I said in my Barcelona preview that I’d be checking out a new accommodation option during my stay…
So consider this the reveal of where that was!
Slap bang in the middle of Barcelona – literally seconds off of Plaça Catalunya and only a few more off La Rambla – is what you’d call a prime location, and it’s here you’ll find the newest property of the growing hostel mega-chain, St Christopher’s.
With Catalunya metro station (and regional trains) and Aerobus and local bus stops within a minute’s walk, you literally have every corner of Barcelona at your fingertips as soon as you leave the hostel doors. So safe to say that’s a good start!
As you walk in you won’t be able to help but notice just how brand spanking new the place is. I’m not sure exactly how long they’ve been open for, but it’s definitely not been too many months. The reception area is very fresh and swanky looking, however being a big place it does seem to be perpetually busy!
Checking is a fairly simple matter. You’ll be given a key-card to access both the elevators and the various security doors you’ll have to pass through – which include your actual room of course. You can also rent towels and buy a range of other toiletries that you may have forgotten. Most noteworthy is that you can ask for free earplugs at reception – an awesome touch that more hostels should take note of!
On the downside whilst luggage storage was available at the hostel, you’ll pay a hefty rate for the excess luggage lockers that are available on the first floor. If you need this facility I’d make sure you have lots of Euro coins on you…
Whilst the reception staff were fairly cold in their interactions, I’m more than willing to accept that this was probably down to how damn busy it was every time I was there.
Now how about the main thing you’re actually paying for – somewhere to sleep? Well it’s safe to say St Christopher’s scores very highly in that regards.
I stayed in an eight bed dorm, and was delighted to find each bed equipped with a privacy curtain, personal reading light and power socket, and – something that always scores über highly with me – a quilt! The beds were pretty damn comfy too (even ignoring the fact I’d done about 14 hours of walking the day I checked in!), so this was a win all-round. Although I was only on the third floor Wi-Fi signal was also excellent.
Rather than the traditional locker you’ll instead find a lockable drawer you can pull out from under the bed. Don’t worry, it’s seriously large, and you’ll have room for plenty of stuff in there. After almost a week of using a traditional locker I actually think I preferred these types, as I found it much easier to access all my clothes and kit and could leave it all unpacked yet securely sealed.
Another great aspect of the room was the spacious design of it, as it also featured a space in front of the windows with a couple of cushioned benches. This opened out the room much more and meant despite the eight beds it felt in no way cramped. So I really only have positive things to say about the spotless, air-conditioned dorm rooms – ace stuff!
Now for the bathrooms. These were actually split into two parts, as you’ll find the toilets parallel along the corridor to the shower rooms on your floor (male and female are seperate). Whilst both rooms are in great condition considering how new the hostel is, there is a bit of a sewage smell that kicks up through the drains of the toilet rooms. It’s unlikely that it’s actually the hostel’s fault and is probably more down to the location being right in the centre of BCN, but no-one wants their nose watering at that minging cabbagey smell.
On the flip-side though the actual rooms are kept really clean – indeed I twice came across cleaners at work in the shower rooms – and the design of the shower cubicles is really great, as the layout of the panels and shelves means you’ll be able to undress in the cubicle but keep all your items away from the spray of the shower. A well thought out touch.
Heading back downstairs to the reception you’ll find St Christopher’s chain cafe/bar/restaurant Belushi’s attached. This is open to the public as well as guests, although you will get some vouchers upon check-in so have a browse and make use of these.
It’s here you’ll find breakfast served in the morning, which consists of various cereals, breads, jams, butter, milk, juices, cheese and ham (at least on my stay). It’s a decent enough selection that provides all you need to wake up with, but of course if you’re fancying more then La Boqueria is only 10 minutes down La Rambla. You’ll also find some computers along the right wall for guest use in here.
Of course what Belushi’s is really made for however is for getting some serious drink on in the Barcelona night. Or at least that’s the impression I got from the mass of Australians staying there!
Yes a visit to the bar in the evening will make you realise that you’re definitely in a party hostel, and it can be a pretty damn loud place. I’m going to try and be objective here and say with the busy atmosphere of Belushi’s on a Barcelona evening you’re probably in the right place for some alcohol-fuelled socialising (if you can hear over the music), but on a personal level I’d rather head to El Born and actually enjoy the city than spend time in a loud and leery bar full of sozzled Aussies/Americans. But hey, different horses for different courses, and it’s easy to avoid the bar completely during your stay if you’re that way inclined.
Overall though my stay at St Christopher’s Barcelona was a very good one. I really needed a comfy bed by the time I got to visiting the place and it duly delivered on that front. If you’re young and out for a hedonistic Barcelona stay it also won’t let you down on that side. And best of all, you can pick up a bed at a some pretty amazing rates, with my stay costing me around €14-15 for the night (plus €2 to rent a towel). Add in the superb central location and it’s definitely a welcome addition to the Barcelona hostel scene.
Not perfect no, but recommended without a doubt!
St Christopher’s Barcelona: Carrer de Bergara, 3, 08002 Barcelona, Spain