About Me

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I'm a 30 something who loves to travel.  I have a full time job and enjoy writing (or blogging) about my travels.  I've traveled through several countries in Europe as well as Russia and Egypt.  I also enjoy domestic travel in the United States, including Disney.  My long term travel goal is to do a round the world trip.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Barcelona Hotels

Trying to pick a hotel for my pre and post cruise stay in Barcelona was an exercise in torturing myself.  As much as I love to plan travel, I also obsess about every little detail.  I ended up staying at different hotels before and after my cruise, mostly because I couldn't made a decision.

How I chose the hotels was I started with a search on internet for where other cruise passengers were staying in Barcelona, this brought me mostly to Cruisecritic.com, I also got some leads from friends and on Twitter.  I made a list of all the hotels, checked their prices (I didn't want to spend more then $200 a night) and locations.  I eliminated anything too far from Las Ramblas (tourist center) and over $200 a night.  Then I went to Trip Advisor.  Most places had good ratings, but I was able to elimiate a few with Trip Advisor.  I do not go by one or two reviews, but try to get an overall view, I specifically looked at comments from people who were traveling by themselves as these travelers would have similar concerns as I did - safety.

Taxi to and from these hotels and the port was 10-12 euro.

I eventually decided on Hotel Continental (3 Stars) and Hotel Colon (4 Stars).  Both hotels were nice, and suited my needs just fine.  The Colon was the nicer of the two, but it was also the better rated and more expensive hotel.  I would happily stay at either hotel again if I was visiting Barcelona.

Hotel Colon
The Hotel Colon is located in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, a 5 minute walk from La Rambla.  It's across the square from the Cathedral, it's a very nice location, quieter then Las Ramblas, but still lively.  On Sundays there is a flea market in the square. 

The service at the hotel was wonderful.  When my taxi pulled up the doorman helped me out of the taxi and with getting my luggage up the steps to the front desk.  The doormen did not speak much English, but enough and were always friendly and polite.  At the front desk everyone spoke English and were very helpful.  They took my luggage to a storage room since my room was not ready, and it magically appeared in my room when I returned that afternoon. 

The room itself was decorated with flowery wallpaper and a matching chair.  The bathroom had a full supply of toiletries, and included a hairdryer.  The bed was comfortable and there was a flat screen TV, perfect for watching the end of the soccer match - Barcelona vs Manchester United - Barcelona won.  My only complaint about the hotel is that even though they had wireless internet I couldn't get it to work reliably on my Ipad, fortunately I wasn't there enough to bother figureing out what the problem was..  Breakfast at the hotel was expensive, but there was a bakery and a Starbucks across the street. 

Hotel Colon Bathroom
The Hotel Continenetal was located at the Plaza Catalunya end of La Ramblas (the nicer end of La Ramblas), about a block from Plaza Catalunya.  This hotel was convenient if you want to take the Aerobus from the airport.  I taxi will cost 30-40 euro.  The hotel shares a building with a hostel, though I never saw anyone go to the hostel, nor did it seem to bring down the hotel.  I would describe this as a Rick Steves special (it is a Rick Steves recommendation).  A 3 star tourist hotel - basic, clean hotel in a touristy location at a good price, but nothing fancy.
Hotel Continental

The staff was very friendly and helpful, they all spoke English.  The hotel offered complimentary internet which worked, and had a couple computers for guests to use.  There was a 24 hour buffet and a seating area with TV.  The only food I ate was bread and cereal, the rest of the food didn't look very appealling.  They also had free beer, wine and soda and I hear the beer was good.  The hotel overlooks Las Ramblas and has a balcony in the public area for those who do not have a balcony in their own room.

The room was small - by hotel standards, not by cruise ship standards, but it was a single room with a full size bed.  It had ugly wallpaper, a pink bedspread, and the furniture was Rubbermaid plastic drawer units with nice tops.  The bathroom was old and could use some sprucing up but it was clean.  All the towels were pink, matching the hotel's pink theme.  The bath tub was very high (typical in European hotels in my experience) and my friend with bad knees did struggle getting in and out of the tub.  I couldn't get the air conditioning to work, it was warm there, but not hot so I didn't even bother asking the front desk about it.
Rubbermaid Dresser

Bathroom at Hotel Continenetal
Overall both hotels were very good and I would happily stay at either one.  Hotel Colon was a nicer hotel, it had a great price for the services offered so I would say that was a better value (depending on what you value).  The Hotel Continental attracts a lot of cruisers, so if you're taking a cruise it might be a nice place to stay as you may run into other cruisers during your stay.  If you're looking for a more relaxing beach type stay in Barcelona then I would consider staying in the Barcelonetta area by the beach, it's a lovely area.