloister with two stories of arcades, located on the city's main drag. Modern minimalist furnishings are set against ancient brick arches and plaster walls painted in deep, warm colors like burnt orange. The 75 rooms are split between the restored convent and the main building. The Restaurant El Claustro, in the former convent library, serves a breakfast buffet, lunch, and dinner. Dishes are traditional Spanish, such as baked hake with mushrooms, green beans and potato puree or trevelez ham and beans. In a refreshing change from the annoying nickel-and-diming you find at most hotels these days, the minibars in the AC Palacio's rooms are entirely free of charge, as is the coffee shop downstairs.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
AC Santo Mauro
36 Calle Zurbano
Madrid
Spain 28010
Tel: 34 91 319 6900
santo-mauro@ac-hotels.com
www.hotelacsantomauro.com

First appearances can be deceiving—51-room Santo Mauro is housed in a former Belle Époque palacete that suggests a conservative interior. But a renovation in 2000 introduced minimal furnishings; a color palette of black, white, and chocolate; and chill-out music in the common areas. Of special note are rooms 40, 41, and 42, which are situated on the ground floor and open onto a lush garden with full-grown palm trees and bubbling fountains. The garden serves as a bar by day, and at night in the summer months, guests can enjoy a candlelit dinner there. Meals are also served in the original library, which, fiber-optic chandeliers aside, retains much of its old-world charm. While the hotel is tucked away on a side street in Chamberi, one of the city's most elegant neighborhoods, it's within walking distance of Paseo de la Castellana and the Serrano shopping district.

Closed August.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Ad Hoc Monumental
4 Calle Boix
Valencia
Spain 46003
Tel: 34 96 391 9140
Fax: 34 96 391 3667
www.adhochoteles.com

Easily the best-value hotel in Valencia's historic center, this gem occupies an 1881 townhouse not far from the Jardínes del Turia. The property's owner, Luis Garcia Alarcon, is an architect, and he's put his mark on the decor. Many of the 28 rooms are simply gorgeous, with exposed brick walls, vaulted ceilings, subdued antiques, tapestry-covered headboards, and elaborately crafted quilts. Top-floor rooms have terraces—although the traffic on nearby Calle Pintor Lopez, part of the ring road that circles the historic center, is a constant background presence. The hotel now has a country cousin, the more luxurious Ad Hoc Parque, in front of the famed Escorpion golf course.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Adler Hotel
33 Calle Velazquez
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 34 91 426 3220
reservas@hoteladler.es
www.adlermadrid.com

Set in a redone 19th-century building near the Plaza de Colón, in the trendy Salamanca district. The hotel's lobby, bar, and other public spaces have black and white checkered floors and light furniture and exude the airy charm of an old seaside resort updated for the 21st century. Rooms, designed by P. Ortega in calming beiges, browns, and warm oranges, have mood-stabilizing effects that rival lithium. Unfortunately, the pompous, overdressed restaurant falls short of the design standards of the rest of the Adler. But you're in Madrid—why would you dine in your hotel, anyway?

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Aguas de Ibiza Spa and Resort
9 Calle Salvador Camacho
Santa Eulalia del Río , Ibiza
Spain
Tel: 34 971 319 991
info@aguasdeibiza.com
www.aguasdeibiza.com/eng/

Recently taken over by the Hospes hotel chain, this 114-room resort oozes boutique chic, thanks to the vision of Barcelona-based design duo Kim Castells and Jordi Cuenca. Located northeast of Santa Eulalia del Río, it's a little difficult to find: As you leave town, follow the sign to Es Canar. The lobby's look—crushed-velvet sofas and glittering pewter-colored armchairs set against acres of glass and alabaster—extends throughout the rest of this designer pleasure palace. The same materials appear in the rooms, which are spacious and outfitted in cream tones, with huge windows, sundecks, and pretty, glittery mosaic bathrooms. The suite bathrooms have round tubs and are surrounded on all sides by floor-to-ceiling windows, giving wonderful sea views. Gourmet Ibicenco restaurant La Sal has Rococo-inspired tables and chairs, while in the Alabastro lounge, gray leather booths surround a retro circular bar. The relatively small garden terraces and half-moon pool are less exciting. The place to be is on the rooftop, cocktail in hand, enjoying the (child-free) plunge pool and spectacular views of Formentera.—Tara Stevens

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Aimia
1 Santa Maria del Cami
Port de Sóller , Mallorca
Spain 07108
Tel: 34 971 631 200
info@aimiahotel.com
www.aimiahotel.com

The first chic modern hotel in Port de Sóller, a beachside property next to the pretty, parochial Mallorcan town of Sóller, opened in June 2004. The somewhat sleepy burg hasn't been especially on the map, but this development may be a sign that this is about to change. Though the building is blocky to look at from the outside, the personal touch of the Alcover family brings a good deal of charm to this lovable little contemporary place. The 43 rooms have dark-stained wood and white built-in furniture, clean-lined tan and brown chairs and couches, individual climate control, phones, minibars, Internet, TV, bathrobes, and, in all but the standard rooms, balconies. There's a spa with St. Barth products, various hydrotherapies, steam, and massage, and a pool with a deck and Wi-Fi. The Airecel restaurant is the town's new hot spot. Viva la north coast. It also has a couple of attractive package deals, such as golfing and wellness weekends.

Closed Mid-November through January.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Atzaró
Carretera Sant Joan, Km 15
Santa Eulalia del Río , Ibiza
Spain 07840
Tel: 34 971 338 838
agroturismo@atzaro.com
www.atzaro.com

This beautiful rural hotel, opened in 2004, is a restored 100-year-old farmhouse in a long, wide valley surrounded by rolling hills, fields of clover, and orange trees. The 10 rooms and 14 suites blend Ibicenco (meaning 'of Ibiza'), Arabic, and Asian styles: Some have white walls with wooden beams; others, polished tadelakt plasterwork from Morocco; and there are a number of teak Buddhas here and there, too. The suites have vast Balinese beds piled high with white linens and cushions, and Moroccan-style lounges built around real fireplaces. The spacious bathrooms have tadelakt walls, double sinks, showers, and in some cases, skylights that allow you to lie back in the tub and look up at the stars. All rooms have cable TV, iPod docks, and air conditioning. The spa combines Eastern and Western products and techniques and includes a sauna, hammam, and a 140-foot swimming pool. The combination of decor and luxuries creates a stylish and comfortable base 25 minutes from the towns of Santa Eulalia del Río and San Juan Bautista. Atzaró's big draw, however, is its gorgeous grounds: 25 acres planted with 4,000 orange trees and beautiful scented gardens; this is the place to find some inner—and outer—peace at the very heart of the island.—Tara Stevens

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Barceló Raval
17–21 Rambla del Raval
Barcelona
Spain 08001
Tel: 34 93 320 1490
raval@barcelo.com
www.barcelo-raval.com

Barcelona's Raval district—a central neighborhood just off Las Ramblas—has seen the most aggressive regeneration in the city over the past decade. It used to have underground appeal; now it has wide, pretty plazas and boulevards. Luckily, it hasn't lost its artsy sensibilities, which shows in the Barceló Raval, a striking elliptical building encased in black wire mesh that opened in 2008. On the ground floor, local interior designer Jordi Galí has paired furniture in pinks and reds with madcap lamps, flocked wallpapers, and a curved dividing wall covered in tiny black and silver Bisazza tiles—somehow it all works. The decor has been turned down a notch in the 186 rooms (around 269 square feet in size), which are white with a splash of either lime green or hot pink. Rooms also include a suspended flat-screen TV, iPod dock, and mini Nespresso maker, plus a lighting control panel next to the plump and generous bed. And because the Barceló is housed in a ten-story tower, incredible city views from the giant curved windows come as standard. Hopefully you're already intimate with your roommate, because the shiny, modular bathrooms are open-plan. The B-Lounge downstairs is a hip hangout for locals and visitors alike, while the rooftop terrace has 360-degree vistas and a mini plunge pool—the hotel's free Wi-Fi works up there, too. Come here if you're looking for an edgier neighborhood in Barcelona (think NYC's Meatpacking District before it became totally gentrified).

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Biniarroca
57 Cami Vell
San Luis , Menorca
Spain 07710
Tel: 34 971 150 059
Tel: 34 619 460 942 (mobile)
hotel@biniarroca.com
www.biniarroca.com

Located in the heart of Menorca's "Golden Triangle" (one of the island's most exclusive areas), Biniarroca is the creation of two British women (one an artist, the other a former fashion designer) and is the very antithesis of stark minimalism. The mood at this 18-room hotel reflects the owners' heritage, with chintzy lounge areas, pretty handmade quilts on the beds, and tea in the afternoons. The best rooms are the new garden suites that have private terraces, but if you are located in the main house, the gardens scented by tea roses and honeysuckle provide a labyrinth of hidden nooks and crannies to get some peace and quiet. Two Roman-style swimming pools guarded by marble maidens and inlaid with jade-green tiles ensure you're never crowded. A plus is the excellent restaurant, serving top-notch local ingredients, including figs, artichokes, Mahon cheese, and sobresada (Spanish-style soft 'salami').

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Bonic Guesthouse
9 Carrer Josep Anselm Clavé
Barcelona
Spain 08002
Tel: 34 626 053 434
reservations@bonic-barcelona.com
www.bonic-barcelona.com

A little charmer brimming with potted palms, colorful tiled floors, and Moroccan textiles, the eight-room Bonic is the sort of B&B you would expect to see in the south of Spain. Except here it is, on the third floor (with elevator) of an 18th-century mansion just off La Rambla. The Portuguese owner, Fernando de Barros Ferreira, is a personable and energetic host who converted the apartment to a guesthouse as a labor of love. The guest rooms are all brightly painted in various bold colors, and there are three bathrooms (shared between guests), so visiting the Bonic feels more like staying in a private home. This is particularly true in the mornings, when guests gather in the sunny gallery for a breakfast of fruit and local charcuterie while Fernando regales all with his insider knowledge of the city.—Suzanne Wales

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Cap Rocat
Ctra. d'Enderrocat S/N
Cala Blava , Mallorca
Spain 07609
Tel: 34 971 74 78 78
info@caprocat.com
caprocat.com/new

Complete with a drawbridge and crenellations, Cap Rocat occupies a former military fortress on a spectacular cliffside site on the Bay of Palma, a 20-minute drive from Mallorca's capital. Palm trees and gardens soften the imposing structure, and the 24 barrel-vaulted rooms and suites, once used to house munitions, are impeccably designed. A restrained color palette complements the elegant curves and furnishings: teak shutters, sofas upholstered in linen, exposed stone, vintage photographs of the island, and bathrooms with freestanding tubs. Each suite has its own patio, to which breakfast (ham, cheeses, pan con tomate, coffee, and orange juice) is delivered in a hamper; a pagoda with a view of the Mediterranean (and perhaps also of the next-door neighbors); and another terrace. Golf carts help guests navigate the grounds, which include clay tennis courts, a private beach, and a saltwater infinity pool that blends into the ocean. Evenings are best spent with an aperitif on the main terrace followed by a candlelit dinner at the Sea Club, whose authentic, organic Mallorcan fare is delicious, particularly the ox loin steak. The service, however, can be a little distracted.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Carmen del Cobertizo
6 Calle Cobertizo de Santa Inés
Granada
Spain 18010
Tel: 34 958 227 652
info@carmendelcobertizo.es
www.carmendelcobertizo.es

Perfectly positioned just a few steps from the Albaicín's main riverside thoroughfare, this small hotel was built as a family home by owner Lorena Padilla Torres's Arab ancestors in the 16th century. It was restored ten years ago but retains its original charm, with heirloom furniture and a few family photos thrown in for good measure. The six individual, cozy bedrooms—some of them a bit heavy on the chintz—have traditional tiled bathrooms. Our favorite is the Alhambra suite, which is large, light-filled, and done up in pale tones. It also has original wooden shutters that perfectly frame the lovely view of Nasrid Palace (if you can't get the room, at least you can get the same outlook from the hotel terrace). This place is all old-style elegance; grab a book from the well-stocked library and settle into one of the comfy sofas in the plant-filled patio, or have a cup of tea in the garden, where there's also a plunge pool (unusual in these parts). It's probably not the place for you if you can't survive without a TV in your room, but you'll be hard pressed to find anything equal to the warm welcome and friendly staff at double the price.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Casa Camper
11 Carrer d'Elisabets
Barcelona
Spain 08001
Tel: 34 93 342 6280
barcelona@casacamper.com
www.casacamper.com

The latest brand extension from the ever-growing Mallorcan cobbler, Casa Camper is as idiosyncratic as the company's offbeat shoes. Designed under the exacting eye of Catalan designer Fernando Amat (of Vinçon, the high-end design store), this is a hotel that demands you pay no tips, instructs you to use the stairs in lieu of the elevator, and offers a free, 24-hour health-conscious buffet from its podlike kitchen. The 25 rooms are minimalist wombs with red walls, dark floors, and Shaker-inspired furniture. There's no view, but there is a nifty "vertical garden," which is a wall lined with 117 potted plants. If you book a standard room, the door opposite your bedroom leads to a personal lounge with a balcony, sofa bed, wide-screen plasma TV, and Brazilian hammock. In Camper Suites, the living area and bedroom are integrated. Should you stay here? Look at your shoes and you'll have the answer.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Casa del Capitel Nazari
6 Cuesta Aceituneros
Granada
Spain 18010
Tel: 34 958 215 260
info@hotelcasacapitel.com
www.hotelcasacapitel.com

This hotel is a fine restoration of a Morisco-era house (Morisco was the name given to Muslims who stayed on after the conquest). It's like having your own Renaissance home—for under $150 a night—in the chic location of Albaicín, close to the Plaza Nueva and a five-minute walk from the cathedral and Capilla Real. The 17 feminine rooms—arranged off the open hallways of a three-tiered courtyard—have stone-tiled floors and dark wood-beamed ceilings, rose or yellow walls, iron bedsteads, and cool white linen.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Casa de Madrid
2 Arrieta, second floor
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 34 91 559 5791
infomadrid@casademadrid.com
www.casademadrid.com

As an aristocrat, art curator, and interior designer, Doña Marta Medina is perfect for the role of hostess of one of the most gorgeous small hotels in town. Her seven-room place—you could call it a B&B, except that conjures entirely the wrong image—is on the second floor of an 18th-century mansion opposite the Royal Opera House. Medina bought it in 2000 and spent three years meticulously renovating, using family antiques and an apparently effortless sense of style. The result is neither minimal nor overdesigned, and instead feels like an exquisite private home. It's not for everyone; those with a knee-jerk disdain for frills and lace, for instance. Services are on a need-to-have basis, but you quickly get the impression that your desires will not go unmet. Breakfast is included, as is the help-yourself bar in the parlor decorated with beautiful period murals.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Casa Fuster
132 Passeig de Gràcia
Barcelona
Spain 08008
Tel: 34 93 255 3000
info@hotelcasafuster.com
www.hotelcasafuster.com

Like the Taj Mahal, the Casa Fuster was a labor of love. In 1908, Mallorcan aristocrat Mariano Fuster commissioned architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner to transform a chocolate factory into the most "spectacular house in the city" for his beautiful wife, Consuelo Fabra. Nearly a century later, Catalan architects GCA turned the residence into a sweet state-of-the-art luxury hotel. The Café Vienés—a hot spot for city intellectuals in the 1940s-has been re-created with plush velvet, silk cushions, and snaking sofas in warm, modern colors (coffee, spice, and Bordeaux). The 96 Bedrooms are similarly sumptuous, decorated with more silk and lavender and sage accents. But it's the four tower suites that get top marks for ingenuity. With their oval shape, silver undulating ceilings floodlit by Fortuny lamps, mini-cinemas, king-size beds, saunas, and extra-large sacks of Loewe toiletries, they're every bit as spectacular as Fuster's wife could have wished for.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Casa Morisca Hotel
9 Cuesta de la Victoria
Granada
Spain 18010
Tel: 34 958 221 100
info@hotelcasamorisca.com
www.hotelcasamorisca.com

Many of the Albaicín's traditional dwellings are being turned into boutique hotels, but Casa Morisca—a late-15th-century house with a lovely courtyard at the foot of the Alhambra hill—wins hands down for location alone. Most rooms overlook the Alhambra and the Generalife gardens, which are particularly wondrous at night. Some of the 14 rooms have their original Moorish wooden ceilings, cut with intricate designs, as well as terrazzo floors and Moroccan cabinets or armoires. In case you were wondering, the hotel's name is linked to Morisco, the name given to Muslims who stayed on after the Catholic Monarchs conquered Granada.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Castillo Hotel Son Vida
C/ Raixa 2
Urbanización Son Vida
Palma de Mallorca , Mallorca
Spain
Tel: 34 971 493 493
hotel-sonvida.com

When this hotel overlooking Palma de Mallorca—originally a private palace dating to the thirteenth century—first opened in 1961, it was an instant jet-set compass point. Over the following 20 years, it became a favorite of the blazer-wearing British gentry but gradually followed its clientele into a genteel senescence. Fast-forward to a recent $27 million top-to-bottom renovation that has produced lovely landscaping and 164 rooms done finca style in shades of caramel, curry, and butter with dark-stained furniture. The hotel has two gorgeous pools and two excellent restaurants, along with one of Spain's best golf courses. One gripe: Charging $39 for a day's Internet access is outrageous.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Chic & Basic
3 Carrer Princesa
Barcelona
Spain 08003
Tel: 34 93 295 4652
www.chicandbasic.com

The name Chic & Basic may suggest a rudimentary hostel with a bit of designer frippery thrown in, but there's a lot more to this good-value hotel in the trendy Born district. The renovated 18th-century mansion retains much of its original grandeur, particularly in the common areas—witness the sweeping creamy-marble staircase. While the 43 all-white rooms—each with its entrance swathed in curtains of crystal beads—are admittedly pretty small (around 183 square feet), the clever design makes a lot out of a little: The showers are housed in space age–style clear-acrylic cylinders, and there are metal clothes racks rather than wardrobes. Your brown-paper-bag "welcome pack" contains bath gel, lollipops, and a survival guide to the hotel, explaining how to work the lighting and TV. We recommend the rear rooms, which overlook a pretty interior patio—ask for one of the two rooms with a private terrace. At these prices, you shouldn't expect room service, but Chic & Basic has a stylish little lounge where you can help yourself to tea and coffee.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Chill Art Hotel Jardín Botanico
6 Calle Doctor Peset Cervera
Valencia
Spain 46008
Tel: 34 96 315 4012
Fax: 34 96 315 3408
www.hoteljardinbotanico.com

Efficient, modern, and stylish, this 16-room refuge stands, as the name hints, just around the corner from the city's botanical gardens. Popular with a young crowd, it's also a good bet for businessmen on a budget (there's a small meeting room with fax and photocopy machines). Bedrooms are bright and breezy, with Scandinavian-style blond wood and jazzy decorative details, and though some of the bathrooms are on the small side, all have spa tubs. Other perks include Wi-Fi and a generous breakfast buffet. It's great value for the money—so book well in advance to snag a room during the summer months and trade fairs.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Ciutat de Barcelona
35 Carrer de la Princesa
Barcelona
Spain 08003
Tel: 34 93 269 7474
princesa@ciutathotels.com
www.ciutathotels.com

Opened in 2006, this chic six-story hotel has 78 petite rooms with zebra-striped lampshades, Mondrian-esque murals behind the beds, and flat-screen TVs. It's also surprisingly good value for money, but take a closer look and you'll notice where they've made savings: The cups in the bathrooms are paper not glass, there's a low-power hair dryer, and you'll find no minibar (although there are free-access fridges stocked with water). There are some great perks, though, not least of which is its location on the edge of the chic El Born district, and a rooftop sundeck and pool overlooking the medieval quarter. Skip breakfast (you'll get much better food in one of the neighborhood cafés), but make a point of going along to a live jazz session (Thursdays and Fridays only) in Colors, the hotel restaurant.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Corral del Rey
12 Corral del Rey
Seville
Spain 41004
Tel: 34 954 227 116
info@corraldelrey.com
www.corraldelrey.com

Tucked away on a side street in Barrio Santa Cruz, Corral del Rey is an elegant small hotel run by two youthful but whip-smart brothers from an aristocratic Anglo-Spanish family. These guys have shown extraordinary attention to detail in restoring their 17th-century palace—the six bedrooms have Norwegian limed-oak floors, made-to-measure marble bathrooms with huge shower cubicles (only rooms 2 and 5 have bathtubs too), eclectic furniture, and original wooden doors and windows. Hook up your iPod to the room's sound system, nibble on a complimentary organic chocolate-covered fig, settle into the soft Egyptian cotton pillows. Book one of the second-floor rooms (4, 5, and 6), which feel more spacious due to their higher, vaulted ceilings. There's also a tiled plunge pool up there that's perfect for an after-dinner dip. An annex across the street, Corral 7, opened in September 2011 with seven additional rooms and a penthouse suite with Giralda views. Although the hotel has no restaurant, a private dining space is available for groups.—Fiona Flores Watson

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
elBullihotel Hacienda Benazuza
Calle Virgen de la Nieves
Sanlúcar la Mayor
Seville
Spain 41800
Tel: 34 955 703 344
hbenazuza@elbullihotel.com
www.elbullihotel.com

While Catalonian super-chef Ferran Adrià's Alqueria restaurant is reason enough for visiting this beautiful tenth-century hacienda 12 miles from Seville, the 44-room hotel is also a delight. Set in a leafy haven of bougainvillea and jasmine, mixed with orange, lemon, and olive trees, the Benazuza's Arabic origins can be seen in the sunken gardens, shilaba tunics for guests' use, and the poolside haima (an open, curtained tent with daybeds). The rooms and suites are grand but not stuffy, and are tastefully dressed with antique furniture. Some have exquisitely painted domed ceilings, and the best have a garden view or private terrace. The Alqueria restaurant lives up to expectations, with creations such as Parmesan ice cream, or squid in an orange and truffle sauce. If you want to make the most of your stay, try the 24-course blowout tasting menu—and be sure to cancel breakfast.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
El Paraiso Super Club
Playa Mitjorn , Formentera
Spain 07810
Tel: 34 666 559 027

Of all the islands, Formentera has the fewest options in terms of accommodation, but on the upside, it has the best in terms of beaches and unspoiled terrain. Aside from a handful of blocky resort-style hotels and the odd small hostel, there isn't a great deal to choose from. There is, however, El Paraiso Super Club (formerly Las Banderas)—an eclectic collection of beach bungalows on the beautiful Platja Mitjorn, which serve as three bedrooms for guests. It's pretty basic, with bohemian, 1960s-style decor and Morroccan lanterns, as well as outsize wicker furniture. For seasoned travelers who don't need all the frills, it has a lovely, unencumbered sense of style, but if you're after plush bathrooms and designer furnishings, it may seem a little rustic. A designer "beach hut" in Bali it is not. At night it has a magical vibe; by day it's pure chilled-out chic. The clientele: style-savvy and sun-kissed, with the odd celebrity looking to get away from the paparazzi glare.

Closed November to March.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
EME Catedral
27 Alemanes
Seville
Spain 41004
Tel: 34 954 560 000
booking@emehotel.com
www.emehotel.com

Seville's five-star design palace, the EME Catedral, has all the trappings of an avant-garde playground—from an oriental-themed spa and Japanese restaurant to a rooftop pool and juice bar. Converted from 14 houses, this 60-room hotel is within kissing distance of the Giralda and makes the most of it with spacious private terraces (some with hot tubs). Opt for a superior room for cathedral views (the sacrifice is less space), and avoid those overlooking the bar-lined street, which can be noisy at night. The roughly hewn, minimalist decor includes textured walls and simple wooden four-poster beds. Some have the original wooden ceiling beams. The most striking touch is the celosia lattice screen in the central patio, based on Arabic geometric designs and echoed throughout the hotel. in the central patio, based on Arabic geometric designs and echoed throughout the hotel. Santo Restaurante by Martin Berasategui—presided over by Spain's most Michelin-starred chef—serves inventive Cantabrian-Andalusian cuisine (such as caramelized mille-feuille of foie, eels, and apple with creamed potato). There's a Japanese restaurant and tapas bar as well, along with a rooftop terrace that's the hippest hangout in town.—Fiona Flores Watson

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Eurostars Madrid Tower Hotel
259 Paseo de la Castellana
Madrid
Spain 28046
Tel: 34 913 342 700
info@eurostarsmadridtower.com
www.eurostarsmadridtower.com

Opened in 2009 in a 775-foot-high tower shaped like a rounded triangle, the Eurostars hotel neighbors Sir Norman Foster's Lego-like Torre Caja Madrid and is all about the views. The 474-room property, which takes up 30 floors of the soaring building, is the capital's highest hotel. Located in the north of the city (on what was formerly Real Madrid's training ground but is now becoming a new financial district), Eurostars is just a five-minute taxi ride down La Castellana to the city center. The walnut furniture, leather-padded walls, and cool light fixtures in the contemporary guest rooms save the accommodations here from the charmless fate of many bland business hotels. Bathrooms are decked out in black marble and slate, with separate hydromassage showers and tubs. The small spa on the 29th floor includes the pool with the best views in town, and the 30th floor is another spot where you can take in the vista, at breakfast or come evening, at the innovative Basque/Asian restaurant (dishes include red mullet with wakame seaweed and sesame in dashi sauce). A ten-floor convention center is under construction on the northwest side of the hotel (to be completed in 2013), which will be good for business but bad for the outlook of any room below the 12th floor on that side. Opt for a city view—our favorite, anyway—and it won't be a problem.—Guy Fiorita

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
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Finca Can Marti
Agroturismo
San Juan , Ibiza
Spain 07810
Tel: 34 971 333 500
info@canmarti.com
www.canmarti.com

If you want proof that there's more to Ibiza than foam clubs and 24-hour DJ sessions, look no further than this impeccably sustainable permaculture (beyond organic, en route to biodynamic), socially conscious agroturisme in a lush valley in the rural northeast. The Swiss family Brantschen fell in love with the derelict building and started meticulous renovations in 1994, eventually opening part of their home to visitors in 1998. Now there are four studios and independent houses to let decked out in imaginative but decidedly rustic Indian, Mexican, or Arabic style. Book here if you're in real need of rest and relaxation; there are few distractions on this 27-acre farm, apart from a couple of donkeys and some chickens, ducks, and geese. There's no swimming pool, no AC, no hair-dryers, no freezer, no TV, and emphatically no hunting. Mysteriously, there is an ISDN connection in every room. Peter Brantschen gives seven percent of all profits to third-world causes.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Finca Cortesin
Costa del Sol
Spain
Tel: 34 952 93 78 84
www.fincacortesin.com

A few miles inland from the Mediterranean, this 67-room hotel on the Costa del Sol is the elegant centerpiece of an ambitious real-estate project that includes private villas and a top-rated golf course. Surrounded by impeccably landscaped grounds, the new Finca Cortesin took its cues from traditional Spanish farmhouses—low, whitewashed, terra-cotta-tile-roofed, and built around interior courtyards that often have a Moorish decor. Where past and present break stride is the hotel's scale: If fincas are cozy, the Finca Cortesin is a brilliantly spacious place with two restaurants, a superb spa with an indoor saltwater pool (there are two outdoor pools), a high-tech gym with Med views, a hammam, and a Finnish-style snow room. Guest rooms are made for lounging, with their high ceilings and rustic farm furniture mixed with sleek contemporary pieces upholstered in anthracite- and butternut-colored grass cloth. The service style may be a bit uptight, but overall this is a world-class destination resort.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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Giri Residence Hotel & Spa
3-5 Calle Principal
San Juan , Ibiza
Spain 07810
Tel: 34 971 333 345
thegiri.com

With just five suites on the edge of the whitewashed village of San Juan, in the island's tranquil northeast, the Giri affords guests the lavish Ibiza villa experience without the need for a second mortgage. Despite its Spanish pedigree (it occupies a 150-year-old finca), the hotel has a Balinese look. Grounds are dotted with palms and gazebos, while inside, texture is a major design feature: The Almendra suite, for example, has driftwood walls, an antique carved wood door in the lounge, and a bathroom with stone basins, slate tiles, and a pebble-floor shower. The villa vibe extends to meals—you decide where and when you wish to eat: Share the inlaid-mother-of-pearl table in the casual dining room with young European honeymooners and music-industry Americans; snag a table by the 50-foot pool; or find a nook in the garden. Food quality is a bit uneven, ranging from an excellent gazpacho to a prawn cocktail that's too heavy on the mayo. Despite the small number of guests, the staff can seem a little harassed. Still, the artsy decor, a concierge who can arrange everything from Pilates instruction to private flights, and the spa make this a great—and refreshingly affordable—choice for a restful stay far from the megaclub mayhem.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
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Grand Hotel Central
30 Via Laietana
Barcelona
Spain
Tel: (34) 93 295 79 00
Fax: (34) 93 268 12 15
info@grandhotelcentral.com
www.grandhotelcentral.com

With a relaxed atmosphere, this 147-room hotel in the heart of Barcelona—everything seems a ten-minute walk from the front door—is hip without the attitude. No sooner do you arrive at the converted 1920s office building than smiling staff fall all over themselves to take care of you. The library is stocked with periodicals, books, and a TV, and in good weather, a small rooftop terrace with a plunge pool affords stunning views over the recently renovated Santa Caterina market. Rooms are Zen on the Med, with light eucalyptus parquet floors, limed oak furniture, and taupe walls, and the complimentary minibar is a welcome touch.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
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Gran Hotel Domine Bilbao
61 Alameda de Mazarredo
Bilbao
Spain
Tel: 34 944 253 300
www.hoteles-silken.com/gran-hotel-domine-bilbao

This "outstanding hotel" with a glass exterior and wavy central atrium takes inspiration from the Guggenheim, the city's iconic architectural site just across the street. Spacious rooms have "very clever contemporary design," with bright-orange chairs, chocolate-brown duvets, and "great views of the museum." Staff "are pretty helpful"; black, white, and stainless steel dominate Le Café Metropol.

(145 rooms)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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Gran Hotel La Florida
83–93 Carretera Vallvidrera al Tibidabo
Barcelona
Spain 08035
Tel: 34 93 259 3000
reservations@hotellaflorida.com
www.hotellaflorida.com

For some, it's too far removed from Barcelona's bustle. For others, the setting is the draw—high atop a lush mountain 15 minutes outside the city center. Known as a pleasure palace for visiting kings and celebrities during the 1920s, the hotel fell into decline until it reopened in April 2003. Today this classic property has been yanked into the 21st century, filled with contemporary art by the likes of Ben Jakober and Yannick Vu, whose 88-foot fiber-optic Homage to Gaudí graces the inner courtyard. The 52 rooms are done in an Art Nouveau style and some have huge arched windows—none will disappoint, but the 22 suites are even better. The Sky Terrace Suite bears the imprint of artist Rebecca Horn (the creator of Barceloneta beach's rusty cubes) and has a large patio with a Jacuzzi. The Japanese suite has a Zen garden and mountain views. But it's the 121-foot L-shaped indoor-outdoor infinity pool—made of stainless steel—that makes it perfectly clear this is no Old World hostelry anymore.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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Gran Hotel Son Net
Calle Castillo de Sonnet s/n
Puigpunyent , Mallorca
Spain 07194
Tel: 34 971 147 000
info@sonnet.es
www.sonnet.es

Set on a hilltop in Mallorca's Tramuntana Mountains, overlooking the quaint town of Puigpunyent, Son Net was the first luxury country-house hotel on the island—and is still one of the finest. Once the private residence of American hotelier David Stein, the 17th-century manor was converted into a hotel in 1998. The 31 rooms and suites are built around an interior courtyard that retains its original well, and the interiors are full of Mallorcan charm, with period furniture and local fabrics. Some of Stein's modern art also graces the walls, including original works by David Hockney, Andy Warhol, and Marc Chagall. Be aware that the rooms vary greatly in size: The standard double is a bit tight and feels over-furnished, while the Presidential Suite is over 1,600 square feet, with two queen-size four-poster beds and a bathroom large enough to include its own sitting area, complete with sofa. In 2008, four garden suites and a shared pool were added in a secluded part of the grounds. Each suite has a private terrace with whirlpool tub. Chef Christian Rullan adds a modern touch to the Mallorcan dishes served in the Oleum restaurant, once an ancient olive-press room. Try the lamb from the Tramuntana served with rosemary and creamy Mahón cheese. Outside, there's a 100-foot infinity pool surrounded by private cabanas—it's also where the poolside Gazebo restaurant serves simple grilled meats, fish, and salads in the summer months.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
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Hesperia Bilbao
28 Campo de Volantín
Bilbao
Spain
Tel: 34 94 405 1100
hotel@hesperia-bilbao.com
www.hesperia-bilbao.com

Of the two upscale modern hotels in Bilbao, the Gran Hotel Domine is certainly showier—and it does have amazing views of the Guggenheim. In just about every other regard, though, the Hesperia is the better bet. The exterior, with its candy-colored windows, resembles a game board by day (and a Lite-Brite box by night), but inside, the whimsy gives way to elegance. Each of the 158 rooms and suites is furnished with minimalist pieces in brushed metal, dark wood, and velvety neutral-toned fabrics; most have dramatically lit bathrooms with smoked-glass panes and double above-counter basins. (Room 616, a spacious corner junior suite, costs just a little more than a double room and has lovely views of the museum and the river from its balcony.) Getting to the Guggenheim means just a five-minute walk west by way of the Zubizuri, a curvy pedestrian bridge designed by Santiago Calatrava. It's especially romantic to stroll across at night, when the reflections of streetlamps sparkle in the water.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hospes Madrid
3 Plaza de la Independencia
Madrid
Spain 280001
Tel: 34 914 322 911
hospes.madrid@fuenso.com
www.hospes.com/en/hotel-hospes-madrid/

With La Puerta de Alcalá (Madrid's Arc de Triomphe) on Plaza de la Independencia looming large in front of the 41-room hotel, the Retiro park just across the street, and the Golden Triangle of museums just down the block, Hospes's location is perfect. Inside, original 19th-century features such as ceiling moldings, window frames, and floors are combined with contemporary white and stainless-steel furnishings. Ask for a Deluxe Alcalá room or a suite, all of which have views of the plaza. Rooms below this category face the interior courtyard, which, despite its lion head fountains, is nowhere near as impressive (or light). Hospes hotels are known for their spas, and here the Bodyna Spa is divided over three floors with a small pool on one level and treatment rooms, a gym, and a hair salon on the others. The hotel's common areas include a rather dark bar in what was once the library—good for a quiet drink, bad if you're looking for a jumping scene—and a restaurant serving local cuisine in a cozy six-table room with wood-paneled walls and large windows opening out on the plaza. And, yes, those pockmarks you see on the Puerta de Alcalá really are bullet holes left from the Spanish Civil War.—Guy Fiorita

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hospes Palacio del Bailío
10–12 Ramirez de las Casas Deza
Cordoba
Spain 14001
Tel: 34 957 498 993
www.hospes.es

One of the most storied palaces in Córdoba has been converted into a dramatic 53-room retreat that has immediately become the best hotel in this Andalusian city. The palace, built between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, incorporates subterranean Roman ruins into its spa, and the spectacular outdoor pool occupies half of one of the Moorish-style gardens. The palace's stone walls are exposed in several rooms, although juxtaposed against the historic bones is a striking contemporary design of the hotel's public spaces—which include a reading lounge with Internet corner—and its elegant guest rooms, with their dark parquet floors, doors paneled with gray stained rough-hewn wooden planks, and beds made up with fluffy white duvets. In most rooms, the spacious baths are paneled in dark-gray marble and have separate tubs and showers; service here is expertly executed by a friendly young staff. Ultimately, the draw of the Palacio is its power to channel the dreamy atmosphere of Andalusia in such a quiet, cosseting corner of Córdoba.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hospes Palacio de los Patos
1 Solarillo de Gracia
Granada
Spain 18002
Tel: 34 958 53 57 90
palaciopatos@hospes.es
hospes.es

This winsome turn-of-the-century villa with a contemporary annex is for those seeking a departure from Alhambra aesthetics. The signature of the rooms in the boldly designed annex—more fun than the retro ones in the villa—is oversized marble sinks and tubs. The restaurant, Senzone, is the best table in town, its rack of suckling pig not to be missed. The center city location can be a little noisy, but after a long day's touring, it's a treat to take a dip in the indoor pool, steep in the sauna, or unwind in the gardens. What's really memorable at this 42-room newcomer is the fun, sincere staff.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hostal L'Antic Espai
660 Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes
Barcelona
Spain 08010
Tel: 34 93 304 1945
reservas@lanticespai.com
www.lanticespai.com

The Hostal L'Antic Espai was opened in 2006 by Cuban Abel Estévez and Brazilian Sergio Carvalho, antique lovers who have stuffed their one-story, ten-roomed guesthouse with the restored finds they've collected from Spain, France, Italy, and beyond. "We hate minimalism," Sergio says, and it shows. Every surface in the public rooms is covered with porcelain plates, delicate cups and saucers, and tasteful knickknacks. The high-ceilinged bedrooms have ornate mosaic tile floors, an eclectic assortment of period furniture, luxurious red velvet curtains, and shimmering gold bedspreads; their only concession to the 21st century is the flat-screen TV and CD player. After a full-on day of sightseeing, the evening cup of tea—served from an antique teapot, of course—to welcome you "home" is one of the little touches that makes this place so special.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel 1898
109 La Rambla
Barcelona
Spain 08002
Tel: 34 93 552 9552
1898@nnhotels.es
www.nnhotels.com/eng/hotel1898

Opened in October 2005 in an old Philippine tobacco-company headquarters, the 169-room Hotel 1898 takes its name from the year the Philippines gained independence from Spain. This high-end hotel's old-fashioned approach to hospitality is an antidote to the overdesigned swarm of boutiques that have colonized the city in recent years; it attracts a fortysomething crowd that's in touch enough to want to be based in the center of town. Catalan designer Rosa Rosselló's vision is firmly rooted in the 18th century, and draws on the building's original carved wood and plasterwork and evocative black-and-white photos of tobacco plantations. Rooms and corridors are striking in black, red, and green candy stripes; the best are the suites, which have private terraces, plunge pools, grass lawns, and views of the Ramblas from the hotel's perch on the Plaça Catalunya end of the street. Expansive views are also to be had on the roof terrace; it's an ideal spot for a glass of cava (Catalan sparkling wine) at sunset. In the basement, the guests-only spa revives the jet-lagged in a faux-Roman bathhouse with arched ceilings over a turquoise pool. 

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Alhambra Palace
1 Plaza Arquitecto García de Paredes
Granada
Spain 18009
Tel: 34 958 221 468
reservas@h-alhambrapalace.es
www.h-alhambrapalace.es

First opened in 1910, this pink monolith of a faux-Moorish palace on Alhambra hill (the fortress is a mere five minutes away) is still a good luxury option—especially for connoisseurs of full-on Arabian kitsch. Think lots of tile work, battlements on the roof, a dome, and a mini-minaret and a terrace looking out over the city. The hotel's age—approaching a century now—doesn't show in the 115 rooms and 11 suites: Most are bright and airy, with rich colors saturating the walls, curtains, and bedspreads. Junior suites offer king beds and an upgrade on the amenities, but if you need to keep in budget, ask for one of the standards with a balcony. The restaurant serves upscale cuisine (duck in orange sauce and dried fruit stew, veal filled with foie-gras).

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Arts Barcelona
19–21 Carrer de la Marina
Barcelona
Spain 08005
Tel: 34 93 221 1000
www.ritzcarlton.com/hotels/barcelona

Located at water's edge, a 20-minute walk from the Ramblas, this hotel under the Ritz-Carlton umbrella has a lot to thank for its reputation: the best service in town, world-class restaurants, a Six Senses rooftop spa that's a shrine to pleasure with 43rd-floor views. Now, the hotel has renovated the 483 guest rooms (56 of them suites) in smart tones of rich chocolate and charcoal, adding an array of Bang & Olufsen gadgets. But the best feature is primarily a natural one: the Mediterranean light that floods in through the high-tech steel and glass facade. Our favorite rooms are the El Club Corner Suites on the 30th to 33rd floors, which at 700 square feet are nearly 50 percent larger than standard rooms and have access to a team of concierges and a lounge where champagne and canapés are served.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Atrio
1 Plaza de San Mateo
Caceres
Spain 10003
Tel: 34 927 242 928
info@restauranteatrio.com
restauranteatrio.com

The Hotel Atrio is that happiest of travel discoveries: a hotel far more gorgeous than it needs to be in a town far more enchanting than its anonymity would suggest. Cáceres is one of the hidden jewels of Spain: a preserved Renaissance enclave where the ocher buildings and evening fog combine to create an air of romance. Its historical purity helps explain why locals at first objected to the Atrio project—a modern hotel next to the fifteenth-century Church of San Mateo. They needn't have worried since the stone exterior blends beautifully with the surrounding buildings. Admittedly, the interior is dramatic, divided by vertical slats that cast light from the garden onto pristine walls hung with contemporary art. White paint, dark floors, and light-wood furnishings impart a Scandinavian feel to the rooms, but the full-size iMac, the ample bathrooms with bath salts and lotions made specially for the hotel, and the occasional Warhol sketch keep things from feeling overly minimalist. So too does Atrio's restaurant, the only one in the Extremadura region with two Michelin stars. Its serenely elegant tables are filled with locals happily savoring chef Toño Perez's rich, flavorful dishes.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
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Hotel Bagués
105 La Rambla
Barcelona
Spain 08002
Tel: 34 93 343 5000
bagues@derbyhotels.com
www.derbyhotels.com/Bagues-Hotel-Barcelona

A joint venture between the famous Bagués family of jewelers and a local hotel group created this 31-room boutique property on the site of the former Bagués flagship on La Rambla. Drawing on the brand's Modernista heritage (its craftsmen forged the floral, feminine style of Art Nouveau jewelry), the hotel is awash in jewel colors, gold leaf, and myriad textures yet retains a contemporary—if theatrical—air. What the guest rooms lack in size, they more than make up for in comfort, with plump beds swathed in damask, oversize headboards, and generous rain showers. The roof terrace, with its pint-size lap pool, is adorable and within touching distance of the 17th-century Bethlehem Church next door. The mezzanine floor accommodates a small museum of the work of Masriera, the ingenious jeweler famous for the shimmering enamel jewels of the Art Nouveau era.—Suzanne Wales

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Bauzá
79 Calle Goya
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 34 91 435 7545
info@hotelbauza.com
www.hotelbauza.com

The Bauzá is one of Virginia Figueras's two masterworks in Madrid; the other is the Hotel de las Letras. Located in hip Salamanca near the museums, the Bauzá innovates with airy citrus color schemes in its 170 rooms and suites, as well as in seven small, tasteful apartments decorated in light woods. The latter might be the best way to go, especially for families. The so-called "apart-hotel" concept is appearing in myriad places around the world, and for good reason. It's a great boon to be able to cook breakfast or entertain guests in your room, a privilege once reserved for visiting dignitaries or presidential-suitesters. Still, this concept is not about savings; it's about a different way to experience the city: Shop for jamón ibérico and torta del casar cheese in the market, and then throw a cocktail party for the Madrileños at "your place."

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Can Simoneta
Carretera Artà-Canyamel Km. 8
Finca Torre Canyamel
Capdepera , Mallorca
Spain
Tel: (34) 971 816 110
Fax: (34) 971 816 111
info@cansimoneta.com
cansimoneta.com

Perched on the edge of rutilant cliffs and surrounded by 600 acres of farmland and pine forest, this small seaside hotel consists of Can Nofre, an old stone farmhouse, and Can Simoneta, built in 1812 to shelter an ailing priest for whom sea baths had been prescribed. The verdant grounds have a large infinity pool, an open-air living room, and private nooks for reading or sunning. The 16 rooms—which overlook fragrant meadows, a forest, and the sea—are stone-floored and simple, with updated comforts such as windows with shutters and screens (a rarity in Europe) and Internet access. When you want a break from the glorious isolation, join the throngs on Platja de Canyamels, the pretty public beach at the end of the garden.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Cardenal
Paseo de Recaredo 24
Toledo
Spain
Tel: 925 224 900
Fax: 925 222 991
cardenal@hostaldelcardenal.com
www.hostaldelcardenal.com

Once the 18th-century summer residence of the Cardenal Lorenzana, Archbishop of Toledo, this converted hostel is built on top of the old city and set within shady gardens. Guests can ride an escalator into town. There are just 27 delightful, though modest, rooms with vaguely Moorish wood furnishings, and they fill up quickly, so book well ahead. The Cardenal also features a celebrated restaurant.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Carlton
2 Plaza de Federico Moyúa
Bilbao
Spain
Tel: 34 94 416 2200
carlton@aranzazu-hoteles.com
www.hotelcarlton.es

Bilbao's Beaux Arts grande dame sits right on the grand Plaza Moyúa. Ever since 1936, when it was the provisional seat of the regional government (complete with basement bunker to protect Basque leaders in times of civil unrest), the building has epitomized Old World luxury. It has been carefully maintained and kept in beautiful shape; you'll find no fraying around the edges here. Even basic double rooms (there are 135, along with seven suites) are spacious and elegant, with sumptuous chairs and sofas upholstered in silky striped fabrics. The service is everything you'd expect at such a sophisticated property, and includes 24-hour room service and an on-call doctor. If money is no object, stay in the sixth-floor Imperial Suite, an enormous space that includes two bedrooms, one large salon, two bathrooms (one with a Jacuzzi), a wet bar, a workout room with a private sauna, and a spectacular wraparound balcony.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Claude Marbella
5 San Francisco
Marbella
Spain 29601
Tel: 34 952 900 840
info@hotelclaudemarbella.com
www.hotelclaudemarbella.com

With only seven rooms in a handsome seventeenth-century house in the heart of the Casco Antiguo (Old Town), the intimate and friendly Hotel Claude is one of the glitzier resorts on Spain's Costa del Sol. Rooms decorated by Angell Gordon, one of Spain's top interior designers, are cozy and comfortable, with leather headboards, oak parquet floors, iPod docks, and flat-screen TVs. Baths in some guest rooms contain carved round stone sinks, and all are kitted out with Molton Brown toiletries. Public spaces impress with wrought iron railings, stacks of books and magazines in several languages, and plush sofas. Best of all, there's a quiet terrace built into the terra-cotta tile roof where you can sip an espresso from the complimentary tea and coffee station on the first floor or catch some rays while reading. The hotel's small restaurant has a contemporary Mediterranean menu, and weather permitting, the excellent breakfast is served alfresco.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel de las Letras H&R
Calle Gran Vía, 11
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 90 242 2482
www.hoteldelasletras.com

The talented designer Virginia Figueras was behind De Las Letras, located in the center of town on a typical curved-corner city block. Not overgimmicked, the 103 tricolor rooms have deep-rust walls, black chairs, and pure white bed linens, which suit the tastes of the hip young crowd who tend to stay here. Rooms on the upper floors are in the domes that crown the building, overlooked by a roof terrace. There's a spa and gym, plus a restaurant and bar, and comforts include a pillow menu. De Las Letras' popular sister, the Bauzá on Calle Goya, was also designed by Figueras.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Denit
24–26 Carrer Estruc
Barcelona
Spain 08002
Tel: 34 93 545 4000
info@denit.com
www.denit.com

Stylish and compact, the Hotel Denit is a smart low-cost option from the Majestic Group, whose other hotels, such as the Murmuri, tend to be in the luxury category. Interiors are in light woods with clean, white surfaces and textiles that exude a no-fuss Scandinavian sensibility. The 36 guest rooms are on the small side yet light and well conceived, with lots of storage space tucked behind screens, showers instead of tubs, and little work areas. (Room 501 is the only one with a small terrace.) If you need some breathing space, the lobby has free Wi-Fi and a long table and lounge area. The Denit's urban vibe reflects its location: a minute's walk from Plaça Catalunya (Barcelona's main transport hub), yet in a quiet street with little traffic.—Suzanne Wales

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Diagonal Barcelona
205 Avinguda Diagonal
Barcelona
Spain 08018
Tel: 34 93 489 5300
hotel.diagonalbcn@hoteles-silken.com
www.hoteldiagonalbarcelona.com

The Hotel Diagonal Barcelona sits at the center of Diagonal Mar, a district within a district that has been transformed from a humble working-class area to a more bustling business neighborhood. The hotel's playful black-and-white facade—like a mammoth 3-D chessboard—rises nine stories beside Jean Nouvel's Torre Agbar tower (request west-facing rooms for a great view of the tower). The stylish lobby has a retro look, with podlike chairs and copper-toned mosaic tiles (it's also the bar area and a good spot for a cocktail) that add a touch of '70s glamour; it's no surprise this place is a regular backdrop for fashion shoots. The 240 rooms are tamer, combining sleek wengelike furniture with an Asian sensibility. Huge black-and-white wall murals create serenity, while the glass-walled bathroom is separated from the bedroom by a simple sliding screen. Head up to the rooftop terrace and splashing pool to see the neighborhood's sprouting high-rises firsthand.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Embarcadero
51 Avenida Zugazarte
Getxo
Spain 48930
Tel: 34 944 803 100
info@hotelembarcadero.com
www.hotelembarcadero.com

Situated just outside Bilbao in the town of Getxo, where the Nervión River meets the sea, Hotel Embarcadero is a 27-room property housed in a stately 1900 neo-Basque-style house. The common areas are modern minimalist, with steel-gray walls and black, white, and red leather chairs. Guest rooms, on the other hand, are more traditional, with cream and black floral wall coverings, antique wood desks, and cushioned window seats. Some rooms have a small terrace overlooking the garden and sea, but we suggest corner room 22, which looks out on both the water and the impressive mansion next door. For near 360-degree sea views (including from the bathroom), room 11 is also a top choice. Downstairs, with direct access to the garden and the beach beyond, there is a quiet bar and small restaurant serving traditional Basque dishes. For those looking for the best of both worlds, this is the place: a seaside retreat that's only a 15-minute subway ride to central Bilbao.—Guy Fiorita

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel España
9–11 Carrer San Pau
Barcelona
Spain 08001
Tel: 34 93 550 0000
info@hotelespanya.com
www.hotelespanya.com

The Hotel España, a star at the turn of the 19th century, was given some much-needed care and attention in late 2010. Now the property's gloriously detailed interiors (originally designed by the Modernista movement's foremost architect, Domènech i Montaner) have some dramatic contemporary touches, too, such as geometric hanging lights and bold-colored feature walls. The velvet-swathed guest rooms with wooden accents are on the smalll side (some standards ring in at only 50 square feet), yet it's the breathtaking public spaces that really shine. Admire the dining room's frescoes of dainty watery nymphs as you tuck into breakfast. Or take a seat at the curvaceous alabaster fireplace as you sip a nightcap in the Bar Arnau. Top Basque chef Martín Berasategui has taken the reigns of Fonda España, the hotel's restaurant, where you can experience his robust cuisine (veal cheek with Priorat wine reduction, or tuna with tomato jam and arugula chips) surrounded by intricately carved wood and glorious ceramic murals.—Suzanne Wales

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Espléndido
Es Través 5
Port de Sóller , Mallorca
Spain
Tel: 34 971 63 18 50
www.esplendidohotel.com

Swedish hoteliers Johanna and Mikael Landström have bull's-eyed every detail in their reinvention of this 1954 vintage seaside property, with dimmers on all lamps, a terrific CD/DVD library at reception, free Wi-Fi all over the 82-room hotel, and a great bistro that serves up yummy indulgences such as gazpacho, bacon cheeseburgers, and cheesecake. The beach is across the street; you can also snag a lounger on the terraced hillside above the hotel, which overlooks the Espléndido's two pools. There's a sauna and a hammam next to one of the pools, and the bar has become the town's hippest place to toss back an espresso and a hierbas (the local herbal liqueur) after dinner. Perhaps best of all, staff are warm, and this place draws a varied clientele, including young Scandinavian families, stylish French and Italian couples, and singles of all stripes. N.B.: The hotel has almost no parking, so use the free lot on the left as you're coming into Puerto Sóller.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Ferrero
Ctra. Bocarient-Villena, km. 16
Bocairent
Spain
Tel: 34 962 355 175
info@hotelferrero.com
www.hotelferrero.com

Perhaps as a precursor to life after professional tennis, Juan Carlos Ferrero, the world's top-ranked player in 2003, has opened a hotel with flair in Bocairent, not far from his hometown of Valencia. Ferrero's hotel transforms a nineteenth-century structure into a sky-blue palacio with mod decor in each of the 12 suites (six of which have Jacuzzi-equipped terraces), and plush amenities including Hermès toiletries, cotton-and-silk sheets, and massive Bang & Olufsen plasma TVs. Admittedly, the hotel's location behind an industrial warehouse leaves something to be desired, but 30 acres of manicured gardens help block out any distractions. So does the surprisingly good restaurant, where chef Silvia Gavara turns out a luscious Mediterranean menu at dinner and three types of fresh-squeezed juices at breakfast—quite possibly the best breakfast in Spain. The high-tech gym and Ayurvedic spa offer a place to work it all off, but you might as well take advantage of the local expertise and sign up for lessons on the court.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Fontecruz
41–43 Calle Abades
Seville
Spain 41001
Tel: 34 954 979 009
recepcion@fontecruzsevilla.com
www.fontecruzhoteles.com/fontecruz-hotel-sevilla/

Housed in a narrow street close to the Catedral de Sevilla, in the Barrio Antiguo, this converted 18th-century casa-palacio has introduced a contemporary feel to a typically grand Sevillano house. Once inside the massive wooden doors, you'll find a glamorous lobby with oversize hanging lights, a leather reception desk, a fur rug, and black-and-white movie photographs decorating the walls. The interior patio is all rich colors and textured fabrics, including gold, silver, and purple velvet sofas and cushions; above is a spectacular coffered wood ceiling. In a daring move against tradition, a glass balcony gives this main patio a clean, modern look. Along the corridors, bold, striped walls lead guests to the 40 good-size rooms. The decor is contemporary with period touches: striped metallic wall panels with inset flat-screen TVs, curvy white Queen Anne–style bedside tables, black resin neo-rococo lamps, and purple bedspreads. Bathrooms are minimalist with oversize black tiles and tangerine-scented toiletries. Ask for a room with a pool view—they're lighter and quieter. The large pool, virtually unheard of in the Barrio Antiguo, is one of the Fontecruz's main draws; you'll be extremely thankful for a cooling dip in Seville's hotter months (May to September). A roof-terrace bar with a jumping scene attracts the city's beautiful people to its smooching spots, complete with big beds and Giralda views. Sadly, the restaurant lacks the same atmosphere, but the hotel's location leaves you well situated to venture out for meals.—Fiona Flores Watson

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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Hotel Hacienda Na Xemena
Calle de Eivissa
San Miguel , Ibiza
Spain 07815
Tel: 34 971 334 500
Fax: 971 334 514
info@hotelhacienda-ibiza.com
www.hotelhacienda-ibiza.com

In the north, perched far above the sea, is this self-consciously Zen deluxe haven. Its 65 rooms are incongruously handsome, with Balinese and Indonesian antique furniture and bedouin rugs; most of these have Jacuzzis at the very least, some on terraces, and a few have private pools, too. There's a new, classy spa, La Posidonia, with possibly the world's only treatments that take place in a network of little pools and waterfalls carved into the cliffs (a Talasso Lounge spa will be added this winter when the hotel is closed). Four good restaurants mean the well-heeled world-traveler guests need never leave the hushed enclave of calm and the heavenly views from the pool terraces.

Closed November to March.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Hesperia
57 Paseo de la Castellana
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 34 91 210 8800
hotel@hesperia-madrid.com
www.hesperia-madrid.com

The Hesperia's lobby is beautiful, done up in shades of warm orange with clean lattice work, lots of greenery, and wide-open spaces. You could sit for hours in the lobby lounge, just reading a book and soaking up the sunlight. Opt for a junior suite or a deluxe double rather than the entry-level rooms, which, though well-appointed and tastefully furnished, are surprisingly cramped. The Hesperia understands that extensive Scotch whiskey lists aren't just for grandfathers anymore, and its friendly, nonpompous bar offers the best selection in the city. Equally impressive is the basement restaurant, the famed Santceloni. This hotel is located in the quiet Salamanca neighborhood and you'll need to take a taxi or metro most places, but the metro stop is right across the street.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Iturregi
Barrio Azkizu
Getaria
Spain 20808
Tel: 34 943 89 61 34
info@hoteliturregi.com
www.hoteliturregi.com

Set atop a verdant hill 15 miles west of San Sebastián, this country retreat is a seductive reason to leave the Basque city behind. Outside, vineyards lead down past traditional Basque farmhouses and the odd grazing cow to a coast carved with dramatic rock formations and dotted with lighthouses. Indoors, the view is no less idyllic. Well-appointed public areas—filled with inviting sofas and interesting art—make you feel like you're in the home of a friend with very good taste. The illusion continues upstairs in the hotel's eight rooms. The Art Nouveau zinc fireplace turned bathroom sink in the Zarautz Room is a good example of the hotel's eclectic aesthetic: intriguing antiques combined with the occasional piece of modern art. Not everything is perfect—on a recent visit, one towel heater didn't work and the Wi-Fi connection was spotty—but the warmly attentive staff make up for any glitches. The hotel lacks a restaurant (though a restorative breakfast is offered in a sunny dining room).

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Jazz
3 Pelai
Barcelona
Spain
Tel: 34 93 552 96 96
jazz@nnhotels.com
www.hoteljazz.com

The location of this sleek property near Plaza Catalunya is "perfect because it's well away from the crowds and noise" but still a short walk from the Ramblas. "Middle-of-the-road rooms" liven up a neutral palette with artwork and bright pillows. The outdoor rooftop pool has "views worth the price of your stay." Staff "are friendly"; expect only a breakfast buffet since there is no restaurant on-site.

(108 rooms)

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Lopez de Haro
2 Obispo Orueta
Bilbao
Spain 48009
Tel: 34 944 235 500
lh@hotellopezdeharo.com
www.hotellopezdeharo.com

This centrally located Bilbao hotel is just a five-minute walk to the Guggenheim (Frank Gehry stayed when he was working on his initial sketches for the museum). It has 53 rooms and suites with varying decor according to category, such as a monotone approach in the standard rooms that includes black carpets and ceilings against white leather upholstered headboards and floral wallpaper, also in black and white. At street level there is the Ambigu Lounge, with wood-paneled walls and heavy leather armchairs. The space doubles as a Champagne bar by night and breakfast room by day. The hotel does not have a restaurant, but in central Bilbao you're never more than a few steps away from excellent eateries. Oh, and the room Gehry chose while here? Suite 501, with lots of exterior light and plenty of workspace.—Guy Fiorita

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Los Seises
6 Calle Segovias
Seville
Spain
Tel: 34 954 229 495
losseises@husa.es
www.hotellosseises.com

Located in the labyrinthine streets behind the cathedral and just across from the Giralda Tower, the Hotel Los Seises occupies a 16th-century archbishop's palace. Excavations have revealed Roman mosaics, Renaissance paneling, and Arabic columns and tiling, most of which is still on display. The property's 42 rooms feature tile floors and Roman arches, as well as amenities like air-conditioning, satellite TV, safes, and minibars. There is a good-sized garden, as well as a rooftop pool and restaurant with impressive views of the Giralda Tower and Seville skyline. The restaurant, La Cocina de los Seises, serves traditional Andalusian food and local wines.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Maria Cristina
4 Republica Argentina
San Sebastián
Spain
Tel: 34 943 437 600
hmc@luxurycollection.com
www.mariacristina.es

Designed in 1912 by the same architect as the Ritz hotels in London and Paris, this ornate hotel caters to those that love old-school pomp and pampering. (More casual types may find the courtly, formal service a bit over the top.) Its 136 rooms, 27 of them suites, are expansive, with marble baths, dark-wood antique reproductions, and rich-colored fabrics; some have Juliet balconies overlooking the Urumea River. There's an indoor pool and spa, which can get a bit crowded in September when visiting celebs come for the annual film festival; as the fanciest place in town, this is their lodging of choice.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Maricel
11 Carretera d'Andtatx
Cas Català
Calvià , Mallorca
Spain 07181
Tel: 34 971 707 744
maricel@hospes.es
www.hospes.es/Hotels.aspx?m=2&hotelid=4§ion=11,1

Reopened in summer 2002 after architect Xavier Claramunt's rethink, this once-famous resort is a good compromise for those who can't quite decide whether they're club-haunting party dogs or pool-hugging chill-meisters—in other words, it's close enough to the burgeoning Palma scene for evening access, yet far enough away for escape. The neoclassical pillars and arcades, rows of wicker armchairs, travertine terraces, and stylish navy-blue infinity pool are all very grown-up—especially since children aren't allowed during the summer. Interiors of polished marble with high-beamed ceilings give a vague Renaissance-palace air that fades from memory once you reach the 29 beige-on-white rooms, with their Anglepoise bedside lamps, perforated wood headboards, and chrome-edged furniture. Pretty bathrooms pair claw-foot tubs and marble floors with steel shelving, but they suffer from Design Syndrome: space and utility sacrificed to good looks. This year the hotel will close from December 1 until February 1, while they add 24 additional rooms designed in a Mallorcan country-house style, with exposed stone walls. Each room will have a private terrace and pool.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Marqués de Riscal
1 Calle Torrea
Elciego
Spain
Tel: 34 945 180 880
marquesderiscal@luxurycollection.com
www.luxurycollection.com/marquesderiscal

In the heart of the Rioja wine region (about an hour south of Bilbao) this 2006 Frank Gehry-designed hotel has titanium curves that echo those of Bilbao's Guggenheim. From the outside, the main structure, with its 15 irregularly shaped rooms, shimmers like a large present that's been wrapped in crinkly, shiny paper. Inside, the rooms are airy and light, with contrasting white-linen and blond-wood furnishings, and slanted windows with views of the surrounding vines. (There's also a second building, which contains 29 slightly larger, less quirky accommodations.) The Starwood chain seems to have pulled out all the stops for this place: Besides the rooftop lounge with its open fireplace, there's a restaurant helmed by talented chef Francis Paniego, serving traditional Rioja cuisine; the hotel also houses the swanky Caudalie Vinothérapie Spa, where you can be soaked and slathered in products containing wine. If consuming vino is more to your taste, that's an option, too, at the in-house wine and tapas bar. Guests are guaranteed a reservation for the 90-minute tour of the famed Marqués de Riscal winery, which would otherwise need to be booked months in advance.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Me
272–286 Carrer Pere IV
Barcelona
Spain 08005
Tel: 34 93 367 2051
info@solmelia.com
www.me-barcelona.com

It might not be smack bang in the Barri Gòtic, but the Hotel Me —a slightly askew, retro glass tower designed by French architect Dominique Perrault and opened in 2008—is likely to attract design buffs east of the city center to the Diagonal Mar neighborhood. The hotel's view of Jean Nouvel's Torre Agbar, along with the nearby Olympic Port and Sagrada Familia, should seal the deal. The Hotel Me, part of Spanish Sol Meliá group's upmarket brand (there's another Me in Madrid), has 259 rooms spread over 29 floors with a choice of impressive vistas—the Mediterranean or the city and Nouvel's bullet-shaped tower. The accommodations have been done up in bold red, blue, and purple textiles, with lacquered floors and surfaces, and have the expected extras like iPod docks and plasma TVs. There is a very generous selection of Aveda products in the spacious bathrooms, which have both rain showers and tubs. The Me is home to Dos Cielos, a rooftop restaurant helmed by young-gun twin chefs Sergio and Javier Torres (it was awarded its first Michelin star in 2011). A branch of Angels & Kings, the U.S.–based nightclub owned by pop star Pete Wentz is on the premises too. There's also a spa, with cool wood and slate floors and vibrant blue tiles. The Me's less tourist-centric location and fabulous amenities have proved a hit with young, trendsetting nighthawks who don't mind dishing out the $20–plus cab fare into the center of town. (For those that do, the metro is a ten-minute walk away).—Suzanne Wales

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Meninas
7 Calle Campomanes
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 34 91 541 2805
reservas@hotelmeninas.com
www.hotelmeninas.com

Out of all the city's new design hotels, this is the one that most carefully blends old and new, keeping an eye on its architectural past while still creating an utterly modern guest experience. All 37 rooms are in chic shades of black and have DVD players and minimalist bathrooms in gray marble. Windows have been kept big, their shape unaltered from the original 1870 design. The Meninas' original hardwood staircases and landings are another beautiful reminder of what the building once was, and of how respectfully the building has been renovated. The location, near the Opera, is excellent. One downside: Wi-Fi only works in the lobby; rooms have cable Internet connections.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Murmuri
104 Rambla de Catalunya
Barcelona
Spain 08008
Tel: 34 93 550 0600
info@murmuri.com
www.murmuri.com

British designer Kelly Hoppen's contemporary, Eastern-nuanced hand is evident throughout Hotel Murmuri, a new six-floor hotel in the Eixample. But her style is at its boldest in the downstairs bar, restaurant, and lobby, where burgundy velvet banquettes jostle for space with a cascading Swarovski crystal chandelier and abstract black, silver, and white wall murals. A glass elevator transports you to the 53 rooms, where the mood is toned down dramatically with tasteful if somewhat unchallenging chocolate and Champagne decor and oak furniture, yet brightened up by mountains of Hoppen's bed throws and cushions in burnt orange and russet tones. The bathrooms are spacious, with Silestone surfaces and large bath-shower combos with massage heads. Rooms on the top floor have a private 50-square-foot terrace and cost $260 more than the doubles below (from around $240 to $500). The stylish Marfil cocktail bar, with comfy blue sofas, rococo armchairs, and rings of black oak dividing the tables, is a trendy spot facing the street. It attracts both hotel guests and a Barcelonese clientele, many of whom are here to dine at Murmuri restaurant. Murmuri has fast gained a reputation for its combined Asian and Mediterranean cuisine (try the battered prawns with Japanese eggplant). There is no pool or spa at the Hotel Murmuri, but guests can take a short walk along Passeig de Gràcia and use the excellent facilities at the Majestic, the five-star grande dame that belongs to the same group (68 Passeig de Gràcia; 34-93-393-8128). If you want to stay in this well-heeled neighborhood, Murmuri is one of the few design-centric options.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Neptuno
2 Paseo de Neptuno
Valencia
Spain 46011
Tel: 34 96 356 7777
Fax: 34 96 356 0430
www.hotelneptunovalencia.com

In perfect proximity to the new Port America's Cup marina, the Neptuno brings a dash of stylish modernity to Valencia's four-mile beachfront promenade. A slate-and-glass elevator whisks guests up to the 48 rooms, all decorated with a sober, geometric minimalism—lots of angular, dark-wood furnishings, creamy fabrics, and pale parquet floors. All have framed modern prints on the walls, spa tubs, plasma TVs, and free high-speed Internet access. In addition to a weight room, there's a fitness center with a Turkish bath and racquetball court. The teak roof deck with its Jacuzzi is a prime spot for yacht-watching. Just be warned: The staffers here can get rather brittle when they're overworked.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Neri
5 Carrer Sant Sever
Barcelona
Spain 08002
Tel: 34 93 304 0655
info@hotelneri.com
www.hotelneri.com

This lavishly restored 18th-century palace opened in 2003 in the Barri Gòtic. Decor in the 22 rooms—each inspired by a different local artist whose painting hangs above the bed—ranges from fairy-tale (shades of peach and tangerine) to vampish (scarlet and red wine hues). It's a curious mix that somehow manages to blend the building's original neo-Gothic archways and heavy stone floors with the comforts of a contemporary hotel. The deeply planted roof terrace provides a welcome oasis from the otherwise frenetic city center, and Jordi Ruiz's on-site restaurant reverberates with traces of his training at El Bulli and Akelarre. If you're looking for an Arab-inflected take on the cuisine of the Middle Ages, this is your place.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Niza
56 Zubieta
San Sebastián
Spain 20007
Tel: 34 943 426 663
niza@hotelniza.com
www.hotelniza.com

Hotel Niza offers affordable, no-frills comfort in San Sebastián's most sought-after location overlooking the Concha beach. The 40 guest rooms (18 with a sea view) are spacious and simply decorated (all white, with tasteful floral drapes), free Wi-Fi, breakfast, and, if you are lucky, a balcony with the best views in town. Other services include a restaurant serving regional dishes and a café with a terrace directly above the beach. But there are some drawbacks: Only street-facing rooms have air-conditioning (in seaside rooms you'll have to rely on a cooling sea breeze to beat the heat).—Guy Fiorita

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Omm
265 Carrer Rosselló
Barcelona
Spain 08008
Tel: 34 93 445 4000
reservas@hotelomm.es
www.hotelomm.es

This 59-room hotel in the Eixample is Rosa María Esteva's first foray into the hotel world (she's the wildly successful restaurateur behind the Tragaluz group), and we're willing to bet it won't be her last. The hotel's Moo restaurant has taken a Zen-meets-the-Med stance (saffron-spiced scorpion fish with garlic, and veal with anchovies); it's overseen by the brothers Roca, who are known for their two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Girona. The laid-back lounge/lobby is furnished with deep sofas and armchairs arranged around a floating fireplace, while the streamlined bedrooms benefit from loads of light and storage space. The rooftop pool area, incidentally, boasts the city's finest views of Gaudí's rooftops. There's also a moodily lit spa.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Orfila
6 Calle Orfila
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 34 91 702 7770
comercial@hotelorfila.com
www.hotelorfila.com

This classically styled Relais & Châteaux boutique hotel in an 1880s mansion, located in a quiet residential area near Colon Square, has a relentless dedication to serving the needs of those who wish the modern-design revolution had never taken place, that all the minimalist Deco lamps, rock sculptures, and recessed lighting fixtures would be ritually burned in a big bonfire, and that hotels would return to an age of ornate ballrooms full of crystal and flowers. The Orfila opened in the late 1990s, but even its gaudy gilded-wreath logo hearkens back to an earlier age. No expense has been spared on materials, maintenance, or service. The 32 plush rooms (12 of which are suites) come in tasteful stripes, low-key florals and with époque furniture. The restaurant, El Jardín de Orfila, caters to an older crowd and keeps with the classic theme: They wouldn't even think of placing your bottle of wine on the table, or of allowing you to manage your own napkin.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Palacio de Aiete
27 Goiko Galtzara-Berri
San Sebastián
Spain
Tel: 34 943 210 071
info@hotelpalaciodeaiete.com
www.hotelpalaciodeaiete.com

If you crave peace and quiet and don't mind renting a car, head for this hotel in a sedate hillside neighborhood of San Sebastián. Opened in 2002, the property is named for a nearby royal palace (a landmark that once served as a residence for royalty—and infamous dictator Francisco Franco). The 75 rooms have wood floors, clean-lined IKEA-type furnishings, and your choice of pillows; the soundproof floor-to-ceiling windows (some with balconies beyond) provide views of the lush Basque landscape. The top floor has a small fitness center, sauna, and solarium with chaise longues. Even if you have a car, you should make the trip downtown on foot at least once; during the 20-minute downhill trek along the Paseo de Aiete, you'll get a beautiful view of the city, the coastline, and some precariously perched houses.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Palau de la Mar
Navarro Reverter 14
Valencia
Spain
Tel: 96 316 2884
Fax: 96 316 2885
www.hospes.es

At long last, Valencia has a five-star boutique hotel to call its own. The Palau de la Mar occupies two handsome late-19th-century palacetes (town houses), just off Plaza Porta de la Mar, on the eastern edge of the historic center in the business district. All 66 rooms feature the latest mod-cons—cordless phones, plasma TVs, free high-speed Internet access—and a sleek, minimalist design of hardwood floors, white walls, built-in units, and soft-edged couches. Public spaces come in smooth cream-and-chocolate interiors, and the spa area offers gym equipment, a Jacuzzi, Turkish baths, a sauna, and swimming pool.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Puerta América
41 Avenida de América
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 34 91 744 5400
hotel.puertamerica@hoteles-silken.com
www.hoteles-silken.com/hpam

This hugely ambitious project, in which 19 of the most prestigious names in architecture and design collaborated on a Jean Nouvel building, finally opened in 2005. The resulting 362 rooms are so cutting-edge they should carry health warnings. Among others, David Chipperfield, Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid, John Pawson, Marc Newson, and Ron Arad have designed rooms—some all-white and minimal (duh); some all-scarlet and curvaceous; some (Hadid's) all-white or all-black and sculpted from LG Hi-Macs (a kind of malleable Corian); others (Arad's) with a ten-foot circular sofa; yet more (Chipperfield's) with black terra-cotta beds canopied in lacquered blue material. Oddly, the owners, the Silken Group, whose hotels have been multiplying like triffids, claim to be all about service and comfort, with a side of design. While service is up to scratch, comfort is often sacrificed; some of the beds and showers are too small and chairs look good, but don't feel it. Go here if you're looking for the visual-sensual experience of inhabiting premier architectural space—and be aware that the world's most ambitious hotel is located between the airport and the city, so none too central.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Ritz
5 Plaza de la Lealtad
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 34 91 701 67 67
comercial@ritz.es
www.ritzmadrid.com

An easy distance from museums and shopping, this 100-year-old Belle Époque hotel in Retiro has "an excellent location." "Facilities were wonderfully old-world"; spacious rooms are individually designed, with handwoven rugs, antique furnishings, and French windows that open to views that include the Prado. Goya's dishes, such as beef stuffed with foie gras, combine French and Basque elements. Hotel staff are "gracious, attentive, and efficient."

(167 rooms)

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Sant Ignasi
Carretera Cala Morell
Ciutadella , Menorca
Spain 07760
Tel: 34 971 38 55 75
santignasi@santignasi.com
www.santignasi.com

Located down a long, secluded lane at the rugged northern tip of Menorca, this mansion nestles in a vast swath of ancient woodland. Dating back to 1777, the hotel has had a sympathetic restoration, with lots of original frills, such as the wrought-iron chandeliers, tiled floors, and elaborate cornicing, preserved. The antique-heavy bedrooms can feel a little austere, but many have private terraces with dream views over the distant rooftops of Ciutadella (Menorca's second, and many say prettier, city), glass-flat plains, and a big blue bay. Outside, a good-sized pool and plentiful sun loungers are perfect for long lazy days before heading into the town for dinner—or do as local foodies do, and linger over a gin and tonic in the comfortably cozy lounge and cocktail bar, and eat at Sant Ignasi's excellent restaurant (try the red mullet fried in olive oil, served with a salad of peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and potatoes).

Closed December 10 to January 10. Restaurant closed October through March.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Tres
3 Calle Apuntadores
Palma de Mallorca , Mallorca
Spain 07012
Tel: 34 971 717 333
reservation@hoteltres.com
www.hoteltres.com

As the Casco Antiguo (Palma's old quarter) continues its gentrification, so the sleeping options become ever better. The Tres offers slick, high-quality, and comfortable accommodation, with 41 rooms ranging from good-sized singles with queen beds, through various spacious double options (some with terraces), to some pretty fabulous suites (the Grand Suite has a private roof terrace and hot tub). Decor is dazzling white with cowhide-covered furniture and rather erotic black-and-white photographs of various lady parts above the beds (not everyone's cup of tea, but subtle enough). The central courtyard is a lovely place to sit with coffee in the mornings, while the roof terrace (which also has a fun plunge pool), with views over Palma and the cathedral spires, offers a more dynamic option for an evening cocktail. There's a bistro with a light menu, open from noon to 10:30 p.m. every day, serving basic fare such as hamburgers, club sandwiches, salads, and desserts. It's also where you'll get a hearty breakfast buffet in the morning. But as you're surrounded by Palma's hottest restaurants and tapas bars, you're well catered for if you're looking for something more upmarket.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Urban
Carrera de San Jerónimo, 34
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 91 787 7770
Fax: 91 787 7799
www.derbyhotels.com

Aptly named, this 21st-century crystal palace is all iron pillars, wall upon wall of glass, and remarkable art on loan from the Clos Archaeological Foundation. The art includes ancient Egyptian and Hindu pieces, 19th-century totems from Papua New Guinea, and 18th- and 19th-century Chinese portraits. Strangely, it all blends with the black-leather-and-steel-mesh furniture, transparent Philippe Starck Louis chairs, wood-paneled walls, and bathrooms of Macael marble and chrome (though it may be disconcerting to wake up face-to-face with a life-size bedside Qing Dynasty figure). There's a cool pool on the roof deck, along with La Terraza del Urban bar; other drinking and dining options are the first-floor Glass Bar and Restaurant Europa Decó on the ground floor—all happening options for a night out in the city center on the Paseo del Arte. Fans of Barcelona's Claris may recognize the style; this property is in the same group.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Villa Real
10 Plaza de las Cortes
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 91 420 37 67
Fax: 91 420 25 47
www.derbyhotels.com/eng/villa_real_in.htm

This classically designed hotel garners three perfect scores—for "spacious and comfortable" rooms decorated in soft colors and antiques, "accommodating service that makes you feel welcome," and a location near Puerta del Sol and the Retiro Park that "could not be more convenient" for art museums like the Thyssen-Bornemisza. Roman mosaics and Greek Apulian vessels are among the artworks showcased throughout. Andy Warhol lithographs accent East 47, where the "passable food" includes Galician sirloin tartare.

(115 rooms)

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
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Hotel Viura
Calle Mayor S/N
Villabuena de Alava
Spain 01307
Tel: 34 945 60 90 00
info@hotelviura.com
hotelviura.com

It lacks the shimmering (and steeply priced) splendor of the Frank Gehry–designed Marqués de Riscal hotel down the road, but the Hotel Viura is a fine choice for wine tourists who like affordable architecture with their Rioja. Set deep in a crook of the tiny, bodega-heavy town of Villabueva de álava, the 33-room hotel looks like nothing so much as a falling tower of blocks. Its public areas are disorienting, its slate-lined hallways open at unexpected angles. Inside the rooms, however, it's all soothing stability—as soothing as poured-cement walls can be. The cool industrial feel of the room is tempered by warm wood furnishings that vaguely evoke wine crates, nightstands that double as glowing lamps, and grape-colored glass in the open bathroom. The rooms are large and have gorgeous views of the charming town and the mountains beyond. The restaurant, its ceiling covered in wine barrels, does a credible job with local specialties like roast lamb and vegetable stew.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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Ibiza Gran Hotel
Paseo Juan Carlos I
Ibiza Town , Ibiza
Spain 07800
Tel: 34 971 806 806
info@ibizagranhotel.com
www.ibizagranhotel.com

This 157-room fortresslike property opened in 2008 in Ibiza Town's new Marina Botafoch neighborhood. It looks a little corporate at first, but step inside and you'll find a cool, clean, minimal space and an overriding sensation of space and light. Extraordinary works of art are dotted about the place, such as Korean artist Bahk Seonghi's Suspended Staircase, a charcoal-colored chandelier that hangs between three floors. Even the flower arrangements are sculptural and change weekly—past examples include pools of esparto grass and soaring cactuses. The huge rooms are done in Champagne hues and bespoke art pieces; all have private terraces, and the best have views of D'Alt Vila (the old town, only a ten-minute walk away) and the coast. All rooms have cable TV, a stereo, a DVD library, and mood lighting. Bathrooms have double sinks and whirlpool tubs with TVs. There's a restaurant, Costa Mara, which infuses typical Ibicenco and Mediterranean dishes with a modern twist; an enormous pool and spa are divided by a large lawn lined with fragrant lavender. For visitors seeking a high standard of comfort, the Ibiza Gran Hotel is hard to beat. If you want to fit in some clubbing, Pacha is across the street; if you don't, you'll be glad to know the club is hidden behind tall white-washed walls and the hotel is well soundproofed.—Tara Stevens

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
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L'Avenida Hotel
9 Gran Vía
Port de Sóller , Mallorca
Spain 07100
Tel: 34 971 634 075
info@avenida-hotel.com
www.avenida-hotel.com

Situated in the town of Sóller, L'Avenida is an elegant recent addition (March 2007) to the Mallorca scene. This eight-room hotel is located within the imposing walls of a century-old mansion house, but the look is very modern and chic, with judicious use of cool wallpapers, funky four-poster beds, animal prints, and modern tiling in the bathrooms. The best rooms have views over the inner courtyard and swimming pool, and balconies framed by pillars and gauzy drapes. All have free Wi-Fi access (available throughout the hotel and garden), DVD players, 28-inch plasma TVs, and music systems. The toiletries are blended in-house using herbs from the Tramuntana mountains and Mediterranean minerals. A hearty breakfast buffet is served, as well as cocktails around the gazebo-style swimming pool. There's also a smart, modern bistro serving inventive Mediterranean fare (warm goat-cheese salad with caramelized walnuts and cinnamon pears). L'Avenida also plans to open a spa in March 2008.

Closed November through February.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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La Residencia
Son Canals s/n
Deià , Mallorca
Spain 07179
Tel: 34 971 639 011
Tel: 800 237 1236
reservas@hotel-laresidencia.com
www.hotellaresidencia.com

Halfway along the island's northwest coast, the idyllic village of Deià has had more than its fair share of attention, thanks to longtime resident Robert Graves, the late poet-novelist. The immeasurable dose of culture chic he injected has by no means ruined the place, but it does continue to attract the throngs. And so has this grand retreat set in one 16th- and one 17th-century manor house on the edge of the village. The 67 rooms are gorgeously understated, with clay-tiled or carpeted floors, rustic local antiques, white slip-covered chairs, and wooden louvered shutters and beamed ceilings. A few suites include private terraces and pools. In August 2007, they will unveil eight new Tramuntana Suites, built above the hotel's spa, with views of the mountains and the village of Deià. Each suite will also have a private garden and private plunge pool. There are three restaurants (one open only in the summer), including the dressy El Olivo. The hotel also offers occasional recitals to take advantage of its rare 1887 Steinway grand. The nearest beach, by the way, at Lluc Alcari, is a few minutes' walk down a mountain path.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Les Cols Pavellones
Carretera de la Canya s/n
Olot
Spain
Tel: 34 97 226 9209
lescols.com

This small town in the Garrotxa National Park, two hours north of Barcelona, is home to one of Europe's most unusual accommodations. With only five rooms, this new hotel offers an otherworldly experience from the start. After checking in, you're escorted to your transparent glass-and-black-steel pavilion. Inside—aside from a minibar and a closet stocked with sheepskin slippers—the rooms are pure crystal cubes: no beds, no furniture, no phone, no television (there are electric blinds on all four walls), just a lounging mat. Glass floors offer a view of the illuminated bare earth beneath, and the only sound is the trickling of the soaking tub, which is heated to a constant 89.2 degrees. When you go to dinner at Les Cols, the superb one-star Michelin restaurant next door, your lounging mat is made up as a bed for the night. Although initially disorienting, Les Cols Pavellones quickly becomes a magical experience—think a Catalan take on a Japanese ryokan.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona
38–40 Passeig de Gràcia
Barcelona
Spain 08007
Tel: 34 93 151 88 88
mobcn-reservations@mohg.com
www.mandarinoriental.com/barcelona/

The pearly queen of Barcelona luxury hotels, the Mandarin Oriental is situated in an early 20th-century bank building that's been completely remodeled by Patricia Urquiola, the Spanish designer known for melding elegance and playfulness. Here she has subtly nodded to the group's Asian origins with details such as chinoiserie-inspired feature walls with a blossom and bird mural. But there's also what Urquiola calls a "Grace Kelly" veneer, with a creamy-pastel color scheme and classic forms. The 98 guest rooms have a Zen-like ambience, with blond wood surfaces, chalk-white Silestone bathrooms, and natural textiles. Rear guest rooms (some with terraces) overlook the hotel's lovely mimosa-filled outdoor café, while front rooms offer the spectacle of posh Passeig de Gràcia. The Blanc lounge-restaurant on the ground floor of the towering atrium has a sumptuous hanging garden, handmade Japanese carpets, and modernist mamasan chairs; the whole lounge-restaurant is wrapped in a suspended snowflake-cutout screen the designer had dubbed "the birdcage." The Banker's Bar—in the bank's old vault—evokes a colonial men's club; Moments, a cutting-edge Catalan cuisine restaurant has a theatrical ceiling rendered in gold leaf.—Suzanne Wales

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Market Hotel & Restaurant
10 Passatge Sant Antoni Abat
Barcelona
Spain 08015
Tel: 34 93 325 1205
reservas@markethotel.com.es
www.markethotel.com.es

Fresh in style and laid-back in atmosphere, this smart newcomer adjoins the modern Sant Antoni market (the local equivalent of the Boqueria) in the up-and-coming Sant Antoni barrio. Since the Tragaluz group's success with Hotel Omm, other restaurateurs—including this one—have embraced Tragaluz's eat-and-sleep philosophy. There are 17 generously sized bedrooms with black-and-white linens and white ceramic bathrooms dressed up with carefully selected modern, lacquered Oriental furniture; those in the back have small terraces. Market aficionados and self-catering types should book the apartment; about twice the size of standard rooms, it has a fully equipped kitchen, as well as a living area and substantial terrace. For everyone else, there's a high-ceilinged restaurant that's popular with local office workers, where chandeliers, black walls, and white linens belie its reasonable prices.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Meliá Bilbao
29 Lehendakari Leizaola
Bilbao
Spain 48001
Tel: 34 944 280 000
melia.bilbao@melia.com
www.melia-bilbao.com

Meliá Bilbao is a soaring, rust-hued property designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta as a tribute to the Basque sculptor Eduardo Chillida. The hotel sits on the banks of the Nervión River, with incredible views of the Guggenheim (request a riverside room on the seventh floor or higher). The 211 spacious rooms, built around a ten-story atrium, come in red, yellow, and orange and are bathed in light from large windows. The marble fitted bathrooms are also spacious, and those in the suites come with a hydromassage tub and separate shower. Other highlights include a heated outdoor pool on the sixth floor, and the award-winning Aizian restaurant. Snacks and light meals are also served in the Café Chillida, which has an outdoor terrace overlooking the Doña Casilda Park.—Guy Fiorita

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Meliá Inglés Boutique Hotel
6 Marqués de Dos Aguas
Valencia
Spain 46002
Tel: 34 96 351 6426
Fax: 34 96 394 0251
www.sh-hoteles.com/english/hoteles/melia_ingles/melia_ingles.html

Once the 18th-century palace of the Duke of Cardona, this grand property sits right next to the González Martí National Ceramics Museum, in the heart of the shopping district. Its unbeatable location gives the Inglés the edge over the other Sol Meliá hotels around town (including the Meliá Plaza on the main square of Plaza del Ayuntamiento, and the modern Meliá Valencia Palace near the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias). The 63 rooms here have a slight cookie-cutter blandness, with modular, vaguely antique-looking furnishings—but they're livened up by zigzag patterns in the parquet floors, and awning-striped bedskirts and curtains. Those quirky touches, and the fantastic rates (check for special offers on the Web site), make this a reliable city-center choice.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
ME Madrid Reina Victoria
14 Plaza de Santa Ana
Madrid
Spain 28012
Tel: 34 91 701 6000
memadrid@solmelia.com
www.memadrid.com

Once the hotel of choice among visiting bullfighters, the 192-room ME in Madrid, formerly the Grand Hotel Reina Victoria, could just be the coolest hotel in the city, or at least it's trying very hard to be. Where else would you find a room with David Bowie quotes etched into the bathroom mirror? Rooms have flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, a purple retro-style mini bar with matching armchair, and a special light switch called "Hey, You Sexy Thing," which turns on a set of purple strip lights behind the bed's headboard, should you get lucky with one of the beautiful people who frequent the Penthouse, ME's rooftop bar. The seventh-floor venue overlooks the buzzing Santa Ana Square and its many tapas bars and restaurants.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Miró Hotel
77 Alameda de Mazarredo
Bilbao
Spain
Tel: 34 902 117 777
reservas@mirohotelbilbao.com
www.mirohotelbilbao.com

Set between the Guggenheim and the Museo de Bellas Artes, this 50-room boutique hotel is both superstylish and a great value. The room interiors, conceived by Barcelona fashion designer Antonio Miró, are all mod white-on-white, with beige leather sofas, velvet curtains, recessed lighting, flat-screen TVs, and sliding wall panels that conceal hidden office nooks, entertainment centers, and wet bars. The property includes a convivial pintxos bar and separate hot tubs and saunas for men and women. The hotel's best asset, though, is its welcoming, friendly staff; they'll assist you with everything from directions to dinner reservations to finding a doctor who makes house calls.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Murmuri
104 Rambla de Catalunya
Barcelona
Spain 08008
Tel: 34 935 500 600
www.murmuri.com

On a pretty boulevard off Las Ramblas, the 53-room Murmuri gives travelers a high-design option that's still sophisticated. Rooms by British interior designer Kelly Hoppen showcase her soothing if not particularly Spanish palette of black, cream, and chocolate brown punctuated by black-and-white photos, faux ostrich accessories, and flashes of color in the pillows and throws. It's a masterful first hotel effort from Hoppen (although the two single beds pushed together to make a double is a European throwback that should be thrown back). A small rooftop with box trees and chaises overlooks the city. The stylish lobby bar/restaurant, with its huge bead lamps and brushed-suede banquettes (and a humidor for cigar aficionados), has become a city meeting point. And although it's a bit away from the usual sights (except Gaudí's brilliant La Sagrada Família), the style and service compensate.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Palacio Villapanés
31 Santiago
Seville
Spain 41003
Tel: 34 954 502 063
info@almasevilla.com
www.almasevilla.com

Seville is awash in converted palaces, but Palacio Villapanés is easily the most impressive. The 50-room property—located in the quieter, less touristy part of Barrio Santa Cruz—stands out for its architectural assets, dating back to the 18th century: an imposing stone entrance topped with a family coat of arms (there's another inside, on the massive staircase), high ceilings, and heavy carved wooden doors. Villapanés is saved from appearing too cold and formal by a surprising pairing of historic grandeur and contemporary furniture with a retro feel, such as Patricia Urquiola's Fat-Fat circular stacking tables and Crinoline woven chairs. Guest rooms have parquet floors, walls in soothing gray, and sumptuous beds with bendy reading lights. The bathrooms come in different shapes and sizes: Some are open plan, some have colored ceramic tiles, others are black; all are equipped with Bulgari toiletries. The five suites have iMacs—opt for the Torréon, which has a 19th-century marble bath and a private terrace. If it's already taken, you can always bag a chaise longue on the spacious patio lined with orange trees and oversize white parasols, or cool off in the bijou plunge pool on the roof terrace with views of the city. Breakfast, served in a cozy basement restaurant, features tiny apple turnovers, tortilla, empañada de atún, and dried figs. For bigger appetites, there's sausages, bacon, and eggs. The delightful staff speaks English well and can help you negotiate Seville's winding streets.—Fiona Flores Watson

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Palau de la Mar
14–16 Calle Navarro Reverter
Valencia
Spain 46004
Tel: 34 96 316 2884
www.hospes.es/Hotels.aspx?m=2&hotelid=5§ion=11,1

At long last, Valencia has a real luxury boutique hotel to call its own. The Palau de la Mar occupies two handsome late-19th-century palacetes (town houses) just off Plaza Porta de la Mar, on the eastern edge of the historic center. The 66 rooms are cool Zen refuges: spacious and airy, with unadorned white walls, recessed lighting, dark hardwood floors, and streamlined modern furniture. All have cordless phones, plasma TVs, and free high-speed Internet access. If you want a view of the street, or a room overlooking the inner courtyard with its beds of bonsai-style shrubs, ask when you book (a few of the top-floor rooms have no view at all). Public spaces are beautiful, with white vaulted ceilings and archways, and cream-and-chocolate furnishings; the spa area has gym equipment, a Jacuzzi, and Turkish baths.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Parador de Granada
Real de la Alhambra
Granada
Spain 18009
Tel: 34 958 22 1440
Granada@parador.es
www.parador.es

Among Spain's state-run network of hotels, this parador in Granada ranks high on the list of the most spectacular, installed in a 15th-century convent that's actually within the grounds of the Alhambra. With arcaded cloisters and immaculate gardens as elaborate as those of the Alhambra palace and Generalife, it's no wonder this is also among the priciest paradores in Spain. The 35 rooms have modern comforts such as TVs and high-speed Internet but retain a Renaissance-style decor—dark wood furnishings carved with arabesque designs. There's a Moorish-style coffered ceiling over the dining room, where Granadino specialties are served (tortilla Sacromonte, Granada beans with Trevélez ham, and Andalusian gazpacho soup). This place is deservedly popular, so book well in advance—and ask for a room in the old wing, as those in the brick annex are more modern and lack that old-world panache.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Parador de Hondarribia
14 Plaza de Armas
Hondarribia
Spain 20280
Tel: 34 943 645 500
hondarribia@parador.es
www.parador.es/en/parador-de-hondarribia

Located in the storybook town of Hondarribia, this 34-room hotel began life as a 10th-century fortress that protected Spain from France, which lies just over a mile up the coast (the exterior walls are still marked by cannon fire). Inside, you'll find exposed stone walls, lots of heavy wood furnishings, 14th-century tapestries, and numerous spears, swords, and suits of armor. A large outdoor terrace offers spectacular sea views to one side (be sure to request a room here) and looks to the stained-glass windows of the city's cathedral on the other. The guest rooms have antique furnishings, wood-beamed ceilings, and heavy stone walls. The parador opens onto Hondarribia's postcard-perfect old town square. From here, a maze of narrow cobblestone streets leads down to the sea.—Guy Fiorita

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Parador Hostal dos Reis Catolicós
1 Praza do Obradoiro
Santiago de Compostela
Spain
www.parador.es

Commissioned by the Catholic Monarchs as a pilgrim hostel in 1499, this "well-maintained" Spanish Renaissance and Baroque-style hotel has an "unbeatable location" on Obradoiro Plaza. Rooms are "not particularly impressive but clean and comfortable with interesting period furniture." Dinners of meat and seafood at Dos Reis are "just incredible," and served to live piano music. "Sipping a glass of wine in the lounge after a day of walking is truly special."

(137 rooms)

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Petit Palace Embassy Plus
Serrano St., 46 (Near Hermosilla St. & Ayala St.)
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 91 431 3060
Fax: 91 431 3062
embassy@hthoteles.com
www.hthoteles.com

Opened in June 2005, this 6-story 19th-century town house is one of the newest of a young chain that's rapidly engulfing Madrid (plus several other Spanish cities). Centrally placed in a businessy area near the National Library, its 75 rooms are proudly wired (after all, the group's acronym HT stands for High Tech): In-room computers have free fast Internet, and there are flat-screen satellite TVs and the group's signature whizbang shower units with hydro-massage and sauna built in. Most of them also have in-room stationary bikes for simultaneous surfing and exercise; the ten that don't are family-size to sleep up to four. The public spaces are similarly space-age, with a central lit-from-within command module of a reception desk in the lobby, glass-walled bathrooms, and molded plastic chairs. The facade, on the other hand, is reassuringly staid.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Portixol
27 Calle Sirena
Palma de Mallorca , Mallorca
Spain 07006
Tel: 34 971 271 800
hotel@portixol.com
www.portixol.com

Located in the old fishing quarter of Palma—and now firmly established as one of the city's hottest barrios—the Portixol was instrumental in putting the area on the map when it was opened in 1999 by Swedish entrepreneurs. The sleekly minimalist 26 rooms, with Scandinavian design evident everywhere—blond wood floors, glass tiles in the bathroom, a simple palette of white with a splash of cornflower blue—make good use of the light that streams through every window. It also has some fun touches, like binoculars for watching the horizon. We like the spacious Mediterranean View rooms, with terraces facing south to the coastline. The lounge area and bar buzz with the gossip of fashionable long-weekenders from Scandinavia, Germany, and Britain. It also has a large pool area, a good restaurant serving modern Mediterranean dishes (baked cod with potato, sobrasada, and honey mash), and a spa with a wide range of treatments. The new Port House opened at the start of June 2007, offering two bedrooms, a lounge, and a kitchen for those looking for more freedom and privacy.

 

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Praktik Rambla
27 Rambla de Catalunya
Barcelona
Spain 08007
Tel: 34 93 343 6690
reservas@hotelpraktikrambla.com
www.hotelpraktikrambla.com

Like the Hotel España, the Praktik Rambla is another once-beautiful old mansion that has been given a design makeover. The designer in question is Lázaro Rosa-Violán of Market Hotel and Big Fish fame. His knack for creating bold, modernist spaces in historic buildings is evident throughout, with large-scale abstract art, glossy black surfaces, mirror feature walls, and oversize classical furniture. Period touches remain, including high molded ceilings, colorful Mudejar tile floors, and a sumptuous Baroque-inspired lobby. Yet none of this quite prepares you for the rear terrace, which features a giant rippling stone fountain in the style of Gaudí. A "less is luxe" philosophy reigns in the 43 rooms, which feature retro-inspired mosaic-lined bathrooms and simple, Scandinavian-style furniture. Most look out onto either the elegant Rambla de Catalunya or the interior patio of this Eixample block (avoid these interior rooms, however—they're smaller and almost devoid of natural light). Breakfast is served in the funky Piscolabis café.—Suzanne Wales

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Puro Oasis Urbano
12 Monte Negro
Palma de Mallorca , Mallorca
Spain 07012
Tel: 34 971 425 450
info@purohotel.com
www.purohotel.com

An 18th-century palace in the old town instantly became the center of Palma when it opened in spring 2004. Not only is there a vibe of Marrakech-meets-Goa-in-an-igloo (as in cool and white), but Puro has its own radio station and a beach club centered around an Art Deco building with chill-out music and yoga classes. Back in the hotel, the 51 rooms have parrot-feather lamps, doors of carved Burmese teak, leather ottomans, and Bose sound systems. Puro Oasis suites have vast brown slate bathrooms with sunken soaking tubs. Opio, the very, very white restaurant, does unapologetic fusion food (flash-fried foie gras with Japanese rice, avocado, poppy seeds, and honey-soy glaze), and its bar has a feathered ceiling. This much chill must surely burn out and melt. Or not. If you spot Jade Jagger over from Ibiza, the party's still on.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
San Joan de Binissaida
108 Camí de Binissaida
Es Castell , Menorca
Spain 07720
Tel: 34 971 355 598
santjoan@binissaida.com
www.binissaida.com

This lovely farmhouse, situated down a tree-lined lane, is a role model for the finest of the island's popular agroturismes (chic farmhouses). Surrounded by rolling countryside with views out to sea and pretty coastal walks all around, it's the perfect place to chill out for a day or two. There are only six rooms in the main house, including the spacious, two-bedroom Wagner Suite, which is great for families. There are also five rooms in a converted 19th-century barn with stone work and wooden beams. All rooms have Wi-Fi. Much of the social interaction takes place in the cozy living room, complete with generous sofas and rocking chairs; there's also a well-stocked games library, and the farmhouse even has its own chapel. The restaurant serves top-notch dishes, often made from its own home-grown vegetables and local fish, and is open to guests only, maintaining a family party feel. A large swimming pool with daybeds completes the zone-out experience.

Closed January to April.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Selenza Hotel
67 Claudio Coello
Salamanca
Madrid
Spain 28001
Tel: 34 91 781 01 73
recepcion.madrid@selenza.com
selenzahoteles.es

Located on the toniest street (Claudio Coello) in Madrid's toniest neighborhood (Salamanca), the Selenza is easy to miss from the outside, its graceful yet sober nineteenth-century facade eschewing any special attention. But inside, it's a frenzy of postmodern rococo style—all textured walls and look-at-me oversized chandeliers and lime-green settees popping out from a high-contrast white, black, and silver color scheme. Even meals are bountifully over-the-top: At chef Ramon Freixa's eponymous restaurant (which received a Michelin star), the amuse-bouche is actually ten different small bites, and breakfast consists of five different pastries, two different juices, two hot drinks, and an array of sliced meats set before you on a massive tray. The service isn't quite as polished as it should be, and not all of the design touches are felicitous (witness the fake marble in the bathrooms), but rooms are generously sized by Madrid standards, and the mosaic-tiled floors, full-size mirror that resembles an ice sculpture, and playfully upholstered furnishings certainly give guests a lot to look at. Large, well-lit closets, plus thoughtful touches like a jogging map for the nearby Retiro park, help make the Selenza the hotel of choice for visiting style mavens.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Son Brull
Pollença
Pollença , Mallorca
Spain 07460
Tel: 34 971 535 353
info@sonbrull.com
www.sonbrull.com

Opened in summer 2003, this exquisite rural 18th-century convent–turned–luxury retreat is yet more proof that Mallorca, and in particular the north, is becoming the place of places. The 23 rooms are carved out of generous white spaces striped with beams on the tall ceilings. Even the most modest grade has a Jacuzzi, Bang & Olufsen sound systems, DVD and CD players, and free Internet. Black and white soft furnishings and unobtrusive wood built-ins are cool backdrops to the gorgeous countryside views out the windows or from the terrace. In the acres of sculpted grounds are a pool with sybaritic patios and sun terraces and, of course, a spa. The restaurant, with its vaulted roof, old olive press, and menus based on organic local produce, provides destination dining for visitors from miles around (a typical dish would be roasted suckling pig served with sides of whole sweet potatoes and beet roots). Though it seems slick and runs like clockwork, Son Brull is the baby of a local family.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca
Passeig Calvià s/n
Costa d'en Blanes
Calvià , Mallorca
Spain 07181
Tel: 34 971 629 629
reservas.mallorca@arabellastarwood.com
www.mardavall-hotel.com

Situated between the city of Palma and the Portals yacht harbor, the sprawling St. Regis resort, with its stucco exterior and barrel tile roof, opened in 2002. The hotel exudes pure Mediterranean glamour from the lobby—an all-white atrium with columns, urns, and huge windows facing the sea—onward. All 133 rooms and suites have a private terrace and views of the sea, thanks to the cliff-top location; the downside is there's no beach, but the three-tiered pool makes up for it. The rooms are spacious and comfortable and decorated in a palette of pale blue, cream, burnt ocher, and white. There's good gear, too: Bang & Olufsen flat-screen TVs, iPod docking stations, and free Wi-Fi. The marble bathrooms are large, with under-floor heating, oversize tubs, and separate shower. Dining options include Aqua, a rustic-style bistro, and the elegant Es Fum, which serves formal Mediterranean cuisine and enforces a dress code to match. There's underground access from the hotel to the 50,600-square-foot Arabella Spa, which has pretty much every treatment you can think of, including Thalasso, Anne Sémonin, and Ayurveda, as well as a traditional Chinese medicine clinic. All in all, the Mardavall is proof that big can be beautiful; unfortunately, it can feel a little impersonal, too.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Taberna del Alabardero
20 Calle Zaragoza
Seville
Spain
Tel: 34 954 502 721
hotel.albabardero@esh.es
www.tabernadelalabardero.com

Located on a narrow back street in the Arenal barrio, near the Maestranza bullring and the Guadalquivir River, the Taberna del Alabardero is a romantic, salmon-hued, 19th-century town house (formerly the home of poet Juan Antonio Cavestany). The sunny patio has wicker furniture and a fountain, and the tiled rooftop terrace overlooks the cathedral. Inside, the seven classic Andalusian rooms have parquet floors, stately 19th-century furniture, and fine linens. Each is individually decorated (opt for third-floor rooms, which have whirlpool tubs.) The excellent Taberna Del Alabardero restaurant serves upscale Andalusian food (such as beef with truffles and red wine) and a fine selection of local wines.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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Valdepalacios
Torrico
Spain 45572
Tel: 34 925 45 75 34
valdepalacios@valdepalacios.es
www.valdepalacios.es

A 90-minute drive from Madrid, the Valdepalacios is the aristocratic country inn the Spanish capital has long needed. From the farmland approach, it doesn't look like much, but inside the apricot-colored estate walls, the old manor house has been transformed with exquisite taste into a 27-room retreat as deeply comfortable as it is utterly modern. The public areas are warmed by fireplaces and dotted with antiques, and the main house's first-floor rooms feature sleek furnishings, wide-planked floors, and picture windows that offer broad views of the countryside. Past the spa, the sunny patio, and the pool are the garden cottages, their airy interiors done up in tasteful chintz. Apartment-size bathrooms feature separate tubs and showers and Molton Brown toiletries. It's like a chic English retreat—except for the restaurant, Tierra, which is overseen by star chef Santi Santamaría (of Barcelona's Can Fabes), whose olive oil tastings and crisp-skinned pork make it thoroughly, wonderfully Spanish.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
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Villa Soro
61 Avenida de Ategorrieta
San Sebastián
Spain
Tel: 34 943 297 970
info@villasoro.com
villasoro.com

The city's hottest boutique hotel, this 25-room property occupies a renovated 19th-century villa that's been designated a historic landmark. The rooms, both in the main building and the adjacent brick carriage house, are outfitted with plain, no-nonsense furnishings in muted colors, and could use a little cheering up. Still, the king-size beds have plush linens, the roomy bathrooms have separate showers and tubs, and the amenities include bicycles you can borrow to ride around town, a wonderful breakfast served in the glass-enclosed patio, and minifridges stocked with free nonalcoholic drinks and snacks. There's also a stately common lounge and a mellow bar where you can get an aperitif before heading out to dine in the city. The location outside the city center—a short bike ride from Zurriola Beach and Gros—may put off those who like to be right in the middle of things.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
W Barcelona
1 Plaça de la Rosa dels Vents
Barcelona
Spain 08039
Tel: 34 93 295 2800
whateverwhenever.wbarcelona@whotels.com
www.starwoodhotels.com/whotels/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=3183

At 26 stories high, architect Ricardo Bofill's glass-clad, sail-shaped W Barcelona hotel is a real head-turner. His bold creation, perched on the water's edge in the salty maritime district of Barceloneta, is the most beach-minded of all of Barcelona's hotels, with a full panorama of the city's (partly nudist) beach from the mezzanine-level infinity pool and sweeping views of the Mediterranean from the 473 rooms. Stylish chaise longues curve around the base of the floor-to-ceiling windows in the rooms and suites, which range from 420-square-foot Cozy rooms to 3,174-square-foot Extreme Wow suites. Room decor is unfussy, with a restrained retro vibe that extends into the gray granite WC and wet room. Much of the furniture has futuristic rounded edges, while beds sit center stage in some of the rooms (it's lovely to wake up to a view of the sky) and funky lighting casts bold hues (we like the hot pink) over the pale surroundings. The W Barcelona's public areas follow the same minimal design, but bubble seats and modular sofas in soft grape and lime green add a stylish splash of color. The top floor's Eclipse cocktail bar is more Bond-style glam, with gold sofas, octagonal tables, and killer views up the coastline. Eclipse looks likely to become a city hot spot: It already attracts international Euro-hoppers, expats, and Barcelonese trendsetters, as does the hotel's market-cuisine restaurant, run by Carles Abellán of Comerç 24 fame.—Suzanne Wales

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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The Westin Palace
7 Plaza de las Cortes
Madrid
Spain 28014
Tel: 34 91 360 8000
reservations.palacemadrid@westin.com
www.westinpalacemadrid.com

First opened in 1912, the Palace was built to impress, and the huge stained-glass rotunda on the ground floor remains a meeting place for Madrid's power players. Suites retain a traditional European feel with marble bathrooms and mahogany wardrobes, but they have been modernized to include soundproof windows, air-conditioning units (a must for Madrid's searing summers), and high-speed Internet. Art lovers will find this the perfect base, with the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Prado across the street and the Reina Sofía nearby. Ask for a room at the front facing the Neptuno fountain—the higher the better, as the top floors have great views of Madrid's ornate central post office.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Westin Valencia
16 Calle Amadeo de Saboya
Valencia
Spain 46010
Tel: 34 96 362 5900
www.starwoodhotels.com

Housed in a 1917 wool factory designed in the Modernista style (a Catalan take on Art Nouveau), the Westin's first Valencian outpost sits right near the Jardínes del Turia (a walk across the futuristic Puente de Calatrava brings you through the gardens to the city's historic center). We love the fabulously preserved exterior and verdant courtyard garden, and the Art Deco touches in the rooms, but the long carpeted corridors, soft background music, and bland shopping vitrines remind us it's just a chain. But those trademark Westin Heavenly Beds are indeed good, and there's also a spa, a gym, five meeting rooms, and a ballroom that holds 400—so it's no surprise that this is a popular choice for conferences and business travelers.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.