Saturday, November 16, 2013

The hotel with panoramic views of Girona: AC Palau de Bellavista Marriott

The reason why I booked at this hotel was because of a love at first sight of its contemporary design, the floor to ceiling glass windows and the big terrace with beautiful panoramic views of Girona. The hotel is affordable as well and very comfortable. It even has a big parking space and you can park for free, which is great for those coming with a car or will be renting a car. Parking in the old city centre of Girona is a nightmare and the public garages are going at 3.60 euro an hour which is not bad compared to the Netherlands but that is still a lot of money in Spain.

Let me give you  a little tour of the hotel…

It is glass everywhere in the lobby

The lobby, bar, reception and breakfast area are all in one big hall. I love the airy space and all that glass. The lobby is like an atrium! Look at the light coming through! When I saw the pictures, I knew right away I will stay at this hotel. You know, I am a sucker for panoramic views.

Website: AC Palau de Bellavista by Marriott

The terrace is HUGE, also in contemporary design and showing off a lovely panoramic view of Girona. What you see on the horizon is the southern part of the city. On to the right is the northern part of Girona where the old city centre is located.

If you look closely and carefully in the pictures you can probably see the old buildings and ancient walls.

My hotel room review

I have no issues with my room, I slept nicely here. The glass dividing the toilet & bath and the room was beautifully done with the picture of the Pont de la Princesa and the Gomez Passage. Almost everything inside the room is design including the telephone and the audio set (I didn’t get to take a picture of this). However, the windows were quite small and a bit off in terms of synchronising them with the whole design and feel of the hotel.

There is a restaurant on the ground floor below the lobby and terrace but I didn’t try it because I preferred to eat in the centre. I also didn’t take the breakfast because it is not part of the package anyway, and since I am not a breakfast person, I’d rather have a croissant + coffee elsewhere or take a late brunch somewhere in the centre.

The hotel has free wi-fi only in the lobby, and naturally, I didn’t want to pay the ridiculously priced in-room wi-fi, so I spent my late evenings at the lobby with my laptop, watching the news on TV and sipping a glass of my newly found Catalan brandy, Carlos III. The bartender is very accommodating but the bar however closes at 23:00.

As for the guests staying at the hotel, most are on business, and I bumped into a few older retired couples as well who came with a car.

Some more pictures below of the hotel lobby during sunset...

The lowdowns, neighbourhood, train station and cabs

The lowdown of this hotel is that it is located on a hill in the eastern residential part of town just south of the old city centre and the ancient wall. It really is not that far, about a 5-10 minute walk to Placa de Catalunya/Pont de Pedro depending on your pace, but it is located on a hill so for older people and those with mobility issues, this hotel is not going to be friendly. I am a fit individual so I did not really mind the little uphill walk to the hotel.

The neighbourhood is also quite safe and I never had any concerns during my evening walk, although you can never go wrong with keeping an eye around you which I always do.

Girona train station is a 15-minute walk from the hotel. One evening, coming from Barcelona, I took a cab from the train station to the hotel. It was already very late, and after a whole day walking around Barcelona, I was not in the mood to walk and my feet were just too tired to even move, so the taxi ride came in very handy. I paid around 7 to 8 euros for the trip (about 5+ minutes ride).

Taxi however from Girona-Barcelona airport to the hotel is around 30 euros (about 25-30 minutes’ drive). All prices were based on the local meter and you can pay cash or with a credit card.

Above is the ground floor of the hotel. To the right is the restaurant. To the left are the lifts going up to the reception, lobby and bar (1st floor) and rooms (2nd floor).

For non-Europeans, the 1st floor in Europe is your 2nd floor. Europeans do not count the ground floor as 1st floor, it is considered as 0 floor, or rather, ground floor.

Travel Period: November 2013
Destination: Girona (Catalonia), Spain

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