In a nutshell: The Alexandra Barcelona Hotel offers a nice breakfast and convenient location in Eixample, but the hotel left me less than impressed on multiple counts. Issues with the shower, the lack of a real king bed, and a long wait to check-in marred what I’d hoped would be an excellent stay.
After a night at the Hotel Indigo Barcelona just a few blocks away, I hopped over to the Alexandra Barcelona Hotel for the second night of my brief trip to Spain’s second-largest city. I’ve gotten into the unfortunate habit of changing properties, which adds a bit to the logistical challenge while traveling. But often I find that it is the best way to maximize my award travel.
The Alexandra Barcelona Hotel is part of Hilton’s Curio Collection. This brand encompasses a selection of distinct upscale hotels that retain their individual character and branding. Each of the major chains has been growing such a “brand” of boutique properties. I’d eyed a couple Curio Collection properties previously, but this marked my first stay at any of the ~70 properties within the portfolio.
Planning my stay in Barcelona was a bit tricky. I didn’t want to spend a lot of cash, but there were few places available as an excellent award deal. The Alexandra Barcelona Hotel was asking $170 USD per night at the time I booked. This had dropped substantially over the week before the stay. Previously, the rate was well over $200. I managed to book the hotel the same day, and it was a last-minute decision to burn my Hilton free night certificate.
Burning the certificate kept a fair number of points in my account. Hilton was pricing it at 50,000 points for the night, which I found ridiculous. Sure, I could have gotten a better deal for the free night certificate, but I’ve found that burning them for immediate value is better than holding them, hoping for an amazing deal. I mean…I’ve burnt multiple IHG free nights for an airport hotel.
Cash rates during the summer are high, typically over €220 per night. Points would be the way to go here (if Hilton is still asking 50,000 per night). In the off-season, it’s a lot harder to justify this as an award.
Switching Hotels in Barcelona
As I’d stayed at the Hotel Indigo Barcelona – Plaza Catalunya for my first night, I had them hold my bag while I explored the city. Returning in the afternoon, I made the switch, walking the short distance through the Eixample neighborhood to the Alexandra Barcelona Hotel. The hotel has a small, inviting lobby with some couches arranged in a square.
I experienced a bit of a wait for the front desk. There were either multiple groups having issues checking in, or simply tons of questions. One couple in particular looked frustrated, but I couldn’t catch why. There was one gentleman ahead of me in line, and it took over 10 minutes for either of us to reach the desk.
By the time I reached the front desk, the agent seemed in a hurry to get me checked in and up to my room. I did note that there was no mention of Hilton status nor an upgrade. The agent who had made the reservation (Hilton free nights must be booked over the phone) had made a note to see if a king room was available. The reservation was for a twin, which is what I received. I did notice I had been assigned to the Honors floor when I headed upstairs.
Alexandra Barcelona Hotel Room
The two twin beds in my room were arranged together as a pseudo larger bed. This arrangement is the worst of both worlds. If traveling solo, this doesn’t provide you a larger bed. If traveling with a companion, this doesn’t provide any separation, which is likely what is desired if you want a twin room. Staying for one night on a solo trip, this wasn’t a huge deal. But it is worth noting if you need a specific room type guaranteed.
Other than the bed situation, the rest of the room appeared nice. It was clean and modern, and there were sufficient (European-style) power outlets around the room.
The desk was the one place I noted some scratches and smudges. It was a nice workspace, though, and I spent some time the following morning working here when I couldn’t sleep due to the awful jet lag you experience traveling to Europe. The room also features a minibar with water, juice and a couple wine options.
The Alexandra Barcelona Hotel offers in-room coffee, but it is the more typical instant type that I’ve noticed even upscale places in Europe use. This is one of my few gripes traveling overseas, as one thing I appreciate about upscale properties is good in-room coffee.
One feature I immediately noticed is the blinds into the bathroom. Why hotels do this is beyond me. This seems to be a bit of a current trend, one that I wish would end. Traveling with kids, this would be beyond awkward. Not to mention there is light bleed into the room when someone has to get up and use it during the middle of the night.
The shower in my room at the Alexandra Barcelona Hotel was a bit interesting. It is quite deep, and the bottom is at a different elevation that the floor, making getting out of it a bit tricky. It is also a half-glass design, which means that water from the shower can splash into the rest of the bathroom.
While the design isn’t ideal, my biggest gripe about the shower is that the water never really got hot. I tried everything: adjusting flow, backing off from “maximum hot”, and turning it off for several seconds and on again. The temperature fluctuated, leading me to suspect the hotel is using some sort of insta-hot system that was struggling. A nice shower is one thing I really like about my hotel stays, so this was a letdown.
The rest of the bathroom was fairly small, but still nice. Everything was very clean.
My room did have a view of the street, which was nice.
Overall, there were features of the accommodations at the Alexandra Hotel Barcelona that were a letdown. The shower was definitely the biggest, followed by the bed situation. I did mention the shower issue to the hotel at check-out, and they said they’d look into fixing it. Little good it did me, as I only needed a shower that one morning.
The Alexandra Hotel Barcelona offers a nice little breakfast spread for a boutique hotel. I found the service a bit lacking, however, with the two attendants rather standoffish. I stood and waited to be seated for quite a while before they invited me in. Where I would have just gone and sat down at a restaurant, most hotels I’ve been to want you to “check in” with your room number.
As a Hilton Diamond member, breakfast was complimentary. There was no upcharge for the “full” buffet that I’ve experienced at some properties.
Breakfast options included several hot dishes, all arranged in small pots. Options included eggs, a couple types of sausage, and several vegetables.
You also had your choice of pasties, toast, and yogurt with accompanying fruit and jam. Cold cuts and a tiny salad bar of sorts rounded out the cold options. My kids would have been thrilled there was at least a tiny cereal selection.
For some, breakfast isn’t complete without fruit, and the Alexandra Hotel Barcelona can hook you up with a few kinds, as well as juice. Everything was very nicely arranged. Besides one other couple, I had the restaurant to myself, arriving right when it opened at 7:00 AM.
Typical breakfast foods in Spain (and Catalonia) differ a bit from the European stereotype. While some still opt for a simple pastry and coffee, some Spanish staples include a sandwich (usually with some type of ham) and churros. Yes, churros.
I opted for neither, but I did find a large array of meat on my plate, pretty much all pork. Spain’s obsession with pork hearkens back to religious history, as the Iberian peninsula has been shared through the centuries primarily by Catholics, Muslims, and Jews. Two of these groups are prohibited from eating pork. Thus, the obsession with pork products by Spanish Catholics. That’s at least the simplistic explanation I can offer at the moment.
Overall, I was quite impressed by breakfast at such a small hotel. Aside from the disappearing attendants (glad they had a machine to refill my own coffee), it was an enjoyable experience.
The Alexandra Barcelona Hotel actually offers multiple dining options, which is pretty impressive for a hotel with just 116 rooms. Solomillo is a haven for the carnivore, a charcuteria offering meat by weight with various accompaniments. I was looking for something for more reasonable in price, so I didn’t even take a peek. Meats start at €95 per kilogram.
The bar offers a limited menu, with a focus on cold cuts, cheeses, and tapas. Of course, you can stop in for a drink, which is what I did while I scribbled down notes from my day exploring the city.
If you’re in need of assistance as you plan your day visiting Barcelona, the hotel has a concierge. I thought the desk was the business center at first, but later I noticed staff helping other guests at the station.
Finally, the Alexandra Barcelona Hotel offers a pool and outdoor terrace, as well as a fitness room and sauna (they do say it is Finnish). Considering that I was out late exploring and off again early, I didn’t even take a peek at these facilities.
Alexandra Barcelona Hotel: The Verdict
My stay at the Alexandra Barcelona Hotel was mixed. The breakfast was lovely, complimentary as a Diamond elite. I also enjoyed my hour at the bar. The rooms are comfortable enough, but the issues with the shower were a letdown. I mean, it was a poor shower one day. I’ll live. But when you’re (potentially) paying a lot of money, you do expect things to function.
At the price point, I’m not sure I’d stay here again. The Alexandra Barcelona Hotel was fine for one night, and I have no regrets burning my Hilton free weekend night. But I’d likely look for other options on either cash or points.