Hotel Catalonia Reina Victoria, Ronda
last update: 31 December 2020
We spent Christmas 2020 in Ronda, staying at the Hotel Catalonia Reina Victoria.
We had visited Ronda several times for day-trips, but this was the first time we had decided to stay for several days.
It must be the said that the local Parador benefits from a good reputation and an excellent position, however we have always found it very sterile and not particularly welcoming. So we decided to go for a different local 4-star hotel.
According to the Booking website the Hotel Catalonia Reina Victoria scored a very respectable 9.1 (worth a 'superb') and even a 9.3 for location. When including a restaurant, breakfast, and parking, the choice was surprisingly limited. And to top it all, prices were very competitive, so we booked junior suite.
The hotel was easy enough to find using the address and the car navigation system. The overall appearance was what we would expect for a 4-star hotel, and we were able to park in front of the main entrance.
The parking option was just to the left of the main entrance, and was in fact open to the public. The parking cost €10/day for hotel guests, and it was almost empty.
The entrance-lobby was discreet, and the reception quite friendly. COVID rules looked to be quite strict, namely:-
Large plastic screens, and staff with masks
Floor marking for distance (recommended 1.5 m)
There was a passport scanner, so staff did not touch documents, etc.
They pointed out all the details on a small example sheet
The hotel details, door card-keys, etc. were provided in an envelop
They showed us where the parking was, pointed us to the hand cleaners, and showed us where the lift was.
There was no help with luggage.
There were several automatic dispensers for hand-cleaning gel.
There were numerous signs concerning the hotel rules, e.g. masks, distance, no paper, one person at a time in the lift, etc.
QR code access to the menus, etc.
Breakfast and evening meals could be served in the room, except for the evening of the 24th December and breakfast on the 25th December. Room service was directly from the restaurant menu.
The public spaces in the hotel were comfortable. If I had to make a comment, I would have to say that the Christmas decoration lacked character, and looked a bit like the stuff you can find in any large department store.
We visited the breakfast room on the 25th December. The tables were well spaced out, and its was table-service and not buffet. Breakfast was an ample continental offering, with orange juice, pastries, breads, and the usual jams, etc. along with tea/coffee.
We had booked a junior suite, in part for the view, and in part for the comfortable size of 28 sq m. The four junior suites share the 4th and top floor, two overlooking the gardens and valley, and two overlooking the entrance and outdoor pool. We had picked one of the suites with a view over the valley.
The decor was modern, pleasant, comfortable, and quite functional. Positives were:-
Absence of bed throw and dark cushions
Good air-conditioning for heating
Bright decor and high ceiling
Large TV on a mobile platform, with the usual (but often unexciting) channels
Good sized table with four chairs
Good size, and comfortable bed
Plenty of space on the bedside tables, and good bedside lighting
Excellent cupboard space, and a good collection of free-hanging coat hangers
Good sized wall-safe for computer, etc.
Good stools for suitcases etc.
Nespresso coffee and tea making facilities, with a small but functional mini-bar
Free spa entry, decent bathrobes
Relatively easy to clean and disinfect.
Negatives would be uncomfortable reclining modernist-style seats, no pillow options, and a little bit of dust on the chrome parts of the stools.
Also it was a shame that there were not some sockets nearer to the table, i.e. for computer, etc.
The free wi-fi in the room was not always perfect, i.e. slow and occasionally painfully so.
Above you can see our exact bathroom. Positives are:-
The comfortable size of bathroom, modern, well maintained
The separate space for the WC and bidet
Separate shower and bath
Double hand basins and lots of space
Good quality towels (would have like a 'spare')
Good sizes bathrobes
Hair dryer not fixed to wall mounting
Nice big wall mirror.
Negatives would include the fact that the heated towel rail was not 'activated', and the hand basins did not hold water.
I liked the shower arrangements, but my wife did not like the fixed location for hand-held shower head.
One day housekeeping forgot the towels, and they also did not replace the small bottles of shower gel and shampoo.
Probably the biggest negative would be the lack of a balcony or terrace.
This was not a problem for us, but for some people they might prefer a different room option, particularly in the summer.
If anything the spa is the weakest part of the offer. Our junior suite included free access to the spa, but I must say it was not a particular attractive option. It looks nice in the above photograph, but the limitations were important, namely:-
Only space for four people
Showers of cold and ice water
Small sauna with a glass wall, and fixed at only 80°C.
The biggest problem for me was that they did not limit access to only one family at a time (COVID oblige). When I was there one couple left and another entered, and there was no attempt to clean/disinfect seating, door handles, etc.
We were there over Christmas, so we can't complain if the gardens were not at their best. Nevertheless we were able to sit out and profit from the sunshine and clement weather.
There are some important limitations, in particular the hotel is not in the part of the town most visited by tourists (this can be a positive). I am not a fan of public parking, but our car appeared perfectly happy.
However, the hotel was competitively priced, and it is certainly one of the best 4-star options in Ronda (if not the best option). I personally found the public spaces and gardens better than in the nearby Parador. The food was also good, and probably better than that offered in the local Parador (having the entire hotel menu available in the room was an additional positive). Generally the respect of COVID rules was good to excellent.
Finally I have my doubts that the town of Ronda is worth more than a visit of 2-3 days.