Where to stay in Barcelona – was a question which had crossed my mind and my lips over the last couple of weeks as I prepared for my trip. I had initially found a little apartment up in the Gracia district and closer to the mountains than the city. An obvious choice for me in some ways, but this time, as this was the first time, I would be visiting a place as a solo female traveller, I didn’t fancy a hike to come in and out of the Barcelona centre, with only a few short days to find my feet. It seemed easier and more convenient on this occasion to stay in town. I wondered – Where to stay in Barcelona?
I had been looking over the websites of the different hotels on offer. Many looked generic in their layout and furnishings and rather expensive. I was looking for something a touch more traditional, cheaper and hadn’t realised until I was actually staying in the Eixample district – wanted to fulfill the desire that had built during my stay in Paris – when on looking behind the big wooden doors I wondered about peoples lives.
Then I found Casa Maca guesthouse – the photographs of the tiled floors. The high ceilings, the promise of access to the terrace and the huge windows showing up in the photographs – along with the price of a room of course. Were all things which helped me make my decision to stay here. The location was within spitting distance of Casa Batlló. One of the places I wanted to visit on my stay -whilst on the trail of Gaudi.
I booked the superior double room – on this occasion and as it was the only one available for the dates I wanted. The cost of the room for two nights was £140. This included the city tax and room tax but also included breakfast. If you travel with a companion, this will of course include breakfast for both of you! From the information on the website I took the terrace to be accessible from my room but on arrival – the outside terrace is only accessible from the kitchen entrance and a proper hairdryer is available but it hangs on the coat rack in the hall (which is ok) there isn’t one in your room. The litre bottles of Shampoo and Shower gel were functional but unglamourious. There is something about seeing little bottles of this kind of stuff which sends me into raptures for some reason!
The guesthouse is slightly unusual, as there is no owner or staff on site 24 hours a day. Overnight, you are in the apartment on your own. I wondered if I would feel unsafe but it was fine. I would have liked a sturdier lock on my door though, rather than the small bolt.
Someone will come to meet you, when you arrive and first thing in the morning. You will be giving a contact number for the out of hours times – if there is a problem. A member of staff will be in the kitchen to chat and assist you with anything you need. Like showing you how to use the espresso machine…
There was plenty of bread, cold meat (although the choice wasn’t extensive) cheese, yogurts, cereal and cake to keep you going for breakfast. This suited me fine and the main table in the breakfast room was a place where we could mingle and chat.
Carla, the guesthouse owner said to me, “We like people, like you that stay.” This was because I found it interesting talking with the guests who came from Holland and Paris – I couldn’t resist asking them about the privacy sensation I picked up when on my 25th wedding celebration with my husband in August. “Yes, Parisians are private. It changes the closer you get to the outskirts of the city.” I was told over a glass of orange juice and a slice of Gouda.
My mind was beginning to build a view of Barcelona by this point. The huge wooden doors which led you into the cool, dark, marble interior of the lobby was opened by key of buzzer entrance which stated simply Casa Maca. Inside a lift was available for residents but not needed for the guesthouse as the door was tucked to the side of the first set of steps. Inside it was like walking into a little piece of history and local life. I had read about complaints about noise and doors banging but there was only the noise of people exiting and entering the building – the doors large and banged without it being a deliberate, careless thing. Sitting in the courtyard terrace it was like being in the soul of the city – as all the noises of living carried on above. I could hear washing machines whirring. Observe people hanging out their clothes to dry – in the afternoon the sun poured in as the children chatted away in spanish. I liked it – pulling out my book and sitting on the steps to enjoy the serenity.
My bed was very comfortable, the shower powerful – 3 toilet rolls on the shelf and one on the roll ( my bug bear as there is usually never enough) The air conditioning helpful at night. The large windows locked shut and kept out most of the noise. Although this room was at the front of the house and the buses didn’t stop running until midnight and had started again by 6am. During the day you could hear the chatter from the people on the street and had to make sure you kept your modesty as the patrons of the bus service could see straight in on you – if the curtains were open.
I would definitely recommend Casa Maca as a great place to stay – for location, price, character and the fact that it is only four stops away by train from Barcelona airport. The one way ticket cost only 4 euros 10 which is roughly £3.80 and the train is air conditioned. The airport station next to the terminal and Casa Maca a short walk from Passeig de Gracia train stop. The Guesthouse has a site which tells you about free things to do in Barcelona. Can arrange a taxi pickup, for you from the airport if you prefer and connect with you online, as the time comes for you to arrive in the city. Little touches which I thought was quite helpful.
I really enjoyed my stay at Casa Maca and totally recommend it to others.