It’s beginning to feel as though the ‘real’ Barcelona is being squeezed out of the city centre by the rising tide of lookalike hotels, restaurants and ‘tiendas de cositas’.
One area that has – so far at least – escaped the gentrification is Sants. This isn’t the prettiest area of town, but being close to both transport links (notably Sants train station and the Aerobus stop at Plaza España) and some of the city’s top attractions, it’s a good place to spend a few days if you want to get away from the crowds of the city centre while still seeing the sights. This is a down-to-Earth neighbourhood, where local bars are plentiful and simple, and the risk of them being turned into a chi-chi wine bar is minimal.
We stayed at the Urban Suites, a modern aparthotel located between Plaza España (where the airport bus stops) and Sants, in a quiet corner of the neighbourhood and just a couple of minutes’ walk from the metro station at Tarragona (with a direct line to Passeig de Gracia and the stops along Las Ramblas). The attractions of Plaza España and Montjuic are all within easy walking distance, and for those who prefer to travel the slow way, it’s a pleasant stroll through the Eixample to the heart of the city centre.
Suites are roomy and spacious, with kitchen, dining area and a lounge with sofa-bed as well as a generously sized bedroom and bathroom. The design is clever; cut-throughs in the walls allow glimpses through one room to the next, giving the whole apartment an open, airy feel. Floor-to-ceiling windows continue the theme, and give a glimpse of the plaza below.
There is also a large roof terrace, equipped with chairs and a few sunloungers and with views of the neighbourhood below. Staff were very pleasant, and check-in was a breeze even though we arrived earlier than planned. The hotel has no bar or restaurant, although there are vending machines and plenty of shops and bars nearby, and parking is available on site.
Address: The Urban Suites, C/ Sant Nicolau 1-3, 08014 Barcelona
Telephone: +34 93 201 51 64
Gusto Guides received free accommodation at The Urban Suites in exchange for honest coverage. All opinions remain – as always – our own.