Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Urban Suites, Barcelona...

I recently received an invitation from Raquel at The Urban Suites to come and check out their holiday apartments for review on this blog. We often have friends and family visiting the city, and we have a tiny one bedroom flat which means sometimes having to find other options for guests.  I was more than happy to do some further investigation for personal as well as blog research purposes.

The exterior of The Urban Suites building

The Urban Suites are located in the Sants area, really close to Plaza Espanya and Montjuic, as well as being great for transport links to the whole city. Sants train station is within a few minutes’ walk, handy for the airport and day trips outside the city, with the nearest Metro stop, Tarragona, about 2 minutes away.

The Living Room

We stayed on a stormy Wednesday night, luckily arriving just before the rain, thunder and lightning got going. It hasn’t rained here for ages, so we were actually quite pleased to see it as there have been talks of possible water shortages recently. It rains hard here when it does come down, but usually only for one day, so it’s not so bad.

View from the roof

The first thing that impressed me was the lovely welcome we got from Raquel and the next thing was the size of the suite. We were trying out one of the 2 to 3 person suites and were amazed at how spacious they are. I think they may actually be bigger than our flat.

Me in the hallway

These suites have a double bedroom, living room with sofa bed, fully equipped kitchen and a bathroom. I won’t go on about these too much as you can get full specifications from their website but the inclusion of a DVD player,  mini stereo, free WiFi and a proper hairdryer were nice touches. The apartment felt really private, and I was massively impressed with the kitchen.  Sants Market is very close so I can see this being a great option if you want to cook.

The living room

The kitchen

Unfortunately the rain prevented us from using the roof terrace, but we had a quick peek and could see that it would be lovely in the summer. There are sun loungers and a shower up there as well as a free laundry room, another nice touch for people on longer holidays who don’t want to have to pack lots of clothes.  They even provide free washing powder and fabric softener for you.

Roof terrace

As it was raining so much we decided to stay in and go for the cosy option of watching TV and quaffing gin and tonics, and the comfy sofa made that pretty easy to do. I think we may have quaffed too much though as we both had a problem figuring out how to turn the bedroom lights off when we wanted to sleep, which was hilarious. We should know better at our age…

Roof terrace

Personally I’d be more than happy to recommend The Urban Suites to family and friends. The apartments have everything you could need, there are lots of shops and amenities nearby and it really felt like a little home away from home. There are larger apartments available for groups also. You’re not close to the beach which may put some people off, but you can get the 57 or 157 bus close by, and that brings you right to the sea in about 15 minutes. We like to go out in Sants quite often; there are lots of bars and restaurants around Plaza Osca with our favourite being the Fo Bar. You’re also close to two nice parks. 

I reckon this would be an excellent place to stay if you like self-catering options and I’m not surprised that they get great reviews. They definitely get the thumbs up from me and His Nibs.

Huge shower

The bathroom

Access to the bathroom from the hall and the bedroom, nice touch!

The bedroom

The bedroom

TV in the bedroom

Dining area and the kitchen

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Butifarra, Vermut and models in Barcelona...

Last night saw us head to the model casting for the next face of the ButiClub, a Barcelona members club for appreciators of fashion, art and the finer things in life, especially the Butifarra sausage

I don't think there are many places in the world that would combine the three above together, but in Barcelona it makes sense.

The model casting was taking place at the spiritual home of the ButiClub, La Pineda charcutería, which had the tiniest red carpet in the world outside. All of the action was being filmed by the French TV channel Canal + so there was quite a buzz in the tiny gothic street. We couldn't all squeeze in to the shop itself but a lovely chica kept bringing us all glasses of Vermut and pieces of Butifarra to keep us going.

We were able to watch some of the action on the TV screen in the shop window.

The full line up of the models came out to the red carpet outside for some photo opportunities with the owner of La Pineda at the end.

The party carried on afterwards at the Blondie Bar which was a short hop, skip and jump away. We had to zoom off somewhere else but it looked like it was set to be a lively night.