Wednesday 30 May 2018

Crowne Plaza Barcelona - Fira Center, Hotel: a Review

Last June - yes I know nigh on a year ago - my principal carer needed to attend a Pharma conference at the Crowne Plaza hotel next to the Fira Center (sic) in Barcelona. As there were no carers available to look after in my home, Rico had to take me with him. All travel exhausts me, so I knew prior to arrival that I would be holed up in our shared hotel room until I ameliorated.

Lobby & Main Reception

We had taken a taxi from the airport, which dropped us, our luggage and my wheelchair about ten to fifteen metres from the main entrance. There was no doorman to assist Rico with the luggage, supporting me and manhandling the wheelchair. We eventually struggled to get him, me, the chair and the luggage through the revolving-door. No member of staff came to assist either of us. It was not until after being in the hotel several days that a doorman explained that there is a door which can be opened only by staff for easier access by disabled folk, etc. This was not a great start. We were tired from being up early for our flight, the flight itself, driving into the heart of Barcelona and then struggling to actually enter the hotel.

I can speak and understand Spanish quite well, when I have my faculties about me. But by this point I was exhausted and ready to collapse. The young lady at main reception explained that we had been upgraded and that we now needed to go up a couple of floors and check in elsewhere. At said point all we really wanted to do was crash out in our room.

Nonetheless we headed for the lift (elevator) with all our paraphernalia and still no assistance and stepped out to access the Club Lounge.

Club Lounge (i)

We finally could sit down and were offered a beverage, I cannot be sure of my facts after nearly a year but I think Andreu from Sabadell quickly checked us in and explained how the club lounge worked - one's room-key gave one access from breakfast- to closing-time. Theses keys proved rather unreliable, and several times we had to have them refreshed.

The Room

We gladly took our room-keys (the programmed card type) and headed upstairs. I am a fresh air fiend, but alas the windows did not fully open. One could however slide them in such a way as to permit the flow of outside air in, along with any street noise. For siestas we kept the windows ajar. However, at nighttime, we immediately discovered that what seems quiet during the day, transmogrifies into a cacophony at night. So, we had to use the air-con during the dark hours.

Even with the air-con, I was too warm under the duvets. A single sheet option would have been appreciated.

[Image description: the two large, comfortable beds looking towards the windows (top)
and the door (bottom)]

Above, the wide-screen TV, which we barely used other than for the news of a morning. Also a large desk area, which Rico found useful for doing a few computer things for the conference and keeping in touch with his employer. Here also was an instant hot drink-making tray. These facilities were situated opposite the ends of the twin beds.

The bathroom was very clean, with some nice toiletries.

There was a separate wc & bidet behind frosted glass for some privacy. Next to this was the free-standing shower, which appeared mould-free (mold-free). 

The bathtub was ampler than most Spanish tubs, but I imagine Brits and US Americans might struggle to lie comfortably length-ways.

A courtesy robe apiece was also made available.

The only criticisms we had here was loose flooring between the bathroom and bedroom as well as the room needing a freshen-up with new paint.

Club Lounge (ii)

This was a godsend to myself, for I was too unwell to leave the hotel for the first three days, whilst I recuperated from the travel. From my room I could hobble to the lift, descend a couple of floors and walk into the club lounge. There I could prepare myself a beverage, including a wide choice of alcoholic drinks, and pick up a snack. In the morning, after breakfast, there would be pastries, later cold sandwiches & snacks, and in the evening some hot foods would be brought out - or magically appear - depending whether one noticed or not the servers.

Reading matter, daily newspapers, games and TV were also available throughout the day.

And there was always a member of staff at the desk who would try to answer one's queries, book tickets for entertainment on one's behalf or make restaurant reservations.

My main hobby here was either using social media on my laptop or chatting with & making new friends.


As Rico was busy with his conference, I booked myself in for a massage in the hotel's Serena Spa. A full-body massage lasting just under an hour cost €74. I am used to paying £45 at my local physiotherapist in the UK and on the Costa del Sol I pay between €45-55. For €55 I have twice had a massage with hot stones. There was nothing special about the massage. The masseuse was professional enough but lacked any affability. She did not want to know how I felt afterwards and made no effort, despite my trying in Spanish, to make small-talk.

I was at liberty to use the spa's pool - at the time the hotel's sole pool - but declined as the massage had made me feel relaxed and tired (my usual responses). Had I known I could have used the pool, I should have done so prior to the massage.

Conference Facilities

Rico has attended a fair few conferences over the years - we are both quite mature in years - and was rather excited about the one he attended at the hotel. So much so, that one evening around nineish, he took me to the ground floor to show me the set-up. And whilst there, we saw diligent staff preparing for the next day: moving furniture in/out; putting out literature on tables; erecting signage;…

Main Restaurant

In the club lounge I made friends with two ladies from Vienna (my most favourite place on Earth!), Kristina and her Mater. They had a half-board deal with the hotel. When they attempted to dine in the restaurant they were told they could not order from the restaurant's menu, but would have to have whatever the chef dictated. I am not surprised this outlandish behaviour was offensive to the two ladies. They complained to hotel management and the issue was eventually resolved, but the restaurant staff involved did not apologise to my new friend. I had absolutely no willingness to be treated badly, so gave the restaurant a wide birth.

Staff & Service

Club Lounge staff were ALL delightful, often affable, but always professional even when hotel guests were outright rude to them. I certainly would not have kept such a calm demeanour on being treated badly by mostly Asian sub-continent and Middle-Eastern visitors. On a couple of occasions I felt like telling the guests what for, but that is not my place; so I bit my tongue and kept my opinions to myself. One Indian family permitted their child to climb upon, run over and jump off the furniture disturbing the rest of the guests and showing no respect for others' properties.

I have to say from my own experiences on trying to access/egress the hotel, that the lobby staff were the most unhelpful. I personally did not encounter a single rude member of staff, but, shall I say, some were less than helpful.


Both Rico & I should dearly like to revisit this Crowne Plaza hotel. It's near so many tourist attractions and is on the edge of Poble Sec, an up-and-coming barrio from a foodie perspective. We also wish to try out the new pool-ette on the roof, and imbibe a cocktail from the bar there whilst watching the sunset.

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