Hosteria Grau sits next to a faculty building of the city's university and many students populate the area during the day and in the evening, the atmosphere takes on a grunge-punk feel with frequent sightings of wildly dressed Spaniards - think shocking pink mohawks with black leather, chains and fishnet stockings. Items sold in the shops here have in excess of skull-shaped everything, heavy metal records and fierce fantasy art that terrifies as well as sexifying death.
But all things accounted for, I still think the hotel is worth checking in to with its quaint decor and authentic feel of living like a 18th century Catalan (Barcelona is under the political administration of Catalonia and its people are known as and speak Catalan).
Address : C/Ramelleres, 27 08001 Barcelona (Spain)
Website : http://www.hostalgrau.com/
How to Get There : Refer to hotel's website for directions. Nearest train station is Plaça de Catalunya (which is the equivalent of Orchard Road MRT station in Barcelona). However, the hotel is hidden inside a small lane so it is not visible from the main road.
I paid S$1,106.51 for 4 nights which worked out to be S$92 per person per night. Because there were 3 of us, we had to take the family suite which actually sleeps 4. So if you split 4-ways, per person cost is S$70 a night.
|The inconspicuous entrance to Hosteria Grau. It's like a hole in the wall.|
Not much to whine about the hotel since the location is accessible and the room is comfy enough but be very vigilant for your safety. One of the nights when we returned to the hotel, we buzzed the receptionist to let us in but he just didn't. We waited for quite a while before he finally unlocked the door for us.
When we got in, he asked if we knew the man who was behind us. Wha?! What man behind us? Is this twilight zone or something?! I didn't notice we were being tailed.
Apparently, someone followed very closely behind my dad and the receptionist didn't want to let him in so he waited for that guy to leave before opening the doors. He asked us to quickly check our belongings and he went to the door to see if the guy was still around. Thankfully, we lost nothing. We were told to never put the wallet in the back pocket and to carry our haversacks in front.
Then on our last night, it coincided with a big match between Barcelona and Real Madrid to make it into the finals of this year's UEFA Champions League. Barcelona won with a 2-0 score lead and the Catalans went wild. They were celebrating into the wee hours and making a racket with horns and louds cheers. The noise could raise the dead. But my parents slept through.
A group gathered just below our room's balcony to celebrate. We were 5 floors up so I can see all that was taking place. At about 1:30 am, I heard police sirens and loud smashes. Residents must've complained and the enforcers came to break up the party. The police were in full riot gear! And they needed to be. The partyers weren't ready to disperse without a fight and were hurling glass bottles at the police van and men. There was even something of a small bon fire burning at one corner. Very drama!
|The reception area of the hotel with an English-speaking receptionist who's very helpful.|
Lest you become unnecessarily worried about safety issues in staying here, be consoled that simple precautions you would take while travelling and staying alert are enough to keep you out of harm's way. Avoid coming back late alone and carry your bags in front of you. Else, pray to Bruce Lee.
Alrighty. Now let's leave the scary things outside and step into the compact interior of Hosteria Grau. Perhaps due to its small size, there's more of a homey feeling. Of course the last thing I want is to feel at home. I mean, why travel so far to feel at home right? Might as well not step out of my HDB flat then. Ha. But this homey feeling is in a nice sort of way where you feel you've walked into somebody's house rather than a hotel.
|Decor-wise, the interior is steeped in European retro with antique lamps and architectural elements reminiscent of the Baroque or Renaissance era where everything little thing is opulently decorated.|
|The bathroom is also not spacious and the only toileteries are sachets of all-in-one shampoo and shower gel. When staying in budget hotels, always bring your own toothbrush and toothpaste for they usually don't provide.|
|Love the classic switches and flower lamps that add a touch of old world charm to the living space.|
|Small cases of 3D wood-carved Parisian corsets adorned the wall above each bed. Wishing an erotic European dream for all travellers who lay their heads on the hotel's pillows perhaps? My mum would be dreaming of getting a figure like that.|