This hotel exudes a "beachside vacation" charm that I've never seen in any other airport hotel, though does lack a couple of amenities that I would've expected
Most of the time, an airport hotel stay offers a nice enough room where you can shower, sleep comfortably in a nice bed, potentially hit the gym, and not much else. Not the AC Hotel by Marriott at Gavà Mar, a 10-minute bus journey from Barcelona El Prat Airport (BCN) – the hotel offers a beachfront location and view, and there’s a large pool to swim in as well.
Now, in order to prevent this from sounding like an ad, I’ll say upfront that the AC Hotel Gavà Mar did feel past its prime, and the facilities were on the limited side. But if you’re like me, that almost adds to the charm of the hotel…? Anyway, here’s as comprehensive of a review as I managed during my short stay, including an overview of my Standard Sea View Room, and the hotel’s various facilities.
Booking The AC Hotel Gavà Mar
I booked this hotel using Asia Miles Travel Services, and spent 24,940 Asia Miles for my Standard King Sea View Room at the AC Hotel, with no extra surcharges. I don’t think this is a great value (for context, 25,000 miles will get you a one-way shorthaul business class ticket intra-Asia), though at the time there weren’t many possibilities to use up miles in a similar way, and Asia Miles earned pre-2020 have an expiry date.
Based on a quick Google search, rates at the hotel run from about €150. The AC Hotel is part of the Marriott Bonvoy programme, and points rates run from 35,000 points/night.
AC Hotel Gavà Mar Location and Exterior
After flying into Barcelona Airport on a British Airways A321, I sought out the L77 bus to Gavà Mar, where the hotel is located. You can’t buy tickets or use contactless for the L77 bus (they have a card machine that deceivingly looks like it accepts contactless payment, but it doesn’t), though they do accept cash, or you can purchase a T-Casual ticket. Bus tickets cost €2.40 and drivers will typically give you change, and if you’re using the latter option, Gavà Mar is in fare zone 1.
This is about all I knew when I headed onto the bus at Barcelona Airport, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Gavà Mar was a nice little beachfront district with a distinct “holiday town” feel. I’ll walk you through Gavà Mar in a separate section further down below, though the hotel was a 10-minute walk from the bus station, with a fairly modern exterior compared to the houses in the area.
AC Hotel Gavà Mar Barcelona Airport Exterior
If you’re thinking of going into Barcelona you may want to reconsider staying here, as the hotel is over an hour from central Barcelona by bus (the L95 bus does take you directly there, though, also costing €2.40 and accepting T-Casual tickets). If you’re thinking of visiting Castelldelfels, the hotel is about a 20-minute bus ride away.
AC Hotel Gavà Mar Lobby and Check-in
The AC Hotel Gavà Mar has an intimate lobby, consisting of a round table with chairs, a sofa, and a reception desk. Behind the sofa and half-partitioned off is the AC Lobby Lounge, which I’ll talk about in a bit.
AC Hotel Gavà Mar Barcelona Airport Lobby
I was checked in by a friendly agent, who took my credit card details and asked if I wanted breakfast (I said no, since I had an early flight out, could have breakfast at the airline lounge, and didn’t see a huge value in reviewing breakfast here). Within minutes I was assigned a room, and headed upstairs to the second floor, where my room was located.
AC Hotel Gavà Mar Barcelona Airport Hallways
AC Hotel by Marriott Gavà Mar
Check-in: Tuesday, April 4, 2023
Room Type: Standard King Sea View
Room Number: 216
Stay duration: 1 night
Check-out: Wednesday, April 5, 2023
AC Hotel Gavà Mar Standard King Sea View Room
My room was a fair size, and featured a king sized bed, a desk and chair, a TV, and a lounging chair. I liked that the room had hardwood floors, and the bed was comfortable, though not plush.
AC Hotel Gavà Mar Barcelona Airport Standard King Sea View Room
The desk and chair were substantial, which I appreciate. I also appreciated that a Nespresso machine was provided, and put it to good use on the morning of my departure.
AC Hotel Gavà Mar Barcelona Airport Standard King Sea View Room Desk
The lounging chair also featured a good ottoman, though otherwise was quite hard to sit on.
AC Hotel Gavà Mar Barcelona Airport Standard King Sea View Room Lounging Chair
While the hotel room didn’t feature a balcony (which would’ve been a splendid feature for a setting like this), the window doors did open fully, with a railing acting as a makeshift balcony of sorts.
If you told me that this was an airport hotel view without stating where, I wouldn’t have believed you – there was a stunning beach view, with the sea stretching all the way into northern Africa. It helped that my stay coincided with stellar weather too (good weather was a theme throughout my trip).
AC Hotel Gavà Mar Barcelona Airport Standard King Sea View Room View
The bathroom was nicely designed, and featured a toilet, glass sink, and a shower/tub combo, as well as Korres toiletries.
AC Hotel Gavà Mar Barcelona Airport Standard King Sea View Room Toiletries
The room also featured a minibar, though unfortunately even the water in the minibar wasn’t free of charge. There were two complimentary bottles placed in the room, though you had to pay for the two bottles in the fridge (I just put the bottles of complimentary water in the fridge, so that I’d have cold water to drink).
AC Hotel Gavà Mar Barcelona Airport Standard King Sea View Room Minibar
On the bed was a pair of slippers. There were also welcome chocolates, though somewhat confusingly they had a “best before” date of three days before my stay.
AC Hotel Gavà Mar Barcelona Airport Standard King Sea View Room Welcome Amenities
While the towels provided were in the bathroom, the hotel also provided two striped beach towels, which I thought was cute.
AC Hotel Gavà Mar Barcelona Airport Standard King Sea View Room Beach Towels
One complaint is that I feel like the air conditioning in the room didn’t get very cold. This could potentially be a major problem in summer, though the air conditioning also could’ve not been set at full blast during a fairly chilly April.
There are some extra features I wished the room had – namely a walk-in shower, a balcony, or a more comfortable bed. But all in all those are tall orders for what otherwise was a pretty well-appointed room.
AC Hotel Gavà Mar WiFi
I felt like WiFi speeds at the hotel were more suited for the hotel’s “beach vibes” personality than its “airport hotel” personality. WiFi measured 41.21 Mbps down and 41.53 Mbps up, which seems much quicker than it actually was – I felt like things loaded slightly slower than I’d typically expect in an airport or city hotel.
AC Hotel Gavà Mar AC Lounge
The AC Hotel Gavà Mar features a lounge for all guests near the lobby, which seems to offer handcrafted cocktails, shareable plates, beer and coffee, though I didn’t see any of it on offer.
AC Hotel Gavà Mar Barcelona Airport Lobby Lounge
AC Hotel Gavà Mar Restaurant
On the other side of the lobby was the hotel’s restaurant, where breakfast was served. Breakfast is €16 if you purchase at check-in, and €21 if you walk in. I didn’t manage to sample breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant, as my flight out of Barcelona the next morning left fairly early.
AC Hotel Gavà Mar Barcelona Airport Lobby Lounge
AC Hotel Gavà Mar Facilities and Pool
While you could vaguely see the hotel’s pool from my room, I didn’t get to check the pool out in its entirety, though it was outdoors, and I’d love to swim here on a morning of a late afternoon flight. Here’s the hotel’s PR photo of the pool.
AC Hotel Gavà Mar Barcelona Airport Pool (photo credit: hotel)
Unfortunately the hotel doesn’t otherwise feature a gym or fitness center, which I otherwise would’ve thought as fitting given its vibe and location.
AC Hotel Gavà Mar Beach
While not part of the hotel, the Gavà Mar beach is within a minute’s walk from the hotel’s front entrance. The beach itself is stunning, and wasn’t crowded at all during my stay (which was on the Tuesday afternoon before the Easter weekend). I didn’t bring any non-work related books on this trip, though regretted that slightly, as this would’ve been a great place to perch myself and read for a few hours.
Instead, I just went on my phone for a bit, stared at the sea, felt relaxed then quickly bored, went on my phone a bit more, and decided to check out dinner in central Barcelona before heading back for a good night’s sleep.
Gavà Mar Beach
There are also quite a few beachfront pathways that would make for some nice walks – what a treat to have between flights.
Conclusion: AC Hotel Gavà Mar
The AC Hotel Gavà Mar capitalises on Barcelona Airport’s location, which is very close to the Spanish southern coastline. Having this beachfront escape within 10 minutes of the airport was so nice, and I kind of wish I made even more of it than I did, and went for a swim and read a book by the beach for a few hours.
I will say that I found myself really wishing for even a small fitness center (possibly one overlooking the beach), felt like the air conditioning in the room could pose an issue in the summer, and would’ve appreciated faster WiFi and a plusher bed. That being said, the hotel isn’t overcharging for what it offers, so I guess I may be asking for too much. If there aren’t similar hotels in Gavà Mar, I’d certainly stay here again.
Read more from this trip:
What’s your most pleasant airport hotel experience?