“A spacious, super-stylish apartment for 2-4 in the heart of the Eixample district, looking onto Gaudí's La Pedrera building”
One of the best things about choosing an apartment over a hotel is that you get a lot of space for your money - and this place feels huge. You enter into a warm-red hallway, and the quirky tone is immediately set by a plastic goose wearing headphones. To your left is the small second bedroom-cum-study, to your right is a laundry room with a shower and toilet, and down the hall you'll find the main bedroom with its ensuite bathroom, plus an open-plan lounge, kitchen and conservatory area.
The main bedroom is small but lovely, with a very high wood-beamed ceiling, an exposed brick wall, an elegant fabric lamp and a cosy double bed under a black-and-white photo of spring lambs. It's not fancy but it's very cool. The room leads onto a dressing area with drawers and hanging space, then a simple white-tiled bathroom with a tub and overhead shower. We slept well, and liked hearing other residents settling down for the night at the same time as us; it felt homely.
The second bedroom is rather dark, and lacks the thought and charm of the other rooms, but it would be good for a child or 2, and there's a long desk if you need some study space. There's a single bed, a rollaway bed, and a retro photographer's umbrella light hanging from the ceiling.
The lichen-coloured living area is where you'll spend most of your time. We loved the welcoming lounge with its squashy sofa, open fireplace (logs are provided) and fun touches such as a black-and-white portrait of a woman smoking, and a tin cat statue. The ceiling is high with plasterwork roses; doors are carved from wood. Through in the conservatory you'll find an Eames rocking chair and glorious views of La Pedrera, with tourists scurrying over that famous roof.
This is a kitchen for proper cooking, not just a show home. Although small, it has plenty of gleaming-white surfaces for chopping, and the drawers are superbly well equipped. There are good pans, baking trays, a blender and sharp knives, even a garlic presser and ice-cream scoop. Crockery (including champagne glasses) sits in a tall cupboard, and there are napkins and tablecloths should you want them. Equipment-wise, there's an induction hob, an oven and microwave, a dishwasher and a tall fridge/freezer, plus a Nespresso machine.
Basic ingredients are provided (olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper, jars of pasta, even honey in an elegant glass jar), and you'll find all manner of cleaning equipment. Alex will direct you to a supermarket for staples, and there's a 24-hour grocery store a few doors up, but we'd recommend La Boqueria market for fresh ingredients (just off Las Ramblas, 20 minutes' walk): fresh-out-of-the-sea crabs, fruit, veg and delicious Iberian meats.
You'll want to eat out a few times, and there are heaps of restaurants an easy stroll away; check the booklet written by Alex for his local suggestions. We headed to Carlota Akaneya, a Japanese restaurant, and had a wonderful barbecue of tender meat and shellfish, washed down with beer in ice-cold glasses. For something special the Michelin-starred Moo at Hotel Omm is around the corner from the apartment, as is its more-affordable sister restaurant Mordisco. Nearby, trendy Bocagrande is good for a pre or post-dinner drink.
This would be a good place for a family with a baby, or children aged 4+; it's probably not ideal for toddlers as there are lots of gorgeous furnishings that wouldn't go well with jam hands. There's a main bedroom with an ensuite bathroom (tub and shower), and a second bedroom with 2 single beds and a small shower bathroom. You'd need to bring a travel cot for a baby.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
There's a full kitchen, including a microwave for warming bottles and food.