Travelers to Barcelona always face several very good choices about where they will stay. The city has many fine hotels, from modest one-star lodging to world-class 5-Star deluxe “palaces.” There are also a broad range of Holiday or Vacation Apartment Rentals, available in every price range and located in every part of the city.
The question is which is the better option – hotels or Barcelona´s rental apartments? An argument can probably be made for either choice. Consider all of the following …
Rating Barcelona’s Hotels and Holiday Apartments.
There are apartments for rent in Barcelona that are suitable for every taste and budget. The same is true, of course, for hotels. Every traveler knows that hotels receive “star ratings” on a scale from 1 to 5. Hotels with the most stars are posh – much more luxurious and expensive than hotels with fewer stars.
Holiday or Vacation Apartments do not receive star ratings. However, as is the case with hotels, the range of rental apartments available to travelers runs the gamut from very basic and inexpensive to extremely luxurious and expensive. A luxury Barcelona apartment for example will generally be quite large – about 200 square meters – and have several bathrooms, perhaps a Jacuzzi and also a large and inviting terrace.
What about the prices for each option?
As you might expect, prices range from modest to very expensive – for hotels and for vacation apartments, as well. One, two or even three star hotels are likely to be easy on your budget. However, a deluxe 5-star hotel can cost as much as 700 Euros per night. Well, if you can’t afford that, you can at least imagine what it would be like to spend one night in such a hotel.
Vacation Rental Apartments are also available in a broad range of price levels – from inexpensive to moderate to costly. A top-of-the-line Barcelona apartment can set you back as much as 400 Euros a night. But … you are likely to enjoy the use of a private Jacuzzi large enough for six people, top of the line appliances such as flat screen TV in each bedroom and a large terrace that will enable you to look out over much of the city.
This is an extreme of course. There is a great variety of more affordable options. If you are traveling with your family or you are part of a large group, a Barcelona apartment rental is probably the better choice for you. You’ll be able to save money – perhaps a lot of money – by sharing accommodations with your traveling companions. With each of you sharing in the expenses, the cost per night can be as low as 20-30 Euros per each.
Of course, if you are traveling alone or just with your spouse or a single traveling companion, the price differential between a hotel and an apartment rental is much smaller. In fact, in this case, the price for both is virtually the same.
Another way you can save money. If you choose to stay at a vacation apartment, you are almost certain to save money on food. Your rental apartment will have a fully-equipped kitchen in which you can cook meals, anytime you please, instead of always “eating out.” If you elect to stay in a hotel, your package will probably include breakfast, but no other meals … and that means you will have to spend money each day dining in restaurants. If you’re traveling with a large family, including children, it can get very expensive to eat out so frequently.
Where will you enjoy better amenities?
Both hotels and Holiday Apartments will enable you to enjoy many amenities, though rental apartment will probably be better than the hotel in terms of room facilities. Here’s why: any apartment you rent in Barcelona is likely to be fully furnished and well-equipped. The kitchens in most apartment rentals include a broad range of utensils and appliances, including a toaster, a coffeemaker, a microwave oven, a refrigerator, a combination stove/oven and much, much more.
There is even likely to be a washing machine and a dishwasher. It’s like having all of the comforts of home while you’re on vacation.
Many vacation apartments even provide renters with a DVD, a CD Player, an extra cot, a crib, even an internet connection.
And, as is true for hotels, Barcelona Apartments also provide renters with fresh, clean towels and bed linens. When you think about it, the only thing you need to bring with you if you’re renting a Barcelona apartment is your luggage.
Though keep this thought in mind: unlike hotels, apartment rentals in Barcelona do not include daily cleaning from maids or other service staff, so you may have to clean it yourself. If you’d prefer not to clean, you may be able to purchase cleaning services from the person renting the apartment to you for additional cost. You won’t have to worry about cleaning the apartment before you leave. It’s always done for you at no additional charge.
On the other hand there is a range of amenities only the hotels can provide you. Amenities such as a concierge, a restaurant, a swimming pool, free parking (there are apartment rentals that offer free parking also), meeting rooms and more are generally available only to those who stay in hotels and not in rental apartments. So it all depends on your preferencies in each journey.
Where will you be more comfortable?
The typical hotel room, even in a better hotel, is usually only large enough for two, possibly three, people. It will probably include a closet, perhaps a dressing area and a bathroom.
A short term apartment rental in Barcelona – at any price level – except perhaps a studio apartment, will give you much more. You’ll enjoy access to a living/dining room, a bedroom, a bathroom and a kitchen … all the comforts you’re used to enjoy in your own home.
This provides you with a big advantage if you’re traveling with a large family or even a group of friends because it allows you to enjoy substantially more privacy and freedom.
Think about this: if you’re traveling with young children and you rent a two-bedroom apartment, you’ll be able to keep your kids close to you and safe and, because you’ll have your own bedroom and privacy, you’ll be able to enjoy a “romantic evening” if the mood strikes you.
What about location?
Hotels and Holiday Apartments are located everywhere in Barcelona. You can stay in the center of the city and close to the action or far from the tourists and the noise. If you prefer, you can even stay at the beach in hotels or apartments located in that area.
Check-in/Check-out times depend on where you stay.
If you’re a guest at a Barcelona hotel, check-in –and-out time is normally noon, but can be as early as 11:00 A.M. There is no set rule for check-out times at Holiday Apartment Rentals. Generally, renters tend to check-out between 11:00 A.M. and 12 Noon. Check-In time is usually between 2:00 P.M. and 3:00 P.M. Here’s an important point to remember: if you’re renting an apartment, you can always ask your “landlord” for an earlier check-in time or a later check-out time. He or she will be happy to satisfy your request if it is at all possible to do so.
Luggage storage is available.
If you have a late afternoon or evening flight – and you have already checked out – your hotel will generally store your luggage until the end of the day. That convenience may not be available to you if you’re renting a holiday apartment … because, very often, a new renter is arriving just as you leave your apartment. Nevertheless, you can always ask the “landlord” for help temporarily storing your luggage for you until you’re ready to leave for the airport.
Which gives you the better experience?
If you’ve traveled before, you know what to expect from a hotel stay – standard, everyday amenities and comforts. A stay in a short term rental apartment in Barcelona can give you so much more – the chance to “live like a local” and experience Barcelona from a perspective not available to hotel guests. Choose to stay in a rented apartment and you will see, feel and experience life in Barcelona – Spanish style. There may be no other experience like it.
Holiday Apartment or hotel … no matter your choice, you are sure to enjoy your stay in Barcelona. But, if you’ve already experienced life as a hotel guest in the past, consider a Barcelona apartment rental this time. It may make your trip a lot more memorable.