After a short taxi journey from Barcelona Sants railway station, we locate Casa Bonay thanks to its restaurant and coffee-shop signs at the side of the Gran Via de Les Corts Catalanes – the hip boutique hotel eschews anything as square as a frontage emblazoned with its name. The front desk is manned by a cast of young, cheery Spaniards – the two youthful guys who take care of us immediately make us feel at home, and we’re soon checked in.
Situated a block from the Tetuan Metro station, which gives easy access to the entire city, Casa Bonay is also walking distance from key tourist locations including Gaudí’s iconic Sagrada Familia and eccentric Casa Batlló. The immediate area seems safe, relaxed and not overly busy for such a big city. If you’re in Barcelona for shopping as well as sightseeing, there are plenty of clothing stores nearby, too. A slightly lengthier stroll will take you into the mazy Gothic Quarter.
Our third-floor “courtyard medium” room looks out from an indoor “balcony” over a distinctly Spanish courtyard that makes you feel like you’re in the heart of “real” Barcelona – full of local residents’ garden furniture and washing hung out to dry. The building dates from 1869, and many original elements have been conserved, including tiled floors and kitschy sliding doors to the balcony and bathroom. The balcony features a cute nest of hexagonal mini-tables, a stylish open clothes rail, sofa, minibar, kettle, safe, and in a thoughtful touch, a yoga kit. The bedroom has a huge ceiling fan as well as AC, and keeps things simple with its minimal design. The bathroom is small but functional, with basin, toilet and rain shower. Fixtures and fittings throughout use a pleasing amount of matte black.
Very genuine, without any over-familiarity. Our bearded, tattooed waiter at dinner is so clued-up about the excellent menu, you suspect he might have concocted it himself.
Despite the hotel’s hipster-friendly elements, the spread of guests won’t have you feeling uncool – they’re primarily European and range in age from early 20s to middle-aged couples. Satan’s Coffee Corner is the best hangout spot in the hotel, and €2.20 (Dh9) will get you a mean cortado – a milky Spanish take on the espresso.
Satan’s provides the breakfast dishes in Libertine (also a cocktail bar and noon-to-midnight restaurant). It focuses on simple but lovingly made à la carte breakfast staples in distinctly Spanish style, such as the sourdough toast with fresh tomato, cured meats, local sausages and cheeses (€7.20 [Dh30]). Dinner at Elephant Crocodile Monkey is better still. My dining partner doesn’t normally eat duck, but can’t get enough of the pato à la minute (oak-fired barbecued duck with fresh tomatoes and parsnips; €25.20 [Dh105]). Even the bread is special, with seaweed butter and smoked salt (€2.70 [Dh11]).
All the meals and Satan’s, the view from the room and the products sold in reception – from fashionable men’s shirts to the hotel’s range of toiletries.
Zip, zero, zilch. Indeed, it’s so likeable, we cancel a booking at another hotel in favour of a third night at Casa Bonay.
A boutique hotel to truly turn your holiday into a delight, while making you feel at home – and fantastic value, too.
The bottom line
Double rooms at Casa Bonay (www.casabonay.com) cost from €143 (Dh589) per night, including Wi-Fi and taxes, but excluding breakfast.
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