Saturday, September 16, 2006

Where not to stay in Barcelona

Travel writers rarely get to complain, at least not in print. Newspaper travel sections and glossy magazines exist to entice people to go places and spend money, not convince them to stay home and horde their cash. So you learn pretty quickly that editors want snazzy and upbeat, not depressing and whiny.

But that's the beauty of a blog.

I was in Barcelona this week, and since my favorite hotel (favorite when I'm paying, that is; otherwise it's no contest) was booked, I decided to try a new place, the Hotel Olivia Plaza.

That's it above. Looks nice, right? In some ways it was: good location smack in the Plaza de Catalunya. Stylish, not too expensive, and the chenille coverlets are a nice touch. But trust me when I say that these people have no idea what they're doing.

I suspect they decided to open a hip little hotel without ever stopping to think that someone might actually stay there. How else to explain the stained floor coverings (made of some unrecognizable material that felt like woven plastic) in a hotel that has only been open for six months? How else to make sense of the fancy, plate-sized showerhead...surrounded by a huge mold stain? The sophisticated track lights dim nicely, but won't actually turn off unless you take your key card out of the slot. Which means, of course, that you can't turn them on again without slapping around blindly in the dark in search first of your keycard and then the damn slot. See those hipster-retro globe lamps hanging by the bed there? Turn the air conditioning on, and the current will keep them knocking into each other all night. Add a maid who, without knocking, lets herself into the room at 8:00 am while you are dressing, and you have an all around bang-up experience.

Did I mention that there are no soap dishes? Nice little toiletry sets, but no place to put the soap. Which, being the exact size and shape of a golf ball, rolls.

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Anonymous said...

Very useful entry. There is one place in Barcelona that I recommend to everybody, it's not too expensive and it's a really nice hotel. It's located somewhere near Gracia so the area is a good one.

Almendra said...

Thanks for the recommendation.