Urban Suites: Holiday Apartments, Barcelona
Goddamnit Barcelona, one visit and I’m in love.
About two months ago I set out for a week-long trip to Barcelona, the land of tapas, pinchos, Estrella, sangria and one awesome apartment hotel, the Urban Suites.
The rooms at the Urban Suites are ideal for a stay of any length. They’re clean, comfortable and filled with everything you need, especially if you’re into the whole cooking “at home” during your vacation thing. I wasn’t, but having a fridge, wine opener, coffee maker and stove to make tea all easily accessible were a luxury that I really came to appreciate while I was there.
Besides a full kitchen setup, there was a full-size kitchen table, sofa, decent-sized television, along with lounge chairs and side tables that made the place extremely homey and relaxing. You could easily fit four people in this “single suite.” Not that I’d want to, I like my space, but you know, if you’re on a budget or traveling with family, this place will work perfect.
The bedroom had a large double bed (it felt more like a queen+), a television that I watched the best Spanish television on late at night (and understood none of) and a nicely sized bathroom right off of it. The bathroom also had a connecting door to the entrance hallway in the apartment, something to make a mental note of if you’re one of those budget or family travel groups.
Now, I think that some people would complain about the area that the Urban Suites are in, but they are idiots. The area is FANTASTIC. Seriously, I would move there. And I’m actually considering it as we speak, so there.
But, I can see where these people (who I can only assume are terrible travelers) are coming from. The hotel itself is not located on a main street, it’s tucked back in the alleys. Taxis had a hard time finding where I was going pretty much every time, but thankfully I speak enough broken Spanish to get my ass home every night. And when that didn’t work, my offline version of Google Maps always had my back.
The outside of Urban Suites is rather plain, you look right past it even after seeing it a thousand times. There’s no downstairs restaurant or coffee shop, no gift shop and definitely no 24 hour receptionist. Think of it as a real apartment building, a real live-like-a-local experience. Which is exactly what makes it so perfect for travelers like me.
The surrounding area is quiet. This part is true. There’s not a million cafes and restaurants, there are a handful and that’s it. There are a few pharmacies and a hardware store (if you need a plug adapter like I did – best $4.50 I spent in Spain!) both in close walking distance. So, why am I obsessed with this area when I just basically called it boring? Well, Poble-sec people, Poble-sec. And it’s adjoining area, Sant Antoni. These areas are what I would consider the up and coming Silver Lake/Echo Park type areas of Barcelona. You know, before the hipsters and douchebags move in, but after the amazing dive bars and restaurants pop up to take advantage of the cheap rent.
For example, Tickets (yeah, the Michelin-rated Tickets from Ferran Adria) as well as three other Adria-owned restaurants (one from brother Albert) are located here – Hoja Santa (went, it was delish), Bodega 1900 (had a friend go, she said it was delish) and Pakta (I want to go, I bet it’s delish). While I wasn’t able to talk my way into a night at Tickets, I did drink and eat my fair share (and more) across the way on Carrer de Blai, the best street in Barcelona (in my first-time-visitor opinion). With 1 euro pinchos, 2 euro beers and 3 euro wine and sangria this area is the best. Prices vary up and down the street, so head there hungry around 9 pm (when the locals go) and restaurant hop until you can’t fit in another crumb. And do what I did since you’ll be surrounded by locals, ask them where else to go and follow their recommendations word for word. Those will be the places that you really want to go to, I promise.
The next morning, when you’re battling a hazy wine hangover, like I was just about every day in Spain (don’t judge – you try to resist 3 euro wine!), head to Taranna Café for the blood sausage, eggs and white beans and then to Café Cometa for an espresso. And when evening hits again and you’re finally ready to get back on the alcohol horse, check out Bitter Cocktail Bar for a completely different, but equally awesome experience from Carrer de Blai. Trust Nacho and Priscilla when they tell you what you really want to drink.
So there you have it, Urban Suites wasn’t any place crazy to stay. It was clean, comfortable and most importantly located in an area that I, a go where the locals go, eat what the locals eat kind of traveler, fell in love with.
Hotel images courtesy of the Urban Suites.
My stay was sponsored by the Urban Suites. Opinions are absolutely, positively all my own. Scouts honor.
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