Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Located in the Gothic Quarter, just a short ride from the airport; near many bars and metro stations
Hotel Catalonia Avinyo is a modern building in the Gothic Quarter, nestled among older, beautifully architectured structures on a narrow, alley-like street. The hotel is in a prime location, less than 30 minutes from Barcelona Airport and within walking distance of many famous landmarks. The narrow streets and somewhat confined area, however, can feel a bit ominous at night.
Sitting on top of the original Roman settlement, the Gothic Quarter is the center of the old city and one of the largest remaining "Gothic Quarters" in the world. Bordered by La Rambla, the iconic tree-lined street teeming with vendors, street performers, and tourists, on one end, and the Mediterranean on the other, Barcelona's Gothic Quarter boasts tons of historic buildings, with everything from the remains of Augutus's ancient temple to Els Quatre Gats, the restored pub that served as a main meeting spot for Modernists at the turn of the century. But perhaps the most visually stunning buildings are the many cathedrals. Cathedral de la Seu, or the Barcelona Cathedral, is a massive structure with parts dating back as far as the 11th century. It features imposing cloisters (some frequented by geese), a breathtaking chapel, and surrounding gardens.
The Gothic Quarter is nearly all-pedestrian and motorized traffic is heavily restricted. Getting around can be confusing (the lack of a street grid creates a complicated labyrinth), but numerous squares help visitors find their bearings. Placa Reial, complete with fountains and palm trees, is known for its lively nightlife and Paca Sant Felip Neri, surrounded by churches, is one of the most romantic squares in the city. Other squares are home to the city hall, the presidential palace, and the medieval palace where King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella received Columbus upon his return from the New World.
It's one of the most popular neighborhoods among tourists, and there are tons of restaurants (many al fresco), high-end shops, and speciality shops here. But they're expensive.
Hotel Catalonia Avinyo's dark red exterior pops against the traditional Spanish architecture surrounding it, infusing modern flair into the historical city. Inside, the hotel gives off an air of urban cool, with shades of gray and white, and black-and-white murals in the lobby and rooms. The 83 rooms feel contemporary, with light wood floors and the same gray and white decor, though some face a dark interior courtyard, or lack windows entirely. Guests looking for the full range of amenities won't find them -- there's just a small bar and small rooftop pool with few lounge chairs. The Catalonia Avinyo is centrally located, so it's a good choice for those looking to be in the Gothic Quarter on a budget.