“A luxurious architect-designed apartment in the upscale Eixample district (sleeping 6-8)”
Set in a turn-of-the-century building, the apartment has been refurbished to a very high standard. It’s spacious and cool, with white oak floors, ambient spot lighting, designer pieces such as Aeron chairs, and bold original artwork by Agustin Puig (if it looks familiar, it's because he featured in Woody Allen's Vicki Cristina Barcelona).
There are 3 large bedrooms which can be set up as kingsize doubles or twins, and 3 bathrooms (2 of them ensuite) with double sinks, rain showers and designer tiles. The hub of the apartment is the open-plan living and dining area, where you’ll find a stylish sofa, a TV with 50 channels, a DVD player, a Bose sound dock, and a display wall stacked with useful reference books on the city. Sunshine floods the room, and French doors lead to an enclosed balcony with a table and chairs, plus large windows that you can fling open to catch the breeze.
Attention to detail is superb. Beds are dressed with 100% Egyptian cotton sheets, feather duvets and a choice of pillows, and the blackout blinds are so effective that we slept in unexpectedly late. Bathrooms have fluffy towels, gowns and slippers, dispenser soap gel and shampoo, hairdryers and organic soap. There’s also a safe, laundry facilities (washing machine, dryer, clothes horse, iron and ironing board), an office space with a computer and printer, and a complimentary mobile phone (charge the call card in the local Vodafone shop). And, as it’s on a busy road, John and Josefina have installed state-of-the-art acoustic insulation and double glazing.
The compact yet extremely well-stocked kitchen harmonises with the apartment's decorative scheme. It's decked out in gleaming white, with deceptively spacious cupboards housing every gadget you could wish for, from blenders to toasters to coffee percolators, plus a large selection of pots, pans, crockery, cutlery and glassware. There's also a large fridge-freezer, a microwave and a dishwasher.
The 8-seater dining table sits in the short stroke of the L-shaped living room, and there's also a little table on the balcony for breakfast or morning coffee.
John and Josefina can do a grocery shop for you on request and can also provide a chef if you want a special meal. They have thoughtfully provided a shopping trolley (and complimentary umbrellas) to make self-catering easy. The nearest mini-supermarket, Open Cor, is a block away and is open from 8am-2am, but it's far nicer to shop in Barcelona's fantastic food markets. La Boqueria in the old city is the most famous, but there's another covered market, Mercat Concepció, just a couple of blocks from the apartment.
Eating out is also a delight in Barcelona. John works with the best private chef's school in Spain and has a constantly changing list of great restaurants to sample. Aside from the ubiquitous tapas bars - good examples of which include Paco Meralgo, Taktika Berri and El Vaso de Oro - there are restaurants showcasing Spain's regional cuisine, including Sense Pressa (Catalan), Las Rias Gallegas (Galician) and El Asador de Aranda (Castillian). John also recommends Atzavara on Carrer Muntaner for vegetarians, Koy Shunka in the old city for Japanese cuisine, and Bembi (behind the apartment) for Indian fare.
The apartment works really well as a home from home for holidaying families and, despite the high-spec fixtures and fittings, children of all ages are welcome (even toddlers). John and Josefina are a British-Catalan couple and are extremely helpful with recommendations and suggestions. The apartment is set in a safe neighbourhood and has a well-stocked kitchen, blackout blinds and babysitters on request.
Barcelona's many attractions are very family-friendly; if you're looking for something unusual, don't miss the Museum of Ideas and Invention, which opened in 2011, with its slide, glass floors and 'corner of the absurd'.
There are 3 bedrooms, all of which can be set up as twin rooms on request; there are two occasional beds that can be set up anywhere in the apartment. Note that all 3 bathrooms have showers rather than bathtubs, though you can borrow a baby bath if your tot is little.
Available on request - see Rates.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The gadget-heavy kitchen includes a blender and microwave for baby food. Shops selling baby food are close by and there are plenty of child-friendly eateries in the neighbourhood. You can also arrange a chef or order takeaways.