The smiling faces behind the front desk at St Christopher’s Inns hostel in Barcelona, Spain were a welcome sight after my bad experience with Equity Point Hostels the previous week. Their warm greeting was quickly followed up with an efficient check-in process and instructions for finding my females-only dorm room. My first big surprise was the attention that had been paid to security. I had to scan my key before the elevator would move, use it a second time to access the hallway leading to my dorm room, and yet third time to enter my room. Inside my room, the pleasant surprises continued. Double bunks were securely attached to the wall and each had dark gray privacy curtains, an individual light and an outlet. Below the beds were large metal lockers on wheels that were easily pulled out for secure luggage storage, using a padlock that I carry with me. My 22″ rolling suitcase and my mid-size backpack both easily fit into the locker. Best of all, with three wifi routers on each floor, there was free rocket-fast Internet available in all rooms.
That afternoon I headed out to explore Barcelona and quickly realized that the hostel is ideally located just half a block from Plaça Catalunya, the heartbeat of the city. La Rambla, the famous pedestrian mall leading directly to the waterfront and marina began at the southern corner of the square, while just a few blocks to the north were the famous houses designed by artist Antoni Gaudí, La Pedrera and Casa Bartllo. Double-decker tour buses parked on either side of the plaça offered one and two-day hop-on, hop-off tours of the city. Less than a block away was Teresa Carles Cocina Vegetariana, a fantastic vegetarian restaurant, and a short walk down La Rambla I discovered a Divan Mediterranean Cafe, which made the most delicious hummus and falafel pitas I’ve ever tasted.
Mornings began with the included breakfast provided by the hostel and once again I was surprised. Rather than the bread rolls, jam and butter provided by most hostels, St Christopher Inns offered cereals, juice, fresh cut fruit, peanut butter, and even a cheese platter. On the days when I wanted a bit more, I hit Barcelona’s fabulous Boqueria Market, just a five minute walk away. And when I wanted to explore further afield, there was both a Metro stop and a Renfe Train station at Plaça Catalunya.
On the days I decided to write I could stay in my room or lounge around the common area, which doubled after-hours as a nightclub for the hostel’s in-house Belushi’s Bar and Restaurant. In warmer seasons, I could also have chosen the outdoor patio, located adjacent to the common area and separated by floor-to-ceiling windows.
For those of you who are reading this and shaking your heads, thinking, “I wouldn’t want to stay in a dorm room with a bunch of partying teenagers,” I can assure you that this stereotype of hostels is completely unfounded. I have stayed in dorms all over the world and only once have I suffered from a drunk roommate. In fact, hostel customers nowadays are not all teenagers; in Mexico, an eighty-year old woman slept in the bunk above me one night. In Quito Ecuador I shared a dorm with a lovely young teacher from Lima, Peru. We became fast friends and later, when I was visiting Lima, she spent two days showing me around.
Still, I understand that not everyone wants to sleep with strangers and use shared bathrooms. The good news is that almost all hostels now offer private rooms as well as beds in dorms. St Christophers Inn in Barcelona has twin ensuite rooms (with a private bathroom) for about $54 per night, including breakfast. Dorms range from about $15 for a 16-bed female ensuite dorm to about $24 for an eight-bed female dorm with shared bathroom. I’ve long had a favorite hostel in Bangkok, Thailand, Lub-d; now I have a favorite in Europe, as St Christopher’s Inns have facilities around the UK, as well as in Rome, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Bruges. So if you’ve been putting off travel to Europe because you think hotels are too expensive, you no longer have an excuse.
Disclosure: St Chrstopher’s Inns Hostels did not host my stay at their Barcelona facility, nor provide me with any discounts. If you’re considering a visit to St. Christopher’s Inns, my favorite site for finding the best prices is Booking.com. I earn a small sum if you book by clicking on the links in the above story, which helps keep this blog free for you to read.
27 thoughts on “St. Christopher’s Inns, a Great Place to Stay in Barcelona, Spain”
I just returned from 8 weeks in Spain. Although I didn’t stay in a hostel, I did stay in a dorm while attending the Malaca Instituto. Continually striving to improve my Spanish, this was yet another attempt. I had a great time, although I freely admit my dorm accommodations were top of the line in exchange for writing about the experience for NABBW. I loved it!
Hi Barbara, great review. This hostel is so clean and to hear they take ‘security’ serious is a huge plus. Quite question, would a family of 3 or 4 be alright? My husband and I spent part of our trip in Barcelona and are itching to return. This is a place we surely are to check out. Thanks so much Barbara, again great review.
Hi Cheryl: I think this hostel would be great for a family of four. They have a policy that anyone under 18 cannot share a dorm with non-family members, but you could reserve a dorm to yourself!
Wonderful palace t visit, Great reviws.
Having these hotel recommendations is really helpful for travelers. I’m looking for US travel as I’m trying to find the best Hiahleah hotel, but if I ever venture out internationally, I’ll be back to check out your blog.
Sounds like a great hostel! I haven’t stayed in one yet that has those privacy curtains, but they look great. This place certainly went out of their way to provide all kinds of details that make a hostel memorable.
They’re definitely top of the line, Ali. Will be interesting to see if their London facilities are as nice – I’ll be staying there next week.
Best dorm beds ever – curtains and storage space! Great hostel, great pictures – I love the one of the girls at the reception:). It all just oozes a hip but laid-back and friendly atmosphere. Seems to be a perfect base when exploring Barcelona…!
It was a really great place, Vera. If you ever get back to Barcelona, let me know and I can give you some contact names.
Hey Barbara…great review and glad to know you’ve embraced the concept of hostels- more people are ‘travelling younger’ and looking for more of an experience during their stay. St Christophers have done a great job with the design, look of the place. Through the Luxury Hostels project I realized though that I tend to enjoy the more smaller, intimate luxury hostels where you can really get to know the people and you get that extra attention. Next time you visit Barcelona, I recommend visiting Casa Gracia in Gracia neighbourhood. Superb design and they do everything from tango, salsa classes to cookery classes in the hostel. Plus they have 2 outdoor terraces. Slightly older crowd than St Christophers. PS I would have warned you about Equity, their Barcelona branch lacks the personal touch. Next time, tweet me for any tips and love to share some of my favourite luxury hostels with you. Best wishes from Nuremberg….kash
Thanks Kash – good to know. Hopefully, we’ll run into each other again some day on the road. Oh and BTW – the Equity Point where I had such a terrible experience was in Girona. A horrible place – hope you didn’t stay there when you were at TBEX.
wow, this is super nice! I stayed in hostels in South Africa and they were full of crazy teenagers. Thanks for proving that not all the hostels are like that!
Hi Cristina: I’ve actually only stayed at one hostel where “crazy teenagers” were a problem – in Mancora, Peru. Typical surfing town. Don’t get me wrong, I stay in dorms with teens all the time. I just don’t often find the stereotype of “drunken kids.” Sounds like you hit a bad one 🙂
what a cool place! i’d LOVE to stay there!
You’d love it Jesse. I’m thrilled that hostels are going a bit more upscale these days.
that looks amazing. We are heading to Barcelona this weekend from Toulon France (five hour drive). We have not booked a hotel room yet. How do you think a family of five would fair in this hostel? my two teenagers could share a room or sleep in dorm rooms while my husband and i and our five year old might like the private room. Did you see any families at the hostel?
Hi Annie: I didn’t see any whole families but I saw sisters and mothers with daughters. Unfortunately, St Christopher’s has a policy that anyone under 18 cannot sleep in a dorm unless the entire dorm is booked by the family. I actually think this is a good security measure. But, you could book a six-person dorm for all of you.
That’s amazing idea Barbara. (the six room dorm).
My husband Blake and I are just amazed by how much hostels have changed since we were in our teens. Do you know of or have you stayed in any comparable hostels to this one in europe?
Hi Annie: Of course, St Christopher’s Inns has hostels in Amsterdam, Brussels, Bruges, Paris and all over the UK (London, Bath, Brighton, Edinburgh, and Newquay). I stayed in a great one in a converted historic building in York, England. I also hear that Portugal is said to have many upscale hostels. Upscale hostels is an emerging trend and we’re even starting to see them pop up all over the U.S.
Thank you so much I will check those other places out too.. I really am loving these upscale hostel trends. I hope they do take off in the U.S.
The last time I slept in a hostel it was with 26 other people in on dorm (both man and woman), one toilet and one shower … This however looks lovely, I especially love the twin ensuite room.
Hi Freya: I love hostels but no way I’d stay in a room with 26 beds. I’ve done room with up to8 beds, but usually try for 4, and prefer an all-female dorm room if possible. 26 just sounds like a nightmare!
It is nice to see that hostels are making these types of improvements. The curtains, secure lockers and solid beds make a huge difference. That is also a great location in Barcelona.
I stayed in some hostels in Portugal six years ago that were really doing everything right like this one. They were ahead of the game and now it looks like others are starting to catch up.
Hi Jeff: I definitely think there is a trend to upscale hostels, which delights me. I love the hostel environment. And you are right about the location of St Christopher’s in Barcelona. It couldn’t be more perfect. Thanks for your comment.
I’ve stayed here before as well and it was one of my favorite hostels I’ve stayed in. Loved the artwork, atmosphere, and bar of the hostel. Did you get to do the free walking tour? It’s great too!
Hi Michael: I had previously arranged for a walking tour of the Gothic Quarter with GetYourGuide, so I didn’t take the one offered by St Christophers. But it’s just another indication of their attention to detail. The only other hostel I know of that does stuff like this are my friends at Lub-d Hostels in Bangkok -which BTW are fabulous as well!
I really like the privacy curtains and each bed having an outlet. One of my biggest travel surprises is that I don’t mind the odd night in a dorm. The prices are much more reasonable than I would’ve expected for Europe too.