Barcelona has been on my f**k it list for a loooooong time, and apparently I’m not alone. Forget Santorini, THIS is the 2016 travel destination du hour if my social media feeds are anything to go by…but I wanted to go there first! Haha.
I finally convinced Mr Alice to go with me this year (we decided to do all city breaks together and then each of us have taken a separate beach holiday) so I got this booked pretty much as soon as the agreement came out of his mouth about 6 months ago.
We both agreed that we wanted to stay somewhere pretty central so that lots of things would be super close to walk to or on public transport links as we hadn’t been before. As well as that, hotel aesthetics are VERY important to me – I’m not a fan of chinz and would rather not go somewhere if that was only sort of thing I could afford. I know that might sound a bit diva-ish, but for me it’s just a waste of money if you go somewhere you don’t really like, rather than waiting a little while until you can find somewhere that you do.
After a bit of digging we chose the Petit Palace Boqueria Garden which is on a little street about halfway down the famous La Rambla (not Las Ramblas, as most of us call it). From here is was really easy to go from the main square area, into the side streets of La Rambla and to the marina/beach area. In short, pretty much spot on.
You’d almost walk past the entrance as it blends in a with the other buildings (thought it’s still very clean and smart) it’s the interior that makes it stand outFrom the moment we walked in, I could instantly see that this is probably one of the most instagram-able places I’ve stayed – the perfect combo of traditional meets modern. This beautiful marble entrance greets guests with a cooling temperature and a beautiful fragrant scent, which is so welcome after a early morning flight or a long day of sightseeing.the vibe turns more homely-cool towards the back of the ground floor in the breakfast area with the fabulous exposed brick and colour pop soft furnishings. We chose to stay here on a room only basis because the hotel wanted us to pay 13€ per person per day which we felt was a little excessive for a simple buffet. Besides, part of the enjoyment is having the freedom to try something a little different each day (thought that’s not quite what we ended up doing!)the funky af bar was a whole other vibe again and felt like a great place to chill out, listen to music (they had great playlists) and enjoy a cheeky sangria. There was also a lovely outdoor courtyard area with yet another chilled out vibe – funky shaped (but comfy) white seating, garden and more cool exposed brick.we stayed in a standard double room – simple, chic and with really cool backlighting behind the headboard. As with most hotels, my HUGE bugbear was that there was no damn mirror over the desk area to do my hair/makeup in good lighting. Why do all hotels do this now??the bathroom was awesome – powerful and warm hydro shower and lots of space for our stuff.image credits – mixture of myself and the Petit Palace Boqueria Garden
Staff were really nice and friendly, really keen to offer us recommendations of places to eat and providing us with maps. They also allowed us to book tickets using hotel contact information so that they could ensure that our documents could be printed out properly and promptly.
A few things to be aware of when staying in the La Rambla area:
– Non-public minibuses/coaches aren’t allowed to drive down the main throughfare, so if you book an airport transfer than expect to br dropped off in the main square and walk the final part of your journey (you’ll see a lot of people doing it). Taxis are fine.
– Crime is said to be rife. I say ‘said to be’ because we didn’t witness or experience any, and are both incredibly aware of this sort of thing (I in particular am always in a semi-state of suspicion). Be wary of people bumping into you during very busy times, people stopping you in the street for a light or unofficial street sellers.
– the walkways are all very well maintained, but can be a teeny bit slippy in the wrong type of footwear.
– a lot of the restaurants and cafes on the main road have the tendency to charge higher prices for food that’s not necessarily worth the inflated price.
Keeps your eyes peels for parts 2 and 3 which will cover things to do and (my personal fave) where/what to eat!