Eixample, Barcelona, Spain
A spacious, super-stylish apartment for 2-4 in the heart of the Eixample district, looking onto Gaudí's La Pedrera building
It's funny how you can get a completely different experience of a
strange city, if you stay in someone's home. From the moment we
entered interior designer Alex's apartment (which he rents out on
demand), we felt like part of Barcelona's fabric as opposed to
visiting tourists. For starters, it is in a charming old
residential block of flats, so you're surrounded by the sights and
sounds of people living here; secondly, because it's someone's
home, there's loads of cooking equipment and space to spread out.
And thirdly, it's set in-between shops on Carrer Pau Claris, one of
the city's main thoroughfares, so you literally slip away from the
tourists and into a private entrance hall. As you catch the
old-fashioned elevator cage up to your flat on the second floor,
you can't help feeling smug.
Inside everything is beautiful. Sunlight streams through a conservatory, flooding the open-plan living area, and there's a back view of Gaudí's La Pedrera building. Original floor tiles, sliding wooden doors, ceiling roses and stain-glass interior windows reveal the building's history, while the kitchen is modern, sleek and petrol-blue with glass jars of pasta, an Aladdin's lamp of olive oil and a Nespresso machine. It's a clever mix, and quirky things are all around: a wicker bull's head over the fireplace, a penny vendor full of marbles that Alex has had since childhood. An Eames rocking chair helps it to feel magazine-beautiful, but it's homely, too. You feel comfortable flopping on the sofa, reading in the peaceful conservatory, or sitting around the table drinking coffee and starting your day slowly. You'll just wish you really lived here.
Reviewed by Liz Simpson
- A classy bolthole for a couple or a small family - there's a lovely double room and a single room with an extra bed
- The great location, minutes from Passeig de Gràcia's designer shops, round the corner from Gaudí's La Pedrera, and within walking distance of all the sights
- Alex's insider tips; eat at restaurants that locals love
- Wandering through the city to the beach in summer (30 minutes), or making a real fire and snuggling up in front of a DVD in winter
- Great value for money considering how much space you get, and a flexible rental (a 3-night minimum stay, but no changeover day)
- You'll need to pay an expensive damages deposit on arrival, by cheque or cash
- Bedrooms are small and don't have much/any natural daylight; the main one smelt a bit musty but luckily we had a scented travel candle with us!
- The second bedroom lacks the decorative joy of other areas and sometimes experiences noise from the lift. So although the apartment sleeps 4, we'd say it's best for 2 or for a family rather than 2 couples
- Don't expect fancy hotel touches such as bathrobes or toiletries; this is beautifully decorated but not luxurious
- There's no air-con, but there are ceiling fans in the living room and main bedroom, as well as a portable one
Locations don't get much better than this two-bedroom flat...Conde Nast Traveller (UK)