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The Lyon Hotel (Powys)

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      30.04.2006 11:42
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      Excellent as a base and good value for money.

      This year was the first time ever I went on holidays at Easter. For reasons too complicated to get into, we left it a little late to book our hotel in Barcelona, and when searching online, found that we didn't really have as much choice as we had hoped for. Hotels were either very expensive, or about 20 km out of the city. Finally, we found Hotel Lyon through lastminute.com. Let me quote from the website: "Due to its perfect location Hotel Lyon is ideal for young tourists who want to discover the vibrant city of Barcelona while spending more for fun than for accommodation. Rooms are simple yet comfortable without any extras that would inflate the price". Reading the description, all sorts of alarm bells were ringing. My thoughts were running along the lines: For 'young tourists', read party animals, for 'simple yet comfortable' read mattress on the floor and 'for without any extras' read this is really a hostel, not a hotel. However, the price was right and we had had enough trawling through the internet so we went for it. After all, this holiday was more about seeing Barcelona than spending time in our hotel room, which was only intended to be used as a base. The most important thing for us was the hotel's situation, and with our very slim knowledge of the geography of Barcelona, it seemed quite good to us. ~Booking~ ************* This was very easily done through lastminute.com. It cost £417.59 for 9 nights, including a £5.29 credit card charge and a £10.70 cash-back obtained by going through one of the many cash-back sites available. This put the price of a night at just over £46 for two of us. We had to pay there and then, but we see this as an advantage as we saved on charges for paying in Euros and it allowed us to spread the cost of our holiday. Unfortunately, we had to book a twin room rather than a double room as that was all that was available at the time. I have since found out that most of the rooms in the hotel are twin rooms. ~First impressions~ *********************** We took a taxi from the airport and the driver had never heard of the hotel, or the street. More alarm bells! We got there in the end with a little help from our map. The hotel is actually situated in an apartment block and there is nothing to give away its presence, apart from an H sign on the door. We rang the doorbell and a voice in Spanish asked for our room number. We got used to that as our stay progressed, but there was a moment of panic that first time. However, we explained ourselves as best we could and soon the buzzer was pressed and the door opened. Thankfully, there was a lift (a quaint and old-fashioned one) to help us to the second floor with our luggage. This we used regularly as we walked miles around the city everyday and were grateful for anything that saved our legs! The night-porter was pleasant enough but didn't have any English, and my Spanish is rather limited. However, we got our key and managed to get information about breakfast, namely that you had to go to a nearby hotel to get it and that it wasn't included in the price. This I believe is nothing unusual in Spain, and it suited us as it gave us more flexibility. We had breakfast in many different places in the city both inside and on the terrace and have always found it a very enjoyable experience. Once in our room, we found it clean, with a bathroom with shower (and a fairly small bath). It had a telephone and television as listed on the website but no sign of the air-conditioning promised. We had arrived fairly late and didn't really linger in the hotel, choosing instead to 'hit the town' for a bit of Tapas as soon as we had dumped our bags. I felt relieved at having seen the hotel, and the bells were silenced! ~Location, location, location!~ ********************************* This was the main attraction of this hotel for us, and we were not disappointed. There was so much to do within spitting distance of the hotel that we could have spent a week there and not used public transports once. Nevertheless, there was a metro station just a few metres away, as well as several bus stops and being the intrepid travellers we are, we used them to the full. The hotel itself is between the beautiful Barri Gòtic - the old area of Barcelona, teeming with lovely bars, restaurants and boutiques - and the seafront area with its beaches and harbour. Within walking distance, you can visit the beautiful Picasso museum, the maritime museum, the zoo, sit on the beach, take a cable car ride over the harbour, and of course eat in a variously priced restaurants and shop in all sorts of shops (there's more, but this is the hotel review, not Barcelona in general, I have to keep reminding myself of that…). ~The rest of our stay~ ************************ All in all, we had a very enjoyable stay at the hotel Lyon. The room and bathroom were cleaned daily and the towels were renewed. The ladies who cleaned the rooms and looked after the reception area during the day were very helpful and patient when it came to giving us directions. The room was kept cool by means of a blind closed all day, which even at Easter was useful. The hotel turned out to be very quiet, no wild parties or anything like that. ~Overall opinion~ ******************** When we booked this hotel, we knew it had only one star and we were not looking for luxury. We were very pleasantly surprised with what we found and very impressed with what we got for our money, bearing in mind the hotel is situated in a major city. I have a couple of reservations however (pun intended!) as the website description is a little misleading in places: we didn't see any sign of air-conditioning, which could be a big disappointment if you were staying at the height of the summer. When we asked about the laundry service, which incidentally was one of the things that we had noted and were interested in, we were given directions to go to a laundrette across the square. Another website mentions the staff being multi-lingual… I wouldn't dream of assuming that automatically meant they spoke English (they didn't) but as this was an English language site, you could be forgiven for expecting some help in that direction (incidentally, they didn't speak Catalan or French either). It is also possible that the peaceful atmosphere was only due to the time of year and that a summer sojourn might be different. So although we had a great stay and would definitely stay there again, I have to take away one point on the overall rating because of the misleading statements on the website. ~Other information~ ********************** This hotel is part of the Gargallo group. It is situated at General Castanos 6. 8003Barcelona. It says on the site that it is suitable for families but I have no experience of that.

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