My wife and I stayed 3 nights at the Alma Barcelona in the first week of June, 2013. I would recommend this hotel for anyone wanting to stay in a quiet, classy, upscale neighborhood, only a short walk or Metro ride to many of the most popular sights, but away from the tourist crowds on La Rambla. There were many positives about Alma, most of which have been mentioned in previous reviews:
• Friendly, Sincere Service – the Alma staff are warm, friendly, and sincere. From the moment you are offered water or free Cava at check-in to the moment they call you a cab upon departure, each staff member we had contact with did all they could do to make our stay an enjoyable one, and made you feel welcome. The front desk staff patiently answered my many questions, and assisted with booking tickets to sites and tours, without making you feel rushed or as if they were being bothered.
• Convenient, Upscale Neighborhood – The Alma is located a block from La Passage de Gracia, an upscale shopping and restaurant neighborhood. The hotel is only a block from Gaudi’s famous Casa Mila, a few blocks from the Block of Discord, and about a 10 minute walk to Sagrada Familia. The hotel is only a couple blocks from two metro stations on the L3 (green) line – Passeig de Gracia at the Block of Discord, and Diagonal near Gaudi’s Casa Mila. The neighborhood is quiet, feels very safe, and is far less crowded with tourists than we found in the Barri Gottic (Gothic Quarter) and on La Rambla. There are several nearby breakfast cafes and restaurants for lunch or dinner.
• Beautiful clean, modern rooms and property – we really enjoyed using the fingerprint keycard as opposed to digging around or worrying about losing our keys. The rooms are modern, very clean, with huge showers and quartz sinks (see pics). The toilet is in a separate closet. The blinds block out all noise and light, the beds are very comfortable, and slippers and robes are provided. Our room (Room 605) looked out over the courtyard and Casa Mila’s rooftop (see pics).
• Free minibar – the mini bar offered complimentary water, beer and juices, and ours was re-stocked each day.
• Peaceful interior courtyard – we enjoyed a drink at night in the quiet, interior tree-filled courtyard (see pics). Based on the above, I would give the Alma a 5 star rating and highly recommend this hotel. However, there were a few minor issues that caused me to rate the hotel 4 stars.
o Dim lighting - The rooms and hallway are not well-lit. That didn’t bother me, as I felt it added to the luxurious, modern feel. However, my wife found it difficult to apply her makeup at the bathroom sink with the available light.
o Lack of Privacy When Showering - the bed is separated from the sink and glass-door shower by a partition that runs only to the end of the bed. If you are traveling with someone and want privacy while showering, your roommate would need to stay on the other side of the partition or leave the room. Also, if you are showering in the morning, you have to turn on a light to shower, which would likely wake light sleepers.
o Breakfast is not included.
o There is no drawer space for your clothes.
o No coffee maker in the room - I think this is typical of many hotels in Spain and Europe. You had to order room service or buy a cup of coffee in the breakfast area in the lobby. There are a few breakfast cafes and a Starbuck’s within 2-3 blocks of the hotel, but I think in a hotel this nice the management should provide a small coffee maker in each room.
o Go to Sagrada Familia around 1:30 or later to avoid crowds, and buy tickets in advance from your hotel or ATMs at many La Caixa bank branches.
o Take a 2 hour walking tour of the Gothic Quarter. One of the most enjoyable and interesting things we did in Barcelona was learning the history of the city in this interesting tour. Buy your tickets at the T1 at the Placa de Sant Jaume. Our tour started at 9:30 a.m., but the times may vary depending on the time of the year.
o Avoid La Rambla until the end of your stay in Barcelona, and walk it either early morning or later in the evening. The street is very touristy, crowded from the cruise ship passengers, and can be claustrophobic. If this is the first area you explore in Barcelona, you may miss other sites and have an unfair and incomplete view of Barcelona.
o Take the Metro. The Metro is easy to figure out, efficient, cheap and can save you much time walking long distances between the different parts of the city. The T10 Card is a great deal, about 8.25 Euros for 10 rides. It is shareable, good on all Metro and local bus lines, as well as the RENFE train lines (including rides to the airport and train station). Cabs are also very affordable.
o Visit Monsterrat if you have a third day in Barcelona. It is well worth the day it takes to visit this monastery in the mountains an hour and a half north of Barcelona. If you do visit, to avoid what can be huge crowds - both on the train ride to the monastery and at the monastery, go as early as possible, or plan to arrive there around 2:00 p.m., when the crowds subside. We made the mistake of leaving from Barcelona’s Placa d’Espanya around 10:00 a.m. The train ride to Monsterrat was so full we had to stand, packed in like sardines, the entire hour and a half train ride.
o If you visit Park Guell, do so late in the afternoon around two hours before it closes, when the crowds disappear. To save a long walk uphill from the bus or Metro station, I recommend taking a cab that drops you off right at the main entrance for around 8 Euros from the city center.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The AlmaBarcelona hotel is housed in an elegant building which dates back to the start of the 20th Century. Located right in the heart of Barcelona, just a few metres from the famous Passeig de Gràcia. With its proximity to the Batlló house, La Pedrera, Las Ramblas, Plaza Catalunya, Barcelona Cathedral, Palau de la Música, L'Auditori and numerous other popular tourist attractions, the AlmaBarcelona has one of the best locations in the city. Its 72 rooms are separated into classical and modernist accommodation, providing an interior unlike any other. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Alma Barcelona Hotel Barcelona
- Alma Barcelona Catalonia