Myself and my partner are just back from the Axel.
Overall we had a very enjoyable stay and enjoyed the experience of completely relaxing as a gay couple in the hotel -having travelled extensively, the reality of most 'gay friendly' hotels is the sight of two guys being in any way affectionate would raise more than a few eyebrows from other guests and staff. The Axel was a refreshing change. As other guests have commented the vast majority of other guests were also gay but there were some couples and indeed one or two families in the hotel too.
Our room was very good. We had booked a standard room but were offered an upgrade on arrival for a good rate and took up the offer to get a superior room. The room was very nice with a comfortable bed, large powerful shower, and a modern look, as well as a nice small balcony overlooking the street outside. Other guests have described their discomfort with the see-through shower cabinets. It was fine for us as a couple together for a number of years but even took us a day or so to get used to it (especially as our main window opened directly to the street!) and can understand how others would dislike it.
On the downside in the room there is very poor storage provided, a real lack of drawer space, and only four hangers - not wanting to play to the stereotype, but not good for two gay men and their clothes!!! On the same theme not having an iron and ironing board in each room in a 4* hotel is a disappointment
I cant comment on the standard rooms but when selling us the upgrade the check in staff described it as smaller, facing an internal courtyard, and having no natural light!!!! So he sold us the upgrade well :)
The rooftop is beautiful and I think it would be amazing when the weather is a little warmer. I was however surprised at the small size of the pool - it is very small and only a little bigger than a plunge pool.
Very disappointingly for us we checked in on a Saturday and out on a Tuesday but notices were posted on Monday and Tuesday that the pool and Jacuzzi and entire rooftop was closed for technical maintenance - having enjoyed the facilities on Sunday and looking forward to using them again it was very disappointing and not acknowledged in anyway during check in or check out or any other complimentary service or discount. I understand maintenance is required but the point is there was no acknowledgement made
Breakfast was pretty good by continental standards. The staff in general were efficient and helpful in the main if a little curt and unfriendly when dealing with questions and requests. Conveniently it was served until 12 noon on weekends and 11 on weekdays, meaning no annoying early alarms whilst on holiday and perhaps after a night out
Finally regarding the 'seediness' commented on by other guests, we weren't particularly bothered by this. However, it must be noted that the 'D' door hanger inviting 'other guests to knock on your door' is, in my opinion, ill advised - it would never be found in any 'straight' hotel of any standard, never mind 4*. Also ill advised is the 'Axel People' social network to allow you to 'socialise ' with other guests over the internet. Equally the fliers in the room for 'Manhunt.net' just complete the set of somewhat uncomfortable layer of sexual prowling in the hotel.
As for the artwork - what we saw was completely mundane. As one would expect there were some pictures of buff men in skimpy swimwear here and there in the public areas but it is by no means in your face.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Faithful to the concept and style of Axel-design, comfortable, cosmopolitan atmosphere, is a good value for price. The 105 rooms combine the touch of decoration from Modernism with the warmth and elegance of the Mediterranean. New spaces at Axel Hotel Barcelona, will become the urban meeting point of the heterofriendly. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Axel Hotel Barcelona & Urban Spa Catalonia