The Locals: Barcelona


Tell us a little about yourself – how long have you lived in Barcelona and what do you do for a living?

My name is Natalia Swarz, I am a designer ( illustrator ( and founder of Hotel Weekend ( I moved to Barcelona in 2014.

What brought you to Barcelona and what keeps you?

I finished school in 2014 and came straight to Barcelona to do a masters degree. I studied Fashion Management. After a few months, I got a job making prints for Zara, Mango, and InditexOne year later, I changed to another brand and started designing handbags at a luxury brand.  Now, I work as a full-time freelance doing design and writing for Hotel Weekend. I guess what keeps me here is the sun, beach, marvelous architecture, and the magic that the city has!

If we had one day in Barcelona, where would you take us for breakfast, coffee, and dinner? 

Breakfast: I would go to Satan’s coffee, inside one of my favorite hotels, Casa Bonay. Other options would be Granja Petit Bo, Brunch & Cake, Federal café... Coffee lovers should go to Nomad Coffee, in the bohemian neighborhood, Born.

For dinner, I would suggest going tapa-hoping. Try different tapas at different places, just choose one neighborhood! There’s so much to eat in Barcelona that one day will never be enough. Betlem is amazing, Cerveceria Catalana, but it gets really busy too. In San Antoni I love Taranná. Always ask for a caña or cava to go with your tapas. Another place I love is the Poble Sec neighborhood, so maybe you can walk Carrer del Blai and decide where to stop until you end up at Hotel Brummell, where you can have exotic and delicious cocktails. If you want to have a more fancy dinner, go to Il Giardinetto. The place is so inspiring.

What are your favorite shopping gems? 

Impossible if you want to buy design objects, magazines, and cameras. A hidden gem in the Born neighborhood is Inventory, you will find here the most beautiful stationary, home goods, art, and more. The owner is always there, they offer beautiful handmade frames for art or prints, so you’ll see him working on that!

What’s your go-to drinking spot?

Paradiso is a speakeasy place behind a Pastrami bar. They have the most delicious exotic cocktails, each of them is a work of art! Bocachica/Bocagrande is also a great cocktail spot.

Where do you go to unwind? 

I love hiking in Montjuic. The view is unbeatable.

When you travel do you like:  mountains, beaches or cities? 

I’ve always been a beach type of person. I dream with the Maldives, Philippines, Bali, Australia… I also love cities, I visit Paris very often and NY and London are always amazing.  Now that I think about it, I should go to the mountains more often! I grew up in a city, Cali, where you go to the mountains every weekend. The city is very hot, so on the weekends you try to escape; the mountains are just 20 minutes away. Barcelona also has this, but I don’t have a car so it’s harder to get there!

Describe Barcelona in three words. 

Bohemian. Creative. Inspiring.

Does living there inspire you? And if so, how? 

A lot! I love walking, you get to discover so many places. For example, the inside of some residential buildings are gorgeous. Tiles are all over the city. The flower tiles that are on the floors of the city were designed by Antoni Gaudi…so you’re always walking on a work of art!

What are some under the radar must – do recommendations for a visitor? 

Stay at Hotel Brummell, in Poble Sec. If you love architecture, you can visit Ricardo Bofill’s “La Fabrica“, and the Walden building.  If you’re visiting during May-Sept, escape to Sitges, it’s a 30minute train ride!



Accessories Designer & Founder of Hôtel Weekend based in Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain


Natalia’s Favorites 

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