Hostal Layetana Barcelona is located in the center of Barcelona on Via Laietana (Plaza Ramon Berenguer el Gran), a 15min walk from Barcelona Nord bus station, less than 10min walk to La Rambla shopping boulevard and about 20-30 minutes to the Barcelona beach. The hostel inside a beautiful historical building makes staying in this place a real unique experience. The elevator is one that most of us only know from the movies – a very small wire cage – but it has a rather modern lift inside. When you first arrive you won’t know which button to press in the lift as there is no notice anywhere to be found directing you to the floor where the reception is located. We would recommend the management to put up a note somewhere to press the ‘H’ button (for Hostel), not ‘B’,’E’,’P’ or ‘2’.
The hostel staff is friendly, but also a bit reserved and at least the man with the long hair spoke almost no English – though he tried his best using online translation. The hostel’s living room has a digital TV and drink machine and is very modern. Here a free breakfast is being served each morning between 8:30am and 10am. From the balcony with the flags – overlooking "Plaza Ramon Berenguer el Gran" with the Knight statue and the main street "Via Laietana" – you can see the old roman walls and a stone tower which are now part of a museum. Just next to it is the Cathedral of Barcelona (‘Catedral’), not to be confused with the big Sagrada Familia further north. The nearest Metro Station is ‘Jaume I’ on the yellow Line 4, just about 3min walk from the hostel. Most of the interior of the hostel has been tastefully designed, making this place quite cozy, especially the living room. There are also 2 internet computers with printing facility in the hallway, as well as free WiFi.
So far, so good. But unfortunately the water heater was broken during our stay, which made it a bit of a challenge to take a shower every day in winter. The water temperature must have been close to the outside temperatures of just about 3-10 degrees in the evening. We heard it’s been like that since several months already and wonder why the management did not get it fixed for this long period of time. But at least we were told about the issue upon our check-in and negotiated a reasonable discount for bearing the ice-cold shower over several days. Also the room temperature can drop below a comfortable point in the morning as the heater wasn’t working either, but the good blankets provided kept us warm enough.
Apart from these major issues, the hygiene in the rooms should be improved as well. The shelf underneath the washing basin was filthy dirty, so was the towel rail, the drawers and also the floor seemed not even sweped at all, let alone properly wiped wet. The twin room had a wardrobe, a desk and a chair inside which were alright, but there was no rubbish bin and the drain of the washing basin was nearly blocked. The kitchen seemed a bit unhygienic as well and no cooking by guests was allowed. The dishes and cutlery for breakfast in the living room needed to be checked if clean and sometimes had to be washed again. The common rooms and facilities including toilets/showers where clean however. The curtain in the room was translucent with the window facing other windows inside the building complex, making it easy to sneak a peek or being peeked at by others when changing clothes etc. as there’s no drapes. There’s a slight drumming noise from the Metro in the underground every few minutes that makes the building slightly vibrate up to the top floor. The Metro system in Barcelona is the same hassle as the one in Madrid. No elevators or escalators working just in 1 direction, sometimes broken, and with several staircases inside the stations to reach the different levels. This makes it inaccessible for elderly or disabled people and very hard if you travel by heavy suitcase.
Overall, still a great place and experience staying here, but only if you can take the cold shower and hygiene issues – both could be improved easily. A pity we had to deduct 1 star because of all this as otherwise this hostel would be a 4 star place!
Wardrobe, desk & chair in room
Living room with TV
Cold shower & heater
Cleanliness of room
Curtain doesn’t block view
Bit noisy (underground trains)
WiFi too weak in room
Cooking not allowed
Beds from EUR 10.00 (twin)
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