Room Mate Emma

Eixample, Barcelona, Spain Book from

A friendly, contemporary hotel with a great central location - ideal for exploring the Catalan capital
Enrique Sarasola launched his first Room Mate hotel in 2003 and since then the chain has opened over 15 outposts worldwide. Emma, one of their Barcelona offerings, is set in the heart of stylish Eixample, a stroll away from the designer boutiques and chic street cafés of Rambla de Catalunya and Passeig de Gràcia, and a short walk from the city's main sights.

Behind a space-age façade dreamt up by local architect Nadal Moneo, a startlingly modern reception with pod-like sofas and Triffid-style lamps sets the scene. You're given a warm welcome by the hip staff, before a gleaming lift whisks you to one of 9 floors, where minimalist rooms await. Masterminded by top Madrid disco and restaurant designer Tomás Alía, their décor is futuristic and funky: bright purple throws across dais-style beds, low-key strip lighting, white leather modular furniture and curly-wurly decorative murals. Spaceship-style corridors lead down to the breakfast room, where lamps dangle low over plastic bucket tables and chairs. The hot pink walls and mosaic-style ceiling may startle tired morning eyes, but although it's all very trendy, it's a comfortable and relaxed hotel, too.


  • If you book early, it's great value for money (rates increase in proportion to occupancy)
  • Excellent and friendly service - you can ask staff for local restaurant recommendations, and you'll know whether to take out a brolly or sunhat thanks to a daily weather report delivered to your room
  • Large-ish rooms for a city-centre hotel, with young, contemporary design, a bit of gadgetry and a clever use of space
  • There's a cornucopia of great shops, bars and nightclubs on your doorstep, and the Barri Gòtic, Las Ramblas and Plaça de Catalunya are all an easy stroll away
  • You can laze in bed because breakfast is served until 12 noon - a tasty and varied buffet that's well worth the small additional cost


  • Some rooms have internal windows with no natural light; others look out over the street, so you'll have to keep the windows shut against the noise
  • The swirly-whirly design and bright colours might date quickly and aren't to everyone's taste - keep the lights low and they lose their power to irritate
  • No tea and coffee in your room, and no room service, although some drinks are available in the lobby downstairs
  • You can hear the rumble of the metro in the ground-floor rooms
  • Bathroom doors are made of glass, so you need to be comfortable around your room partner

Best time to go

Barcelona is a great city to visit at any time of year, but if you’re seeking a maximum of activities, come between June and September when the main festivals occur, including the multimedia Sonar Festival in mid-June and the Fiesta de la Virgen de la Merced (with human towers, traditional dancing and local music) on 24 September. If you can’t stand the heat, but don’t want to paddle around in the rain, visit in May or October.

Our top tips

Chocaholics will love the Chocolate Museum near Parc de la Ciutadella, which has vast edible statues and scenes from recent movies laid out in chocolate.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
City Style
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 56
  • Breakfast only (+ restaurants nearby)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
Room: Standard Room


Based on the premise that people don't go to cities to spend time in their hotel, the 56 rooms boast rather sparse minimalist décor, with modular white furniture, white or purple walls, Japanese-style dais beds, and suffused light from wall panels above the bed or funky angular lamps placed around the room. That said, creature comforts are catered for in the form of complimentary WiFi, flat-screen satellite TVs with international channels, and stereos that link to radio stations and the hotel's sound system.

If you want to feel the city’s buzz, or like to have a view, choose a room overlooking the night-owl-favoured Carrer Rosselló. Windows are well-soundproofed, but expect to hear a police siren or 2 around dawn on weekends. If you’re seeking peace then ask for a room at the back - these face onto patios and brick walls, but are blissfully quiet. Standard Rooms have 'internal' windows which let in light but can't be opened, though ventilation systems allow air to circulate.

The Standard and Deluxe rooms are the smallest, yet clever space management means they avoid feeling cramped. Their white-tiled ensuites have power showers and nice toiletries for a spot of pampering - though be warned that the bathroom doors are glass, so there's no space for modesty. If you can afford the extra spend, it's definitely worth upgrading to a Penthouse room; the Penthouse with Terrace, Penthouse Suite and Penthouse Deluxe are all delightful, with bathtubs, robes and slippers, private grey-tiled terraces with views over the chimney pots, and blissfully cooling outdoor showers. The Penthouse Deluxe even has an outdoor Jacuzzi to soak in.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cots Available
  • Desk
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Stereo linked to hotel's sound system
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


With a good range of fresh fruit juices, cereals and yoghurts, you can eat a healthy breakfast - or you can make like the Catalans and opt for sticky pastries, chilled potato tortillas, meat and cheese slices. Either way, with a buffet served until noon, you can take your time and make it a long, lazy affair.

For other meals, you're spoilt for choice, thanks to Room Mate Emma's great location close to 2 of the city’s main arteries. Restaurants around the Passeig de Gràcia tend to be exclusive, expensive affairs, but if budget is no object make a beeline for Jordi Herrera’s Manairó (Diputació 424) and order the 9-course tasting menu, which includes bizarrely scrumptuous delights like bacalao iluminado (cod cooked under a lightbulb) and meat cooked al clavo ardiente (on red-hot spikes).

More modest budgeteers should stroll along the buzzing Rambla de Catalunya to Taller de Tapas (#49-51), one of a chain of tapas restaurants serving specialities such as artichokes fried in Asturian cider and filling lobster stew.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating: Breakfast room
Activity: La Pedrera


  • Stroll along the leafy Passeig de Gràcia and admire the wacky architecture of Gaudí’s La Pedrera and Casa Batlló, whilst enjoying some retail therapy in Hermès, MaxMara and other exclusive stores
  • Sniff out delicious fragrances at the Museu del Perfum (Passeig de Gràcia 39)
  • Form your own opinion of the Sagrada Familia, the unfinished Gaudí basilica that tends to polarise opinion into either admiration or disdain. Afterwards, head to Park Güell - a Unesco-listed site - which was also designed by Gaudí
  • Gawp at paintings, sculptures, books and engravings by the famous Catalan artist at the Fundació Antoni Tàpies
  • Explore the winding medieval alleyways of the Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter), then wander along Las Ramblas to see street artists weaving their magic. Keep walking down and you'll reach the seafront (Port Vell), lined with restaurants. Stroll along the promenade, then take a dip in the sea from Barceloneta beach close by
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) in the Raval quarter is excellent, as is the Picasso Museum in the Barri Gòtic and the Fundació Joan Miró on the top of Montjuïc hill
  • Visit Mies van der Rohe’s modernist Barcelona Pavilion and the Museu Nacional d’Arte de Catalunya (MNAC), both built as part of the Great Universal Exhibition of 1929, then watch the evening Font Màgica (‘Magic Fountain’) light and music display in Plaça Carles Buïgas (times vary according to season, so check in advance)
  • Bar-hop in Eixample or the trendy district of El Born - hotel staff can advise on the latest hotspots

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming


The hotel welcomes children and can provide an extra bed or a baby cot in the Superior Rooms on request (free for children aged 0-12, with a small charge for those aged 13+), but be warned that Room Mate Emma attracts a young crowd who tend to be noisy coming home in the early hours.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

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