Even as a solo traveler, there is something quite true about the saying, “It’s not where you travel, it’s with whom you travel.” Ambience, environment, and the people who surround me have a vast impact on how I feel. If something is amiss, I won’t hesitate to leave. If everything is in sync, I’m apt to stay.
Such was my experience at Gracia City Hostel. I was supposed to have stayed for two nights upon arriving in Barcelona for the first time, after which I would proceed with my arrangements on couchsurfing. But… The dude gave me creepy vibes. And I loved staying at the hostel. It wasn’t just talking to my new friends from Germany, India, Mexico, Ireland, Belgium- and, of course- Spain that made me settle in. It was so much more.
Now, this may be my first time in Europe, but I had previously stayed in too many hostels to count over 11 years, three continents, 23 countries, and a myriad of cities. You could say that I get around (the world, of course…), and I know what’s what in terms of where I stay.
I was sick as a dog when I got into Barcelona (thanks, guy to my left on Norwegian airlines from Stockholm to Barcelona), but still, everyone treated me warmly at Gracia City Hostel. They offered to get me tea, medicine, etc. instead of avoiding me, my cough, and runny nose like the plague. After a few days of hibernating in my little corner of the dorm, I was feeling a bit better, and was able to socialize more.
What I realized was that, here, everyone was part of an international family. Gracia City Hostel provided a sense of community, offering free walking tours, flamenco shows, reggae concerts, weekly paella and sangria nights, and a common area just to hang out, have a beer, write, or watch a movie.
So here are the main reasons why I would (and will, come the end of May) stay at the Gracia City Hostel again:
- Cleanliness: This place looked like they had Mr. Clean hiding out in one of the rooms. From the kitchen to the entryway to the bathrooms, it was never dirty. Spotless. No need for fear of germs or possible infestations of unwanted critters, unless you bring them along.
- Location: Gracia City Hostel is in the heart of Gracia’s artistic neighborhood, within walking distance of Casa Fuster, La Sagrada Familia, restaurants (even vegan ones!), bars, cafes, markets, and so on. If I needed to use the Metro, I walked for less than five minutes and then had access to all of Barcelona.
- Eco-friendliness: The lights are motion-detected, the showers and toilets are designed to conserve water, and there are not only garbage bins, but recycling and compost as well. You can tell that these guys care about the earth, and I love it.
- Small details: We all know the importance of the major stuff, like having a kitchen to cook in, access to the internet, and not having bugs in your bed. Nonetheless, sometimes the small details are what complete a place and give it charm. From the records on display to the positive messages strewn about, the artwork on the walls, the vintage typewriter, and the constantly updated calendar of activities, Gracia City Hostel had the alluring sense of minimalistic collectiveness.
- No weird, strict rules: If you’ve stayed at a hostel, you might have run into one of those places with strange signs posted everywhere, like “Don’t wash your feet in the sink” (duh) or “All lights must be off after 9pm.” Not here. Obviously, you should be courteous and considerate of other travelers, but it doesn’t mean that you have to be in bed before the clock strikes 12. There’s no curfew- not here where many people stay out until 5am. Overall, there’s a very relaxed feel here, and the objective is to make you feel as comfortable as you would at home.
- Friendly staff: There’s nothing more important to me than feeling comfortable with the people who work at a hostel. They were all very open, inviting, and eager to make my stay as enjoyable as possible. I knew that, if I ever needed anything, they would be there to help me. These were people who, even if I’d met them elsewhere, I’d want to be friends with.
- Safety: Not just anyone can walk in the front door- you need a card to get in. Nonetheless, there is staff on call at all hours in case you need help or happen to have forgotten that card. Each person has a large locker to stash away his or her stuff (I was able to easily fit both of my backpacks in the locker). Bring a lock or buy one at the reception. As someone who travels with plenty of valuable gear, security is very important to me, and I always felt comfortable leaving my belongings behind as I explored Barcelona.
If you are going to Barcelona and want to stay in one of the city’s coolest neighborhoods, and you’d like to stay in a place where you don’t want to leave, then you’ve found your hostel. You can either book through Yonderbound, or just go directly to Gracia City Hostel’s reservation page. Have a great time, and let me know what you think!
Gracia City Hostel can be contacted at:
(0034) 936-674-115 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gracia City Hostel
Carrer Sant Pere Martir, 18, 08012
Gràcia, Barcelona, Spain