Hotels: A Review (with links!)

I used TripAdvisor for most of my hotel searching initially. They have a nice feature that rates hotels in the area you are looking in, and then links to various booking platforms like and Expedia.

I generally read a bunch of reviews - carefully. You know, you just have to toss out the reviews that bitch about stuff that has nothing to do with the hotel ("My flight was late!"), or things like "No elevator!" in a 400 year old 10-room hotel (duh); and then there are the travelers who are horrified that the bathroom is down the hall. I found most sites were very clear about whether a private bath was an option. I also look at the reviews on the reservation sites as well.

I didn't see that booking directly with the hotels offered any better deals, generally, but I did always check. Using and Expedia in some cases offered better deals, or free cancellation, etc.


We stayed at Pensao Royal or Royal Guesthouse. We booked a triple (3 twin beds) with private bathroom for 60 euro/night. At the time I booked, their website booking system was not working, so my reservation was made via email with no payment...and it turns out, they only take cash anyway.

The location was great - one block from the Baixa/Chiado metro and walking distance to the river and lots of shops and restaurants. The decor was...whimsical and very much at odds with the goth-ish appearance of proprietor Paula. But it was clean, room was fairly spacious and quiet, bathroom was small but functional. Breakfast was an amazing and filling all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of pastries, quiches, ham and cheese. Drawback: flat is up several flights of stairs, no elevator. Staff spoke fluent English.


We were only at the YH Giralda for one night, but the location was fantastic, about one block from the cathedral and surrounded by shops and restaurants. Booked a triple for 65 euro through Expedia. It was a bit noisy considering it is down an alley not accessible by any vehicles other than motorbikes (trash collection in the middle of the night, jackhammering somewhere early in the morning). Room was spacious, modern bathroom. Drawback: Again, no elevator, lots of stairs. No breakfast included. Staff spoke fluent English.


Hostal Africa wasn't awful, but was definitely the worst of the places we stayed. It's probably the only place that we would definitely not stay at again. Booked a triple with private bath for 60 euro/night (booked through Again with the third floor walk-up. No heat in room, tiny bathroom, NO HOT WATER (complaint met with a shoulder shrug pretty much). Location was good to walk to ferry and dinner, not so good for car and luggage (narrow street, no parking nearby). But the roof top deck and enclosed living room - very very awesome. No breakfast included. Staff spoke limited English.


The Hostal Don Peque is a little hard to find, but perfectly located in Nerja. Triple room with private bath for 60 euro/night through Room was small - hard to get us and our luggage in, and you had to move furniture to get to the closet - which was not designed to accommodate luggage anyway. Modern bathroom. No elevator. Nice balcony, great rooftop deck where they serve breakfast during the season (we were there in off-season, so no breakfast - but they had kettle for tea and instant coffee in the room, and a refrigerator which was a first). Some street parking, free public parking about 10 minute walk away. Staff spoke fluent English.


I booked Hotel Juan Miguel directly through their website. This is a hotel in the American sense of the word - large lobby, elevators, big rooms, spacious bathrooms. We had a quad room (Vonn was supposed to join us here) with private bath for 74 euro/night, and it included a very good breakfast of eggs, ham, pastries, etc. The room was huge and included a sitting area and a fridge. Great location within walking distance of shops, restaurants, cathedral and the Alhambra (although easier to walk down from there than up!). Our room faced the square though, so it was noisy. Staff all spoke adequate to fluent English.


Hostal Grau is a "green" hotel and is one of those places where you applaud the concept but the execution leaves a little to be desired. I booked this directly with the hotel, triple room with private bath was 112 euro/night. No breakfast included. Yeah, Barcelona is expensive! Location was fabulous - local shops and restaurants and Las Ramblas, the main walking thoroughfare, is just a few blocks away as is the metro at Placa de Catalunya. Vonn joined us here and they added a bed to the room (and another 25 euro), but it was still quite spacious. Beds were the most comfortable of the trip (Cocomat mattresses $$$). Clean, modern, hardwood floors, power to the room controlled by putting your key card in a slot, a nice energy-saving feature. Modern spacious bath, awesome design-flawed shower that resulted in water all over the tiled floor - which meant we used a lot of towels each day. Not so energy-saving, that. The workmanship was a bit off throughout the room and hotel - paint splatters, rough edges. But, man, it was quiet. Soundproof interior shutters blocked all the light and sound, and we all slept like the dead. Staff spoke fluent English.