Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
In El Raval, a neighborhood that has become increasingly popular but is still undergoing gentrification
Barcelo Raval sits on Rambla del Raval, known for its many cafes and restaurants. The hotel is within walking distance of the shipyards, known for their crime, but is also within walking distance of El Rambla, an iconic street lined by vendors and street performers, and MACBA (Modern Art Museum of Barcelona).
Originally an area of ill repute (Picasso was known to frequent the neighborhood's brothels in the early 1900s), El Raval is still known in part for its high petty-crime rates and blatant prostitution. But within the last couple of decades, the neighborhood has seen a change; not only have some dilapidated buildings been replaced by trendy apartments, but the building of the Modern Art Museum of Barcelona has brought a fresh, new vibe to the history-rich neighborhood.
Nowadays, El Raval is teeming with tourists at all hours; numerous cafes line Rambla del Raval, and the area is known for its lively nightlife and international restaurants.
A sexy, modern hotel, the Barcelo Raval has a chic black-and-white lobby (dotted with splashes of color) with funky lighting, Jetson-esque seating, and an interesting ceiling fixture that lends a space-age feel to the hotel. The same vibe continues in the modern rooms, equipped with flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, and open bathrooms. But the real highlight of the rooms is the view of the city that is revealed upon drawing back the remote-controlled curtains -- this view can also be enjoyed from the rooftop bar and patio where binoculars and telescopes are set up for extra viewing pleasure. A popular choice among couples, the Raval may not be ideal for some families; the sexy bathrooms are open (aside from a door to the toilet), the rooftop pool is tiny, and although the location is within walking distance of many attractions, the neighborhood is still in the process of gentrification.