Considered as a jewel of Catalonian modernism, is a 4 stars hotel decorated by Lluís Domenech i Montaner in the early 20th Century.
The building occupied by the hotel was constructed in 1850 and was initially devoted to rented apartments, shops and a bathing-house. It was in January 1859 that its use changed and became the Fonda de España.
An advertisement published on 30 December 1858 in the Diario de Barcelona advertised the imminent opening of the Fonda España, promising attentive service and superb rooms with completely new furniture, with food served both on the premises and in the customer's own home.
In 1863, the first advertisements for the boarding house began to appear in various guidebooks of the period, highlighting the quality of the rooms and furnishings, the excellent service and its central location, as well as its size and its notable quality, marking it out as a first class establishment in the last third of the nineteenth century.
In 1888, at the time of the Barcelona International Exhibition, the leading boarding houses in the city, including La Fonda de España, began to call themselves “hotel”, a French word with connotations of quality and service not normally associated with traditional boarding houses.
In January 1898, Miquel Salvadó, the owner of La Fonda at that time, requested an initial permit to carry out renovation work on the interior and partitioning walls on the ground floor. It was followed by a second permit in November 1900 to carry out partitioning work on some interior patios. On a third permit in 1901 a lift with an electric motor was installed.
It was during these years that the renovation work planned by Lluís Domènech i Montaner was undertaken and completed in 1903, and, the following year, received the best commercial establishment of the year award for Architecture and Decor, conferred by Barcelona City Council.
Many of the most highly skilled artists of the day were involved in the Hotel España project. Domènech i Montaner commissioned the painter Ramón Casas to undertake the sgraffito decoration of the dining room, which was known at the time as La Pecera (the Fishbowl) and is currently called Salón de las Sirenas (the Sirens Lounge), and the sculptor Eusebi Arnau, who sculpted the five-metre high alabaster fireplace in the meeting room.
The renovation work meant that the Hotel was included in several travel guides of the time, even in France, where it was described as a first-class hotel “avec tout le confort moderne” (offering modern comfort).