We’re a Holiday Inn Express kinda folk. We like to know what to expect when we book a hotel, and we like to have a good feeling for the value we’re about to get for our money. It makes sense, then, that we were a little on the skeptical side when we booked our recent two night stay at the Hotel Continental in Barcelona, Spain.
We were flying in from Florida, planning to catch a ship in Barcelona for an Atlantic crossing voyage back to Florida and wanted to spend a day in Barcelona first, just looking the city over. We wanted to stay downtown somewhere and all the reviews suggested that the Hotel Continental might be a good choice.
When we landed at the airport in Barcelona, we were greeted by a driver that was previously booked and paid for. Our previous experience with folks in Barcelona was that not everyone spoke English, and we wanted to have an easy trip to the hotel after traveling all night. We were tired and severely jet lagged. The driver was a good call. He spoke absolutely no English, but already knew where he was taking us, so there was no problem getting to the hotel.
Our arrival on Las Rambles Street was at about 8:00 PM on a Friday night. The lights were just starting to come on and people were definitely out and about starting to enjoy their evening; a true lively and vibrant part of the city.
The hotel doesn’t look like much from the street. In fact, we had to sort of look for it to verity that we were in the right spot. The driver kept pointing to his GPS, indicating that we were here, and once we actually walked up and faced the entrance, we could see that we were indeed at the entrance to the hotel.
Upon entering, you’re faced with a small stairway on the left and a very small elevator directly in front. It’s big enough to hold two people and their baggage. Pressing the #1 button in the elevator, we were taken two flights up to the lobby of the hotel where we were able to check in. It seems that the hotel, as with other businesses of this type on Las Rambles, is situated on the third floor and above. Other street level businesses, cafes, clothing shops, tourist goods, and so on are on the ground level.
The clerk, as with all the clerks we spoke with during our two night stay, spoke excellent English; probably a couple of other languages too.
Our room was small. How small was it? Consider that we spend most of our time in our 5th wheel trailer and we thought the room was small. But it was certainly as functional as we needed. There was a small but complete bathroom (even had a bidet), a bedroom that was a little bigger than the queen sized bed, and a “sitting” area that was big enough for dressing and had enough room to store our bags.
WiFi was complimentary and quite good. We checked it at a little over 10Mb down and 1.5Mb up with 113Ms latency, for those of you who care. We were easily able to make Skype calls back to the states with excellent quality.
There was complimentary food in the lobby 24/7. We can’t say with experience that it was good because we didn’t try any of it, preferring instead to eat at the cafes along Las Rambles. But most folks in the hotel were using the service, and seemed to be enjoying it. One temptation was the availability of Gelato, 24/7. Truthfully, the food they offered was more complete than any hotel we’ve stayed in anywhere, and looked to be of reasonably good quality. There were two sitting areas too; one near the front where your could see out the windows and look down on Las Rambles as the people walked by, and one in an inner court where there was a more intimate atmosphere.
Did I mention that the rooms were pink? We knew this in advance because all the reviews mentioned it, and it’s true. The chairs had pink covers, the bedspread was mostly pink and the wall paper – that was on every wall, floor to ceiling, including the hallways, was made with a pink and green theme. Quite unusual.
The staff didn’t know when the building was built, but we’re guessing that it was probably mid 1800s. The plumbing and electrical seemed to be an afterthought. Speaking of electrical, they of course use the standard two-prong European 240 volt plugs. They had a few adapters in the lobby for the Americans who didn’t remember to plan ahead.
Our room faced into a court, or central shaft in the building. While we would have preferred to have a balcony facing Las Rambles, this interior room offered a quiet and peaceful night’s sleep. There are advantages to both. Next time we stay here, and we probably will stay here again at some point in the future, we’ll specifically request a room with a balcony facing the street, just to mix it up a little.
So the question is, would we recommend this hotel for folks staying in Barcelona? The answer of course is definitely yes! As tourists visiting this city for a short time, we wanted to be downtown within easy access to the major tourist areas and this hotel certainly meets this requirement. The staff was polite and competent, the hotel – while not particularly modern – certainly had all the amenities you could need. Well, for us, it had all that we needed. It provided a safe place to stay in the middle of town, reasonably good food, great WiFi, and helpful staff. There was a taxi stand just outside, so when it came time to leave and head over to our ship, we were able to utilize our few words of Spanish and point to our documents that showed the name of the ship and so on, and we were on our way.
When walking along Las Rambles, we noticed several nice looking hotels. There is definitely a choice when you come to this city and we certainly recommend that you seriously consider the Hotel Continental if you want a good place to stay with a great flavor of Barcelona.
Here are a few images we made of the Hotel Continental and the room we were in. Enjoy!