When it came time for Paul and I to find an apartment in Barcelona we really struggled. The first obstacle we faced was the length of time we needed. Three months was not enough for a long-term (one year) lease, but it was also not short enough to be considered a holiday rental. The second problem we faced was trying to secure an apartment online before we arrived in Spain. Most rental agencies in Spain also charge a fee equivalent to one month’s rent. When you’re renting for 12 months it doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you’re only renting for 3 months that agency fee can substantially change your rental cost.
After a few months of research we finally found an agency that had apartments in our price range, in our desired neighbourhood and without an agency fee. I’ve waited until we left Spain to talk about our apartment so I could give a thorough review of the agency we used, Barcelona Home.
Booking online with Barcelona Home was a breeze. It was no different than booking a hotel room. We found an apartment we liked, we selected our dates and we paid the deposit by Visa. A month later, when we needed to change our dates, the customer service agents at Barcelona Home were extremely helpful and responded to my emails in perfect English, in a timely fashion.
When we arrived in Barcelona we had to go to their office to pick up our keys. If we were only renting the apartment for one week I probably would have found this to be very inconvenient, but since we were living in Barcelona short term I wasn’t bothered by this extra step.
At the office we paid the remaining balance of the first month’s rent, signed our rental contract and received our keys. The agent went over things like garbage disposal and rules, and made sure we had directions from the office to the apartment. It was a smooth and easy check-in.
The apartment was exactly as pictured. The bed was certainly not hotel quality, but for the 10 weeks that we lived here we slept comfortably. The TV was small, but we never used it anyways. There was a ton of storage space, which was a huge bonus because we both packed too much. The kitchen came with everything you could need, including plates and cookware.
Most importantly, the apartment was clean and the air conditioning worked great.
There was only a few negatives to this apartment. We knew before arriving that this apartment had no natural light, but we never realized how big of an issue that would be for us. No sunlight makes it very hard to wake up in the morning! There was only one window in the apartment, and it faced an interior stairwell.
The other downside to the apartment was that it only came with one towel. How are two people suppose to share one towel? I believe extra towels are available to “rent” at a fee of around 10€ from Barcelona Home, but we decided to buy our own.
A quick trip to Ikea (very easy to get to by train) and we came home with things like towels, wine glasses, pillows and our own set of sheets. This cost us around 50€, but it was nice to have our own stuff and it certainly made our stay more enjoyable. The apartment felt like home after these small upgrades. If we were only renting this apartment for a few weeks these purchases would not have been necessary, but we were able to justify the small investment since we were staying 10 weeks.
Something important to note about Barcelona Home is that they don’t own the apartment, they’re just the rental agency. So, you have a landlord as well. Barcelona Home dealt with our monthly rent payments…. and the landlord dealt with any issues we had with the apartment.
After about a week of living in the apartment we noticed that all the groceries we bought we’re going bad within a day or two of being with the fridge. The landlord sent a repair man to take a look at the fridge (who confirmed it was indeed broken), and the next day we had a new fridge. The same thing happened with our leaking shower head. I emailed the landlord in the morning, and by afternoon I had a new shower head.
We didn’t have many issues with our apartment (no major ones at least), but what impressed me most was the great communication we had with Barcelona Home and the landlord. Emails were answered same day, and both parties were always professional.
Although I really hope next time I return to Barcelona it’s permanent, if I ever return for another 3-month stay I wouldn’t hesitate to use Barcelona Home again. See what apartments they have available for you at Barcelona-Home.com. Since finding an apartment online before arriving in Barcelona can be a very daunting task, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions about the process. I’m more than happy to help!
Note: We rented this apartment from July 2014 until mid-September 2014. It’s located in the heart of El Born, not far from the Arc de Triomf metro station. We paid 710€ per month.