“ Address: Carrer Verge 16 / Barcelona 08001 / Spain „
~~~ Overview & Appearance ~~~
I have just returned from another of my legendary "shoe-string" budget tours during which I stayed at the Pension Miami hotel with Mrs Ben. We stayed two nights at said establishment for the princely sum of £68.29 via HotelClub.com. Admittedly the hotel was booked before finding out certain details which may have led me to choose another establishment such as the lack of breakfast and the "ladies of the night" who allegedly ply their trade in the immediate vicinity (we did not see any of this however).
The Hotel itself is located on an alley which none of the locals had heard of and it took us a little while to find the address. Make sure you print out a map before you leave home! The alley and the outside of the hotel are not hugely inviting as the alley precludes sunlight and the surrounding buildings are quite dingy in appearance. The broken window at the entrance and the locked front door are also less than inviting in addition to the welcoming odour of urine emanating from the alley.
Once inside, the staff are very friendly and accomodating and their english is excellent. As is common with many of these 2 star hotels, everything in sight is clad in marble! There is a lift in this hotel which comfortably fits two people although the four steps down from street level into reception will be enough to prevent this hotel being used by wheelchair users; there does not appear to be any rooms fitted with the appropriate instalments for disabled users across the five floors either. The lift turned out to be problematic for two reasons: 1. The safety door did not seem happy about opening on the second floor and 2. the safety doors make a lot of noise as they slam closed which is hugely frustrating at 2 or 3 in the morning.
Each floor holds five to six ensuite rooms and HotelClub lists there as being twin rooms and at least one triple room available (there are 38 rooms in total). Our room was a very strange shape and one wall was completely dominated by a 1970's style mirror with alternating coloured bands of glass. There was a 14" television mounted on the wall above the door (remote controls carries a Euro20 deposit), a narrow cupboard holding a spare blanket for chilly nights, a king size double bed and a curtain obscuring a shuttered window opening out into some form of shaft between the hotel and the building next door. Fitted into the bed's headboard is a light switch, a switch to enable piped radio and another switch which doesn't seem to do anything. The paint job on the textured wall in our room was a little dodgy and the doors didn't match in colour (two are brown and one is bright red!), but they are just small quibbles.
The bathroom comes with toilet, bath/shower and bidet. There were two hand towels, two bath towels, two cakes of soap and two sachets of shampoo each of which were replenished on a daily basis. The shower is actually fitted into the ceiling and placed at such an angle that the entire bathroom is soaked when using it. The bidet is conveniently located beside the toilet so one can use it to wash their feet after a hard day trekking around Barcelona!
On the first evening I enquired as to breakfast and was informed that the hotel does not have a kitchen so there was none. Fortunately there is a baguette shop just around the corner which provides food and coffee from 9am till late. Also of great use is a mini-supermarket directly opposite the hotel from which one can purchase very good value local food (the iberian ham and chorizo sausage are a bargain) and beer by the litre also open from 9am until late. There is also a ham and cheese type delicatessen literally around the corner.
~~~ The Pros ~~~
- Cheap in comparison to many other hotels in Barcelona.
- Room cleaned daily.
- Ensuite bathroom.
- Hotel is close to the Metro.
- Staff speak very good English.
- Very cheap supermarket directly opposite.
~~~ The Cons ~~~
- No tea and coffee making facilities in the room.
- No breakfast or food facilities.
- No windows.
- Shower soaks the bathroom.
- Slamming doors on the lift at all hours of the night.
- Questionable local nightlife (apparently) and stench of urine.
- Not wheelchair friendly.
- Probably not to the taste of more discerning tourists or travel-snobs.
~~~ Other Stuff ~~~
The Miami is situated in the El Raval district of Barcelona and is within easy walking distance of the famous Las Ramblas. Similarly the Metro is easily accessible at the Universitat station and there are a number of bars and restaurants in the near vicinity. Those mad enough to drive into this city may be able to park their car in the alley adjoining the hotel (Carrer Verge 16) although the safety of a vehicle left there might be questionable; having hired a car and driven into town my advice is don't bother. Catch an airport transfer bus as the roads are and drivers are mental and the charges for parking ridiculous (up to Euro32 per day!).
Check in is 1.00pm, Check out 12.00pm.
The hotel offers a safety deposit box.
Luggage can be left in secure storage if you arrive earlier than check-in or are not leaving until after 1.00pm - just ask at the Concierge's desk.
With the metro near by, all of Barcelona's main attractions are easily accessible and with the cost of a two day travel card less than Euro10, public transport is definitely the way to explore this town. Make sure you see the Sagrada Familia (Euro8 plus Euro2 to go up to the very top and see the extraordinary view and details not visible from the ground) and the cable car across the port (Euro9 one-way) - both are unmissable.
Because of the cost of food in this town, the trick is to make LUNCH the main meal of the day. It is possible to eat a three course meal including drinks for roughly Euro10 a head around lunchtime from a set menu, but a similar menu at dinner can cost 2 or 3 times as much. A three-course lunch at the outstanding L'Economic restaurant cost just over Euro20 including two beers and a coffee for the two of us, but a selection of Tapas in the evening from an establishment on Las Ramblas cost over Euro70!
Arriving in Girona by Ryanair? Catch the airport transfer bus (~Euro21 return). Despite the cheap nature of hire cars (~£11 per day) parking will quickly bump the overall price up and wipe out any savings.
~~~ Conclusion ~~~
We spent three days in Barcelona on a limited budget. Flights, accomodation and car hire cost around £110 but the expensive nature of this particular city cost us another Euro300 or so (including nearly £50 worth of parking!). If you are on the cheap and don't mind finding your own breakfast, the Pension Miami may just fit your needs.
The Pension Miami is certainly not the worst budget hotel I have ever stayed in, but it does not match the outstanding value of others I have sampled (such as the Pyramid in Rome).
~~~ Useful Links & Numbers ~~~
HotelClub.com booking: https://www.hotelclub.com/DirectHotel.asp?id=31517
(cash back available to HotelClub members)
Pension Miami Telephone: +34 93 3017393
Hotel location map: http://www.viamichelin.co.uk/viamichelin/gbr/dyn/controller/mapPerformPage? strCountry=844&strAddress=verge+16&strCP=&strLocation=barcelona&x=0&y=0
L ' Economic Restaurant reviews: http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Spain/Catalunya/Barcelona-27465 4/Restaurants-Barcelona-Restaurant_Leconomic-BR-1.html
Hotel Pyramid, Rome: http://members.dooyoo.co.uk/hotels-international/pyramid-hotel-rome/1228205/
© ben-lloyd 2009. This review appears on other websites under the same user name.