Sifting through the thousands of hotels that dot the accommodation landscape in Barcelona can be a monumental task. We’ve put together some tips (consejos, as we like to say) that will help you decide where to stay when you get to BCN.
Hotels: The Traditional Barcelona Choice
- Reliability: You can go with a brand name you trust. The W, Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton and Hilton all have hotels in Barcelona.
- Familiarity: You know what to expect…a clean room with updated electronics and amenities. Flat-screen televisions, iPod docks and a full bathroom are the standard.
- Problem resolution: Should anything go wrong during your stay, you can speak with hotel staff directly.
- On-site amenities: Hotels often offer workout rooms, pools and restaurants to its clients. A hotel concierge can make activity planning easy.
The cons of choosing a hotel are:
- Price: Hotels, particularly luxury hotels, can cost anywhere between 100 and 500 euros per night.
- Lack of character: Many hotels have cookie-cutter plans…all rooms look the same and they lack character and creativity.
- Extra fees: Hotels can implement extra charges for internet, laundry, airport shuttles and other services.
- Non-personal: Some hotels cater to their wealthy guests; there are times when you feel left out or ignored.
We recommend using Booking.com to find a hotel for your stay in Barcelona. The site allows you to select specific filters, and often it offers unbeatable prices.
|El Palace, a luxurious hotel but not the best choice for budget travelers|
Hostels: The Economical Option
- Price: Getting a bed in a hostel can cost as little as 20 euros a night, an unbeatable deal.
- Location: Hostels tend to be located in the heart of the city, which makes seeing the sites very easy.
- Community: Stories and tales abound in the common areas of hostels; you can meet some pretty interesting characters
- Community: Forget about personal space. Paying for a bed in a dormitory-style room means, whether you like it or not, people (trustworthy or otherwise) will stream in day and night.
- Family unfriendly: For families traveling with children, the youth-oriented world of hosteling isn’t an option.
- Luxury: Few hostels offer the type of amenities you’d find in a hotel. Hostels rarely feature on-site, fine-dining restaurants or bars.
Apartments: The new kid on the Barcelona block
- Price: Many apartments in Barcelona can be rented for far cheaper than what you’d pay for a hotel room.
- Value: The price-to-value ratio of renting an apartment is unbeatable. You essentially get a suite (bathroom, kitchen, living room, etc.) for the price of a tiny hotel room. Also, the chances are good that you can find a recently renovated rental.
- Integration: Renting an apartment, in many cases, means you’ll be living alongside local expats and nationals.
- Cuisine: Having your own kitchen means you can head to local markets to buy your food for the week. Put your Spanish food vocabulary to work at the La Boqueria market!
The downsides of renting an apartment are:
- Extra fees: Booking an apartment through a website usually means you’ll have to pay a fee to the website in order to book. Many landlords will charge a cleaning fee as well.
- Noise: Depending on the season, renting an apartment in a complex where other tourists are renting can me noise and commotion into the early hours of the morning. Some neighborhoods in Barcelona, like El Born and Barceloneta, are notorious for summer rabblerousers.
- The Unknown: Apartment rental is still a relatively unknown option to travelers. While hotels and hostels offer a sense of professional upkeep and monitoring, renting an apartment form an individual can seem like a risk.
Air BnB is the undisputed king of apartment rentals. They offer a wide selection of Barcelona accommodations.
Couchsurfing: The Cheapskate’s Dream
- Price: You pay nearly next to nothing for your accommodations.
- People: You’re living in the space of another person or persons. It’s a great way to build friendships with new people.
- Romanticism: Travel stories are always better when you talk about “the time you spent an entire journey sleeping on couches.”
- Culture: You’re staying in the home of someone who lives in the country in which you are visiting. It doesn’t get much more cultural than that.
The cons to crashing on cushions are:
- Comfort: You might get lucky with your “bed”, but most couches are a nightmare for your back.
- Safety: You have no control over who comes in and out of your space. To the credit of couchsurfing networks, ratings system and website guarantees protect travelers.
- Weirdness: You never know what you’ll stumble upon when you’re living in the living room of strangers. Depending on your personality, this could be either very cool or very undesirable.
- Family unfriendly: It’s hard to fit an entire family on one couch.
If you’re looking for a decent sofa in Barcelona, check out www.couchsurfing.org.