Trip Snapshot: Barcelona, Spain – September 2018
Reason for trip: Holiday! After our Berlin jaunt in 2017, Sara and I decided to pick another European city that neither of us had been to before. We toyed with the idea of Rome but in the end, Barcelona won out.
Stayed for: 6 nights – Wednesday to Tuesday
Flew: London Heathrow > Barcelona El Prat: Terminal 1 with British Airways
If you need to wait on arrival at El Prat: T1, there are a couple of cafes to grab a drink. Some general seating areas are available, but when I arrived, the airport was busy so I had to sit on the floor until a spot became available.
On departure, note that the vast majority of duty-free stores are in the Schengen zone departure area, down the escalator when you come through security. If you want to browse or pick up some last minute gifts, don’t head straight through passport control immediately but make sure you leave yourself enough time to do so.
Free Wi-Fi is available & works well.
Transport: To & from the airport, we used the Aerobus service – an express shuttle that goes direct from T1 (& T2) to the city centre, Plaça de Catalyuna, with a few stops along the way – we returned from Plaça España. Buses leave every 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the time of day and cost €5.90 for a single ticket & €10.20 for a return. It is possible to purchase a ticket upon boarding the bus.
For day to day travel about the city, we got a 4 day/96 hour card for €28.80 – this allows for unlimited travel on the metro, buses & trams, though we solely used it on the metro. Overall I found the system to be good, trains were frequent but often crowded at peak times.
Stayed: Hotel Denit & B Hotel
Hotel Denit, Gothic Quarter:
Stayed for: 3 nights
If you’re looking for a super central base with a small price tag then Hotel Denit is ideal. Tucked on an alley off Carrer de la Fontanella, the hotel is moments away from Plaça Catalunya and the winding, mysterious streets of the Gothic quarter. Our room was modern but small, with two large suitcases it was often a struggle to move around! The bathroom was so tiny that the sink had to be housed in the main room! We were offered an upgrade for a nominal fee at check-in which in hindsight we should have accepted.
As for amenities, there aren’t many – no pool or gym here. We didn’t make use of it, but there is a small area in the lobby where you can buy coffee, wine and some basic snacks. The WiFi worked well. Breakfast wasn’t included in the room rate so we picked up items from the Carrefour supermarket on Las Ramblas, a five minute walk away.
For those who want to spend a lot of time luxuriating in their room, then this isn’t the place. For those who want to maximise their time exploring the city then it’s perfect.
B Hotel, Plaça España:
Stayed for: 3 nights
On this trip, we split our hotel stays, moving away from the city centre for the last 3 nights.
At B Hotel, what we lost in location, we gained in space & a small rooftop pool. The room, again with modern styling, was at least double the size of our Hotel Denit residence for a negligible price difference. Journey time to Plaça Catalunya is less than 15 minutes via metro.
While we were there, the hotel was undergoing renovations so we had to walk through a service corridor to reach the elevator. The lobby bar was also shut, so we didn’t see the place at its usual standard.
B Hotel is almost next door to the multi-level Arenas shopping mall, a building which once housed a bullfighting ring. On offer in Arenas is a wide range of shopping, restaurants and a supermarket in the basement. On the top floor, there is a viewing deck which overlooks B Hotel’s roof pool. While at the pool, we would quite often look over and see people waving at us! You might not get much peace & privacy at the pool, but for a short dip, some sunbathing & Sangria, it does the job.
B Hotel is a great option for those who need a little extra space & don’t mind some travel time.