Thursday, September 04, 2008

Baffled about Barcelona

Dear Dr. NoCrowds,

Our son has requested that we celebrate his 21st birthday in Barcelona. At the same time my mother-in-law will be turning 80 and my husband wants to assemble the family for a big reunion. The young people want to be in the center of the action., preferably near the Ramblas. The old folks want something comfortable, quiet and safe, preferably away from the crowds. Safety for my mother-in-law is a big issue as she has already had her purse snatched several times in Barcelona. Given current exchange rates, we are also mindful of cost. Can you recommend a solution that will keep everyone happy?

Baffled about Barcelona

Dear Baffled about Barcelona,

You are in luck. Here’s the way to meet everyone’s needs, have a ball, stay safe and keep to your budget. Put the young people up at the Hostal Opera which is superbly located just off the Ramblas next to the Liceu Opera House. This small hotel provides basic accommodations and is perfect for the hard partying members of your group who are just looking for a place to sleep. With prices ranging from €46 - €90 depending on type of room and season, Hostal Opera represents excellent value for the location and at the same time is clean and safe.

A few blocks away from the Hostal Opera, you can put the rest of your party at the wonderful Hotel Montecarlo. Located directly on the Ramblas, the Montecarlo is an oasis of calm in the center of town. From the moment you step into this refurbished 19th century palace, you will be struck by how the pandemonium outside simply disappears. D├ęcor is cool, serene and elegant. Staff is charming and helpful. Rooms are well equipped, spotless and absolutely silent. There is a good bar downstairs and a sun deck with lounge chairs and great views of Barcelona on the roof. If you need it, secure underground parking is available. For this quality hotel, rates are reasonable with a standard double running €175/night.

For a fun place to sample the tapas action near the two hotels, duck into La Boqueria, Barcelona’s large public food market with an entrance off the Ramblas near the Liceu Opera. An especially lively opportunity to sample local seafood plucked straight from the sea and grilled in front of you is the Bar Boqueria where a generous seafood sampler for two will set you back €28. You may have to wait a while to find a seat but the experience is worth it.

For getting around town, check out Go Cars, for GPS guided and narrated tours in a cute Wall-E kind of mini car.

While in Barcelona, do keep an eye on granny’s bag and tell the young folks to stick together as the Ramblas in the wee hours can get dicey. Enjoy your family reunion in one of Europe’s most exciting cities.

Useful Addresses

Hostal Opera
Sant Pau 20
08001 Barcelona
Tel: + 34 93 3188201

Hotel Montecarlo
La Rambla 124
08002 Barcelona
Tel: +34 93 3188201

Bar Barqueria
Mercat de la Boqueria
Tel: 93 4126462

Go Cars


  1. Dear Dr. No Crowds,

    My husband read this and did not get that the co-ordinates -- Spain -- and family dynamics -- sons, mothers-in-law -- sounded familiar. I guess I know a certain family better than he does! And I am way past my deadline, but will be sending you an "Angel" piece soon.

    Marooned in Marina del Rey

  2. Dear Marooned in Marina del Ray,

    Glad you figured out the true identity of "Baffled about Barcelona".

    As for that deadline, I feel your pain, but you know that you will feel much better when you sit down and write the piece.

    Right now would be a great time.

    Warm regards,
    Dr. NoCrowds