What I’ve been seeing throughout my Luxury Hostels Tour is how hostelling has been evolving into this concept where the whole focus is now on creating experiences, experiences that travellers will cherish and remember for a long time to come.
At Casa Gracia, it’s all about the experience.
As you can tell from the first word ‘Casa’, the concept of this hostel is all about feeling at home , a ‘home in Gracia’ and that’s what they focus on offering.
The building in itself is not something you would typically associate with a hostel.
It’s more like an apartment building, which actually was the original idea before the idea of the hostel was born in the owners minds.
You feel like you’re stepping into time , the moment you walk in.
Entering through the beautiful wrought iron gate and then stepping into the stylish elevator that seems to be a time capsule from the art-deco era.
Reception staff are cheerful , check-in is bright and breezy.
Either at check-in or later in evening, you’ll soon be acquainted with Alex, who is the Casa’s dedicated guest relations manager.
This is part of the hostel’s efforts to be helping create a home away from home experience for its guests and looking after their needs during their stay.
Alex has an impressive resume of organising concerts, opera, ballet shows involving some of the biggest names in the entertainment business back in his home country Romania. So , he clearly knows how to entertain and put on a show for the guests.
Minutes after we meet soon after checking in, he’s offering me tickets to go a beach party with some of the hostel guests- DJ plus drinks and barbeque for just 15 euros. Sounds amazing and I’m half tempted but realise with 3 weeks of hostelling and hardly any sleep, I need to take it easy so I decline.
Not to worry because later in the evening, the game between Spain and France is on the TV within the common room and Alex is cooking an awesome paella for the guests with sangria or beer included.
Cost: Just 5 euros. Paella is delicious and sangria, sweet and very potent.
The next evening, Alex organises a Mojito night and later takes a crowd of 30 of us salsa dancing at a local bar. Was a brilliant night- watching beautiful people dancing salsa and also brushing up on my nascent salsa dancing skills.
The fun doesn’t stop- on the last night of my stay was the Euro 2012 final being shown on the projector in the hostel common room.
Alex and his good friend Mihaela, cooked for the guests a delicious chicken stew that is native to his region in Romania.
When I think of Casa Gracia, first things that pops into my head is all the cool stuff I did and the fun I had hanging out every night with Alex and the fellow guests.
It’s the people that make the experience more than anything.
I could rave to you about how impossibly cool and chic my room was at Casa Gracia-they are finished to the comfort and standard of a chic, boutique hotel with a stunning ensuite bathroom.
I could also rave about how cool in general the hostel is, showcasing for example the works of 16 emerging fashion designers from the local fashion college- hostelling meets fashion design, what a great idea and fantastic exposure for the budding fashionistas.
I shouldn’t forget the outdoor terrace at Casa Gracia.
Lit by candlelight at night, perfect for summer evenings, where you can sit in the cool breeze sipping on a 1.60 euro bottle of Rioja wine from the local supermarket, chatting to fellow hostel guests for hours on end ( which is what I did most evenings, hardly even stepping out to sample the nightlife of Barcelona, that’s how cool it was )
With plans late this year for a rooftop terrace and private bar for guests, the star of Casa Gracia is set to further soar in the coming months.
It is impossible to put into words how cool and fun this hostel is.
However, what makes this hostel a great luxury hostel for me is the staff-people like Alex, reception team and the interns.
They made my stay memorable and for me made me feel I was at home.
This home away from home experience and living in a fantastic neighbourhood like Gracia is what makes Casa Gracia one of the best luxury hostels I’ve stayed in so far on this tour.
Maybe the wifi signal could be better on 6th floor but at the time of my stay they were installing a new system so hopefully that will improve things.
I am revisiting the hostel in August so I can give you an update on this soon.
Plus at rates close to 100 euros a night for a private double and 30 euros for a bed in the dorm, you’re looking at prices that are above the median average but still in terms of value for the experience and stay, I think it’s worth it.
Plus being away from the touristy drag of La Ramblas and Barri Gothic- you’re away from the menace of pickpockets.
Definitely worth looking into getting a room when you’re planning your next Barcelona break- definitely this is for me, the best hostel in Barcelona.
Room rates vary at Casa Gracia depending on low, mid and high season.
Looking at rates for September 2012, the rates for a bed in a 6 bed dorm room (with private bathroom) was 35 euros per night (per person) and the private twin was 100 euros per night (per room) In November 2012, the highest rate is 19€ for a bed in a dorm and, 65€ for a private twin room sharing bathroom and 76€ for a double/twin private ensuite- which is still pricier than other hostels in Barcelona so if you are happy to splurge extra, definitely worth going for.
Barcelona can be easily reached by train or Bus plus the local El Prat Airport is serviced by the low-cost airline easyJet. Check their website for great deals and offers for flying to Barcelona.