Eixample Boutique Apartment

Eixample, Barcelona, Spain Book from Eur300

Reviewed by Nadine Mellor
A luxurious architect-designed apartment in the upscale Eixample district (sleeping 6-8)
Immediately to the north-west of the Ciutat Vella (old city), the late 19th-century district of Eixample (meaning 'extension' in Catalan) is famous for its octagonal blocks and Modernist buildings. It's also where you'll find this whip-smart apartment, which was refurbished to a pleasingly high standard by friendly Anglo-Spanish couple John and Josefina.

Contemporary-classic in style, it features designer furnishings (Aeron chairs and Agustin Puig artwork), 3 blissfully comfortable bedrooms and 3 indulgent bathrooms (2 of them ensuite). There's a fully equipped kitchen, a living/dining room with a sofa (bespoke, of course), and library-style shelving stacked with guide books. All mod cons are here, from blackout blinds to Bose sounds docks, yet the feel is beautifully uncluttered. John and Josefina live a few blocks away and will do their utmost – including providing detailed information packs and free mobile phones – to ensure your staycation in Barcelona is a perfect as can be. Ours certainly was.

Highs

  • Architect-led refurbishment with high-quality fixtures and fittings, and superb attention to detail (including a shopping trolley and umbrella to make self-catering easy)
  • John and Josefina's 'virtual concierge' service – no request is too much trouble, or too unusual!
  • Excellent location in a safe neighbourhood, close to public transport, shopping on the Passeig de Gràcia, and sights such as Gaudí's Casa Milà
  • Flexible accommodation that suits everybody from couples to families
  • There's a home office with a flat-screen computer and WiFi - handy if you need to check into work periodically

Lows

  • Certainly not the cheapest apartment you'll find in Barcelona (there's a weekend and public holiday check in/out surcharge, for example) – but quality never is cheap
  • A surprising lack of food shops in the immediate vicinity, but you'll be eating out quite a bit and it's close to a market
  • Set on a busy road, but state-of-the-art acoustic insulation means this isn't too much of a bother
  • Bear in mind there's a minimum stay of 3-4 nights

Best time to go

Barcelona is a justly popular year-round city. It's busy in May with the Grand Prix, and attracts many visitors from April to October and again at Christmas/New Year. It can get chilly in winter, and very hot in the summer months.

Our top tips

You need not bring your laptop as the apartment has a guest computer, WiFi and a printer. John and Josefina pride themselves on providing anything you need, so if you forget something, worry not!

Great for...

City Style
Family
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Luxury Apartment
  • 3 bedrooms sleeping 6-8
  • Self-catering (+ nearby restaurants)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Laundry Service
  • Balcony
  • Weekly maid service
Room:

Rooms

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.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee maker
  • Cots Available
  • Dishwasher
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob stove
  • Internet access
  • Iron
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Shopping trolley
  • Slippers
  • Terrace
  • Toaster
  • Toiletries
  • Tumble dryer
  • Umbrellas
  • Washing machine
  • Wifi internet
  • Wifi internet

Eating

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.

Features include:

  • Chef on request
  • Children meals
  • Coffee maker
  • Food and wine
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob stove
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Shopping service
  • Toaster
  • Walk to restaurants
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • You're perfectly placed to discover the wonderful works of Modernist architect Antoni Gaudí. It’s a 15-minute stroll to his never-finished masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia, and to the excellent Casa Milà (also known as La Pedrera). You can also take a bus to the fabulous Park Güell with its dreamscape tiling, serpent-edged terrace and views over the city

  • Explore Eixample, known for its Modernist buildings and street pattern of square blocks with chamfered corners

  • Amble down La Rambla. You’ve not 'been' to Barcelona without taking a turn down this busy pedestrian street which flows down to the harbour

  • Browse the museums. Unsurprisingly, given its artistic heritage, Barcelona has several excellent art galleries and museums, notably the Picasso Museum in medieval La Ribera, the Maritime Museum in the former dockyards, and the Fundació Joan Miró in Montjuïc

  • Go shopping. Whether you crave funky vintage threads (found in El Raval), upscale boutiques (check out Passeig de Gràcia) or traditional food markets (La Boqueria, off La Rambla), you've come to the right city

  • Hit the beach. Barcelona's beach is easily accessible for swimming, sunbathing, windsurfing, sailing, kayaking and waterskiing

  • Take a day trip. The mountain-top Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria de Montserrat is an hour and a half's train ride away, or you can visit the pretty medieval city of Girona, the beaches of Sitges or the Dalí museum in Figueres

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Food and wine
  • Historical sites
  • Kayaking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Private guided tours
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Waterskiing
  • Windsurfing

Kids

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'.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

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.

Babysitting:

Available on request - see Rates.

Baby equipment:

  • Two baby cots
  • High chair
  • Pushchair
  • Baby bedding
  • Night light
  • Baby bath

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

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.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Children's DVDs
  • Toys and books for ages 3-6
  • Cable TV

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Beach and Port Olympic
  • Museum of Ideas and Invention
  • Museu Blau (Natural History Museum)
  • Aquarium

  • Zoo
  • Nearly all the city's parks have a playground

Distances:

  • Airport: 20 minutes
  • Hospital: 5 minutes
  • Shops: 2 minutes
Kid Friendly:

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