We'll be staying 3 days in Barcelona in mid-Sept and wonder if there's any advantage to either accommodation. Prices seem to be about the same per night for either. Would a hotel be able to maybe offer suggestions to you for tours rather than an apartment where they may be a potential language barrier?
Apts are our preferred standard for stays in Europe. Advantages are additional space, kitchen, less costs (no one has their hand out for a tip and taxes are less, plus we negotiate) and being away from just being a temp tenant in a hotel. We use a number of web sites to find apts. nice thing about apts is the reviews are consistent w the experiences and landlords know they need excellent reviews to be able to rent their places. Language has never been a barrier. Sign of a good landlord, beyond the reviews, is their willingness to quickly communicate and consideration they may show in asking how they can help w trip planning.
In Barcelona we tend to stay outside of the main tourist zone and near vila olympica (which is near the beaches and has excellent metro service) we search for a/c, terrace, third floor and seek to stay off noisy streets. Use google street view to examine the area around the place you are considering renting.
You can have the best of both worlds in an aparthotel. We stayed at Upsuites BCN in the Eximple district. There is a receptionist to give you advice on sight-seeing, taking the metro, book your taxi to the airport, etc. You get daily housekeeping services, but it is a fully furnished apartment with kitchen, washing machine, living area, dining area, etc. There are markets and restaurants nearby. You are near two Metro lines.
Thx for the quick replies. We had looked at an apartment that's only 700 meters from the train station so would easily be walking distance. Will have to see if that's a better base than somewhere closer to the city center
You already got some pertinent advice, but I'll still chime in. I would expect hotel staff to be present and available longer hours than most apartment reception staff. However, I would put more priority on other features, such as how much you want to cook or do laundry, and convenience to sightseeing and public transport. Budget travelers can find quite a variety of supermarket supplies that don't require actual cooking.
Thx Laura. Yeah, we are on vacation and probably aren't planning on a lot of cooking if at all so unless an apartment was a real deal or perfectly located, it doesn't make sense to need those kinds of facilities. And we certainly don't mind walking so I'm thinking we may opt for some place more central to the city
I too have read lots of positive apartment renting posts all over the web, but have to be honest, our experience was awful. Simply, we found that even "reputable" booking agents can't control what the actual apartment owners post on their websites, so be careful to verify listing details and pics BEFORE you pay a deposit. We had 2 separate apartments picked out in Barcelona and found that both didn't have what was listed online. Pics were old or for a "different" apartments. Balconies that magically became "terraces" or disappeared altogether. 2 full baths became 1 full bath and a WC (toilet only). It was a nightmare. Be sure to ask questions and don't presume all is well unless you are willing to just take what you get (sorry, we're not). It's amazing how the language barrier becomes so prevalent when you ask detailed questions or ask for your deposit back...Caveat Emptor and all that...
Ultimately, we booked at the Hotel Banys Oriental in El Born. At least I'm confident they have what they say they have....hopefully :)
We will stay in apartment in Barcelona on June 19th for 5 nights. I rented this apartment via www.airbnb.com as I did last year for our one week in Paris. Price for good apartments for family of 4 much cheaper then hotels. For example we will pay 55 Euro per night for the whole apartment in the heart of Barcelona at La Rambla (near La Boqueria market) , also we will have washer/dryer and kitchen, which is very convenient with kids. The good point that is if you booking trough this site, they will keep your money on hold until your check in, and your host will get payment only upon your arrival and "check in"
I booked also apartments in Rome, near Vatican and in Greece trough this site and we never had any problems with hosts/languages and apartments. For booking all tours I will definitely recommend www.viator.com - you can pay here in US$ and choose from many options available. Print your "tickets" at home, almost all of them with "skip the line" options. Used this site for 4 years. Good luck and have a great trip!