Hotel Catalonia Avinyó

At first, we loved the location, free wi-fi and the great little coffee lounge adjacent to the lobby.  Modern, groovy styling throughout?  Certainly impressive.  And this being the final stop on a three-country trip through Europe, we were even okay with paying the somewhat inflated room rate...  But, coming from past shared experience working in the boutique hotel industry, your Set of Drifters tend to notice faults pretty quickly.  And the number one rule so many boutique hotels break is "style over functionality."  Trust us, it doesn't do anyone any favors.  Just because something looks fabulous does not mean that it is fabulous, or apparently, that it will even work!

Unfortunately, the breaking of this cardinal rule was blaringly obvious during our stay at the Hotel Catalonia Avinyó in Barcelona.

While the interior of our hotel room had some clear glass panels that soaked in light from the starling lobby area outside, the room itself had no actual windows to the outside!  That would have been okay if we would have had some kind of proper ventilation, but we didn't.  And because our room consistently smelled like mildew thanks to poorly-designed shower, we often found ourselves propping the door open just to get some air!  Bad design all around.

The Hotel Catalonia Avinyó may not be a bad option for a one-night stay (particularly if you are lucky enough to catch the Eurovision song competition on the telly like we did), but if you are visiting BCN for more than that, we would recommend more substantial accommodations.

That being said, there are a couple pluses...  Close to the beaucoup shopping of La Rambla, the evocative beauty of La Ribera and the non-stop party of Barceloneta Beach, this hotel is in a great location on Avinyó Street in the heart of the Barri Gòtic (or Gothic Quarter)If you are in the neighborhood and are hankering for a coffee or small breakfast, the Hotel Catalonia Avinyó lounge is actually quite charming.

At night however, the Barri Gòtic has a reputation of being a little bit dodgy - as your Set of Drifters can attest to!  On our final night in town, a group of ruffians tried to fleece us out of our wallets!  While we were ultimately able to fend them off without losing a single euro, the experience left us with a bad taste in our mouths for the area around the Avinyó.  In other words, be careful!  (For more on the pick-pockets of Barcelona, see "essentials.")    

Hotel Catalonia Avinyó - Carrer Avinyó, 16, 08002 Barcelona, 011 (34) 932 70 21 70

Also recommended by "Honorary Drifters" Sara & Steve:

Hotel Actual - Carrer del Rosselló, 238, 08008 Barcelona, 011 (34) 935 52 05 50,