Intrigued by a hotel named Hotel Victoria Palace with only two stars and persuaded by past positive reviews, I booked three nights. Photos of the boutique accommodation belied a certain charm. Besides, accommodation rarely contributes to the quality of my trips, so as long as it didn’t detract the quality of my sleep, I would be satisfied…
J and I were able to get by without using public transport aside from airport transfers, which were very convenient. Ambling to Sagrada Familia and onward to Parc Güell and back for a siesta before eating dinner around Barceloneta was tiring, but manageable. The location was perfect for visiting Gaudì’s Casa Mila and Casa Batllò but not near to most restaurant recommendations from our local friend.
Side note: The hotel is not clearly marked, so make sure you know the address. Memorizing the door also helps.
For information about more activities and inner-city transportation, take a look at this Barcelona Travel Guide.
The male working the night-time shift was not overtly friendly but helpful enough. (We saw him in the lobby smoking a cigarette during his shift, which I thought was unprofessional.) The female attending the desk during the day was very pleasant and the cleaning staff honored my written request for a new blanket. The best gesture of hospitality, however, were the Ositos Bienvenidos – a packet of “little welcome [gummy] bears.”
With anything less than a TV, hairdryer and tea/coffee kettle, I wouldn’t have booked. (It was strange they only provided chamomile tea, though.) Most of the services/ amenities had some sort of caveat…
The Espresso machine in the lobby was only accessible for a few hours in the morning; the wi-fi only worked in the lobby; and the shower seemed new but the hot water occasionally ran out. (Plus I missed the option to take a bath.) And there was a huge water heater for the shower, but no way to control the room temperature.
A small pro is that we saved a euro each by booking our tickets to Casa Batllò through the front desk. We paid a small fee at the desk, jumped in an express line and paid the balance at the attraction. A euro saved is a euro earned, I guess.
Furnishings & Aesthetic: 4/5
The hotel had a run-down splendor. I loved the aesthetic of Royal Victoria Palace with its once decadent lobby and our superior double room. The closet was a bit shabby in comparison to the other furniture, but most importantly the bed was very comfortable. (Not too soft!)
However, while I liked the look of the tile, I would have been extremely uncomfortable without slippers.
I am not entirely sure this is an accurate rating since I stopped inspecting for cleanliness on the second day, but I noticed that the corners were not swept thoroughly. I found many hairs in my extra blanket, so I requested a new one. The staff obliged, but I found crusty white splotches on the replacement – like dried Alfredo sauce if I’m being optimistic. I also found similar white splotches on J’s extra blanket… Ew. I folded them on the inside and took comfort that at least the sheets were clean.
But speaking of sheets, they were only changed once during our three-night stay, which is great for the environment, though multiple washings would have made me feel better considering the blanket situation…
The walls at Hotel Victoria Palace were incredibly thin, so we could hear our obnoxious neighbors quite well and an cacophonous drone from other guests drying their hair. One of the tiles was loose. The bathroom door was almost impossible to slide open and shut. There were water stains on some of the wood and a huge stain on the lampshade. There was a musty sort of smell, and a sickly sweet smell over a lingering smell of cigarette smoke (though the room is non-smoking…) The hotel experienced its glory days a long time ago.
We saved £40 (about €55) by booking at Hotel Victoria Palace instead of another hotel, which was great. However, we did not receive anything above and beyond what we paid for.
Hotel Victoria Palace deserves its 2 star hotel rating. I definitely do not recommend if you are staying for more than 3 nights. I enjoyed the once glamorous accommodation, but we did sacrifice comfort. Next time I will consider spending a bit more on comfort.