FAQ: General Barcelona hotel questions

What will your hotel be like in Barcelona? Elevator? Smoking? Breakfast? The most common questions are answered below.

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Are hotel receptions always open?

Most proper hotels, such as three-star Acta Splendid, will have a 24-hour reception, but don’t expect the same from non-hotels (hostals, hostels, B&Bs, pensions), which may have irregular hours or simply close early. If they do close early, the hotel will provide you with keys to come and go at will.

It's important to know what hours the reception keeps before booking. For example, if your flight gets into Barcelona late you will not want to book with Barcelona Rooms, which closes the reception for the day at 9 p.m. Many B&Bs and pensions will ask you what time you plan to arrive and then wait for you or come specifically to check you in if you’re arriving at a strange time. If this is the case, try to be on time or call if there is a delay.

Are hotels safe? Any tips? Safest neighborhoods?

Generally, Barcelona is a safe city. The neighborhoods that experience the most trouble with theft and con-games are El Raval, around Las Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter. This is because there are many tourists in these areas, and tourists attract pickpockets. Therefore, non-touristy areas are generally "safer."

Stay in the Eixample (especially the right side) for a more local, quite experience. Uptown near Diagonal and Gracia are also good options, as is La Ribera for the most part.

Can I arrive early / leave bags?

Most of the time there should not be any issue with leaving your bags prior to check-in and after checkout. Nearly all hotels and non-hotels have a locked room where your bags will be safe.

That said, use your own judgement. Is the room where bags are stored always locked? Or are there guests going in and out retrieving and dropping off bags? Some hostals, such as Hostal Fernando, have large luggage lockers for guests to rent.

Can you smoke in hotels in Barcelona?

Nope. There is no smoking in hotels, bars or restaurants in Barcelona.

Do hotels have elevators in Barcelona?

Some do and some don’t. Proper hotels will have elevators while budget non-hotels might not.

Pension Mari-Luz, for example, is a lovely pension in the Gothic Quarter which unfortunately does not have an elevator. Then there are hostals such as Barcelona Rooms which does have an elevator, but the elevator does not reach all the hostal’s floors. If it is important to you to have a lift, ask ahead or book directly at a three-star hotel.

Do hotels have Wi-Fi? Is it free?

Again, this depends. These days many hotels and non-hotels offer free Wi-Fi. If that Wi-Fi works well in your room is another question, best answered looking over the reviews previous guests have left. Ironically, it is more common for hotels to charge for Wi-Fi (by the hour or by the day) than it is for non-hotels, which often give it away for free.

If you don’t wish to pay for Wi-Fi at your hotel, there are many, many cafes and bars that provide free Internet. There are also public Internet points throughout the city and of course there’s alway the good old library. For more on this, read our post about where to find free Wi-Fi in Barcelona.

Do hotel receptionists speak English in Barcelona?

At the very least, the receptionist should speak English in a hotel. However, in smaller, family-run pensions and hostals your only option might be Spanish and Catalan (and lots of body language).

Do you pay for children in hotels? What about beds for children?

Depending on the age of the child, there may be a fee or not. Can the child sleep in a small crib, or does the child need a bed? Ask ahead or look carefully when booking. Smaller children who don't require their own proper bed can usually be accommodated without an extra charge.

Ask ahead about extra beds and cots, as well. At Hotel Astoria, for example, cots are provided free of charge, while other hotels charge a small amount for a cot.

How big are the hotels in Barcelona?

Predominantly, the hotels, hostals, pensions and hostels listed on EuroCheapo are mid-size or smaller. Astoria Hotel has 114 rooms, making it one of the largest. Barcelona Rooms has just 30 rooms, and Hostal Laussanne has 17 rooms.

While hotels like Astoria have cafes, bars, ample lobbies and maybe even a pool, smaller non-hotels don’t have cafes and certainly won’t have pools. They might, however, have pleasant community chill-out areas or lounges. For example, the Hostel One Paralelo has a handy kitchen area and a big terrace with a hot tub for guests, and Hostel HelloBCN has a restaurant, bar and ping-pong table in a massive lounge area.

How do you reserve a room?

Generally, rooms can be booked online with a credit card. One you do a search on EuroCheapo, you will see the lowest room rate offered by one of our reservation partners. Click through to book with the reservation agency. 

In some cases, EuroCheapo recommends hotels that do not offer online reservations. For these, you'll need to either email or phone the call, or click through to reserve on the hotel's Web site. (This information can be found under "more information" at the bottom of our review.

How much do hotels generally cost?

In Barcelona, the sky's the limit. Since 2008, rates have come down a bit, but it’s still an expensive city if you’re home currency is the dollar (or any other currency weaker than the euro).

You will save in Barcelona by coming off-season and staying in smaller, non-hotels such as hostals, pensions and B&Bs. In the summer months and any time there is a big trade show on, price rise dramatically. Read more in our article on when to visit Barcelona.

Is breakfast included? What's for breakfast?

Most of the time breakfast is not included. At hotels there may be a breakfast buffet, but it is likely to be pricey (€10 and up). Expect a continental breakfast of pastries, cheese, ham, fruit, juice, coffee and tea. Some buffets may offer hot items, too, such as eggs and sausage.

Non-hotels, with B&Bs as an exception, will not have breakfast though they may have a kitchen where you can prepare some toast or coffee and tea available.

For more on this subject, see our article on what's for breakfast in Barcelona.

What's a "typical" hotel like?

In Barcelona a typical hotel has around 100 rooms, an elevator, a lobby, a bar, a cafe/restaurant, Internet, air conditioning, heating, telephones, televisions and 24-hour reception. Rooms are compact, and some will be interior (darker/quieter) and others exterior (views/noise). Bathrooms are also pretty tight and usually have showers. Breakfast is offered for a fee.

Non-hotels can be any mix of the aforementioned attributes, though hostals, pensions and B&Bs will always provide a shared bathroom option and hostels will offer communal rooms with bunk-beds and a young, backpacker vibe.

For more information, read our thorough guide to the different types of accommodation in Barcelona.

About the author: Regina W. Bryan is EuroCheapo's Barcelona-based correspondent. Read her reviews of hotels in Barcelona and her regular posts in EuroCheapo's Barcelona blog.

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