Choosing the right Barcelona accommodation for your short-term vacation in Barcelona or business trip is not as straightforward as most people believe it to be. Most people automatically look for a hotel directory to find their accommodation, but there are several alternative options that might better suit your needs.
Not only can these offer you a greater degree of comfort, but can also be considerably less expensive that hotel accommodation - a factor that is assuming increasing importance in today’s economic climate. The major business and vacation accommodation alternatives that Barcelona has to offer are:
There are literally hundreds of self-catering apartments for short-term let in Barcelona. Many people shy away when they read the words ’self-catering’, but what is a hotel? If you prefer to eat out you can do so just the same with self-catering accommodation as you can do with a hotel. However, the former allows to put together a sandwich or even a steak for supper should you want to do so, that no hotel room enables you to do. OK there is room service - but at what price?
With prices commencing at 70 Euros a day there need be no explanation for the reason for their popularity. There are many vacation apartments all over Barcelona, including the centre of the city such as the holiday apartments in Las Ramblas and Barrio Gotico. If you prefer luxury, then Eixample and Vila Olimpica offer you an excellent choice of luxury apartments for short-term let.
Even business people are now looking to apartments rather than hotel rooms because of their convenience and economy. Even the classy luxury business apartments close to the Congress Centre and the Fira De Barcelona Fair are economical compared to hotels. They also offer multiple rooms at a lower price than most hotels do for one room! So, if you have a party from your company visiting an exhibition or conference, then an apartment offers the same degree of luxury as a hotel room, but for more people and at a lower price.
You get what you want in Barcelona, and the city can offer both inexpensive and higher priced luxury short-term rental accommodation, plus anything between the two. Before deciding, just consider the advantages that a fully fitted apartment offers over a hotel: cooking facilities when you need them, dishwasher and laundry right on the premises at no extra cost and you can bring in your own drinks at a fraction of the price of hotel bars.
You can also have broadband internet access, and many offer a safe for those valuables that you don’t want to carry about with you. Finally, an added financial benefit is that while you each pay full price for your separate rooms in a hotel, apartments are priced differently. Hence, if you pay 90 euros for two people, three can cost only 100 euros and so on. That should keep your accountant happy!
With over 400 hotels (these are denoted with H), you won’t be short of hotel accommodation in Barcelona. Every hotel is en-suite, and they come in a range of prices and grades, from one to five stars. You get what you would expect from hotels, and the more stars the more you pay and the more luxury and comfort you get. You can expect the five-star hotels to be truly luxurious, with superb facilities and a high level of service. Four-star hotels will be almost as good as the accommodation first-class, while a three-star hotel will cost appreciably less.
Many hotels in Barcelona are built around an inner courtyard, and rooms overlooking these will be quiet but can be gloomy, but they all tend to have air conditioning to keep you comfortable during the hot Spanish summers!
Public areas in the lower-graded hotels can be fairly sparse, and some of the lower graded or ungraded hotels will not offer restaurant facilities. However, if you tend to spend the vast majority of your time out of your accommodation that should not worry you.
These basically take the form of small apartments within hotels, and are a relatively new accommodation development in Barcelona. They usually offer a room or two and an equipped small kitchen with cooking facilities and crockery that enable you to cook your own meals if you wish. They are like a mini-apartment and good for families or small groups visiting Barcelona on vacation or for meetings.
They combine the benefits of a hotel and a short-term rental apartment without fully realizing the benefits that either alone can provide. However, they are a new idea to Barcelona and fine for short-term visits.
4. Hostales and Pensions
A ‘hostal’ (in Spanish) and a ‘pension’ in Spain are fundamentally the same, being equivalent to a guesthouse or small hotel. They are frequently family businesses, generally without the facilities of full hotels. Few offer restaurant facilities, and many do not offer breakfast. The cost would be expected to be a third to a half of that of a hotel, and a hostal or pension is a cheap alternative when you have to keep an eye on your expenditure.
They are graded from one to three stars, and while a 3-star pension is equivalent to about a 2-star hotel, the facilities and amenities offered are not represented by the star rating, and neither are the prices charged.
5. Youth Hostels
Youth hostels are cheap accommodation for younger people with a common bathroom, and normally common sleeping areas. They generally have few or no comforts or amenities apart from toilet facilities, and their prices reflect the fact.
In general, people normally go for hotels or Barcelona apartment rentals, and the luxury Barcelona apartments especially are becoming increasingly more popular because they are less expensive and better appointed than the same luxury hotels, offering more options at lower cost for groups of holidaymakers and business-people. Beach apartments are also popular, though many prefer the Las Ramblas apartments and Barrio Gotico apartments due to their proximity to the city centre.
It should be stressed that all accommodation in Catalonia is regulated by the Generalitat, or regional government, so that you can be sure of a reasonable standard that should reflect the price that you pay. That price, however, will vary according to the season, and is generally higher in summer, Christmas and Easter. They can also increase during fairs and festival projects, and during local holidays when the local population tend to take many of them up.