Hi All,

Just wanted to pass this along:

Hostal La Plata, 15 Gran Vía, Madrid, was very nice to stay in just recently.

Ok, so the barrio ´Montera´ gets a bad rap in Madrid. I would argue that even at midnight it´s still safe to walk thru, and then Hostal La Plata is a nice little refuge. At only 40 something euros that my wife and I paid to stay there per night, it was comfortable, with friendly staff (ask for Fernando), and we were able to get the reservation and booking over the internet much in advance. It was a good experience. Even after we checked out we needed to leave our luggage so we could do some shopping before heading out of town, it was no problem. I will stay there again
if i have to stay in a hostal.

In sharp contrast:
Hostal L´Avinyó, 42 L´Avinyó, Barcelona, was a very horrible place to stay in just recently.

We stayed here after calling several other places that were booked. My wife ended up with flea bites, the staff would not allow a room change, you could not pay with a credit card, neither by phone nor by internet, and they required a money order to book the room. Luckily we were in Ciudad Real and could send the money order in the mail and have it get there in time for our stay.

Upon checking in, the front desk required making a copy of our passports (for insurance reasons / government regulations), but since we did not have our passports with us, for what is in my opinion an obvious reason, they finally accepted our driver´s licenses, but wanted to keep them for the duration of the stay. So how do you then use a credit card when you want to make any sort of purchases in the city? I´ve never used a credit card in Spain without having the cashier check my ID. I realize that a passport request
is common for hotel and hostal stays, but when i ask in advance, just let me know.

When we got into the room, it looked ok. But we noticed the TV remote control missing, which they later wanted to charge us for. They did not change the bedsheets, as we observed strange ´material´ on one of the bed sheets and then checked later and it was still there. We never found the remote control, but no big deal, we are not TV watchers.

When coming in one day, we were greeted with smiles and had a nice chat, and then were asked if there was anything they could do for us. I asked if perhaps they had an iron so I could iron a shirt, which was replied to with a curt "we don´t have irons here!" So I asked if there were a hairdryer for my wife to use, as she has very long thick hair and it has been chilly, "we don´t have those either!" When I asked that same question at Hostal La Plata in Madrid, the reply was very courteous, and they were able to accomodate.

Hostal L´Avinyó in Barcelona is two blocks east of the lower portion of las ramblas, nearing the port area. This entire area is under construction and is REALLY noisy. A taxi we took from Ciutatt del Prat hotel near the airport refused to drop us off right by the hotel because he said it was a bad neighborhood.

This was just a couple of nights ago, as we were attending Alimentaria Barcelona, a trade show whose attendees end up booking every available room in the city. Trade show was great, tho!

I will not stay in Hostal L´Avinyó again, and I advise you not to either.

I do, however, recommend Hostal La Plata, in Madrid.