Sew Good: A Review of Cotton House Hotel in Barcelona

Feb 17, 2018

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To The Point

The Cotton House in Barcelona is a gorgeous hotel that offers the best of both worlds: a historical, yet modern stay with all the comforts. The pros: excellent location, helpful staff and large rooms. The cons: thin walls and not enough water bottles.

During a recent trip to Barcelona, Spain, I wanted to stay somewhere special — a spot that was trendy but also had character. I ended up choosing the Cotton House Hotel, a Marriott Autograph Collection property.

The hotel was once the former Cotton Textile Foundation, once a Barcelona landmark.

Although it was renovated in 2015, the hotel still retained some of the historical elements of the original 19th-century Neoclassical structure, like the original marble and spiral staircases.

Booking

Cotton House is a Category 9 property costing 45,000 Marriott Rewards points per night. You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott, but it’s definitely not the best use of UR points unless you’re putting together a Marriott Hotel + Air package. Therefore, in this case I decided to book with cash — a total of $1,248 for the three nights.

Since I’m not a Marriott elite and I don’t stay at Marriotts often enough to try and get status there, I was able to book through an online travel agency and potentially get extra perks or points. One option was American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, which would have gotten me free breakfast at the Cotton House. However, I was more interested in picking up nights in the Hotels.com Rewards program, which gives you one free night for every 10 paid nights you book at Hotels.com. Also, by booking through the special link at hotels.com/venture and paying with a Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, you can now earn 10x miles per dollar spent on hotel reservations, which is one of the very best credit cards returns you can get when spending cash on hotels.

When looking on Hotels.com, I booked the second-to-lowest-tier room, a deluxe double with a city view. When on the hotel’s website, though, I realized all the rooms had fun, creative names related to bedsheets and fabric, referencing the hotel’s textile-factory roots. The deluxe double, for example, was called the Madras Room. But I ended up getting upgraded to the Egyptian Room, the highest tier before the suites, surpassing the Cotton Room. On Hotels.com, this was called a grand deluxe double room.

Location

I couldn’t have been happier about the location of the hotel. It was central and close to the airport by taxi (about 20 minutes), a 15-minute walk to Las Ramblas, Sagrada Familia or the Gothic Quarter, and steps away from restaurants, bars and shopping. When I couldn’t walk to a destination, I used the Metro (it’s just a few blocks from the Passeig de Gracia stop), and taxis were also cheap. The Cabify app was another solid resource, as Uber wasn’t available in Barcelona.

Check-in

I landed in Barcelona-El Prat (BCN) around 6:00am after an overnight flight from New York-JFK. After taking a taxi from the airport, I arrived at the hotel much earlier than check-in time — around 7:30am.

Not only did the hotel allow us to check in super early, but they also upgraded us to the Egyptian Room. They had to do a brief inspection of the room, but we only waited about 20 minutes.

The lobby, which was bright and inviting, also had a small refreshments stand with fruit-infused water, cava and snacks like chocolate or candy.

Both reception and the concierge were extremely helpful during my stay, not only friendly but assisting with things like maps, umbrellas and ordering taxis, all with a smile. It’s worth noting that the reception and lobby were on the ground floor and the concierge, which they called the Gossypium (Latin for cotton flower), was located on the next floor up.

Room

I immediately noticed the size of the room when walking in, which was large for Europe.

The king bed looked inviting, and the quaint, European-style window terrace with black iron railing allowed me to look over the city streets below.

The space was beautifully decorated with a teal sofa, which converted to a bed for a child or third guest.

Keeping in line with the hotel’s backstory, there was a cotton plant in the room and the art on the walls was also related to cotton.

In attempts to combat my jet lag, I used the in-room Nespresso machine often. Unfortunately, there were only two Nespresso pods provided per day; I wished I’d been given more.

The room also had a large television, safe, minibar, bathrobe and slippers and an iron and ironing board. I ended up watching a lot of CNN because there were no other channels in English. Although they provided two small water bottles a day, I could have used more (the tap water in Barcelona was safe to drink, but I didn’t think it tasted great).

The closet was also  large, and although I didn’t even fill it up, I loved being able to spread things out.

Although I’m of normal height, I made sure to check that the shower in the bathroom would definitely pass the TPG shower test (he’s 6 feet, 7 inches tall). The water pressure was excellent, and it might have been one of the best hotel showers I’ve ever experienced.

The bathroom came equipped with delicious-smelling Ortigia bath amenities and plenty of extra toiletries like a razor and cotton swabs.

My only complaint about the room was that the walls were a little thin, and I heard the elevator and noise from people walking through the hallway.

Food and Beverage

Since I’d decided to book on Hotels.com instead of American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts and therefore didn’t get free breakfast, I ate outside the hotel most mornings. Considering I was able to get a coffee and croissant virtually anywhere for just a couple of dollars, I was fine with going out each morning and finding a cute spot for my café con leche.

I did want to sample dinner at the restaurant in the hotel, Batuar, and I loved the experience. The restaurant and bar spaces were stunning, with impressive tiled floors and vintage exposed lightbulbs. The food was excellent and the wine list expansive.

The restaurant also had a terrace, which was closed for winter.

I sampled the duck spring rolls and, of course, cured Iberian ham, which was to die for, pairing everything with a 2015 Montsant.

I tried the famous pa amb tomàquet (“pan con tomate” in Catalan), or tomato rubbed on bread with salt and olive oil. I also tried croquettes and octopus, and everything was fantastic.

In lieu of a lounge or work center, the hotel had a library. I noticed people on their laptops, but you could also head there to order tea and socialize.

Amenities

Although the rooftop pool was sometimes open during warmer, sunnier days in winter, it was raining and closed when I went up, so I wasn’t really able to get a feel for the space.

The Wi-Fi was free and worked well during my stay.

The gym, though tiny, was equipped with machines and weights. Instead of using it, I spent most of my time indulging in tapas and wine.

Had I booked through Amex FHR, I would have gotten a spa credit to use at the spa. But since I was heading to Morocco after Barcelona, I thought maybe trying out a hamam there would be a more novel experience than a spa in Europe.

Bottom Line

The Cotton House Hotel walked the perfect line between historical and trendy, and was located in a key spot to explore all the tourist attractions around the city on foot, by Metro or taxi. I would absolutely stay here again and recommend it to anyone visiting Barcelona.

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