As part of my recent trip to Spain I finally experienced a city that is often at the top of European city bucket lists: Barcelona!
With friends in town and a new culture to explore (one which I know almost nothing about!) my time in the city was a whirlwind. If I’m honest, I definitely didn’t see the best of Barcelona and neither did the city see the best of me… but one place that I truly felt welcome was Sant Jordi Rock Palace Hostel.
From the staff, to the great design and the comfortable rooms I felt like Rock Palace was there for me at the best of times and at the worst of times. So if that doesn’t qualify a hostel as being the home from home that travellers need then I don’t know what does!
Sant Jordi Rock Palace Hostel
In my opinion, the kitchen area of Sant Jordi Rock Palace is the perfect environment to get to know other guests in the evenings in Barcelona.
With more than enough space for people to cook and share utensils, the kitchen area also sets the scene for the Sant Jordi nighttime activities, run by a range of fun personalities from all over the world.
Events at Sant Jordi hostel run every night and not only facilitate a fun atmosphere and help guests get to know each other, but they also aim to bring in the culture of Barcelona, as Rico is doing here with his massive Paella pan…!
The Cavern Club
Once you’ve joined in on Paella or Kalimotxo night, both of which start around 9pm, it’s time to get ready to explore Barcelona by night! Sant Jordi also run other hostels, all of which combine their guests in a bar in town at the start of each pub crawl to make sure you have the ultimate chance to meet other travellers and have a great night out.
In Rock Palace the party starts in the common room next to the kitchen, otherwise known as the Cavern Club!
Located in the basement, The Cavern Club is named after a famous Liverpudlian club of the same name that has hosted bands such as Queen, The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, The Kinks, Elton John and The Who!
Naming their floors after famous rock clubs is a theme throughout Rock Palace, as is decorating the walls with artwork of famous rock musicians. Below is a photo of the mural in The Cavern Club… can you guess the name of the band?! (p.s. I hope so…).
If clubbing isn’t on your agenda, or you need some time in the day to chill out on bean bags (seriously – why doesn’t every hostel have been bags?!) then you can head up to the lounge.
With a floor littered with comfortable chairs and bean bags to stretch out on and get over the hustle and bustle of the city, the soft light in the lounge that glows through the stunning and colourful stained-glass window creates a safe calm space to catch up with new friends.
Razzmatazz – The Rooftop
As beautiful as the stained glass window is, perhaps the glittering colours are just that little bit too much for your hungover eyes?
In Rock Palace you can employ my (now not-so-secret) hangover cure… as an islander I believe there is not better way to flush away a hangover than going for a swim. Of course, the beach is not far at all from the hostel, but if you’re really feeling rough?
Well they have a pool on their roof terrace. Not even kidding…
As well as the pool, the terrace is decked with lounge chairs and whilst it can be the perfect place to start the party in the evening, I found it the perfect place to start my day!
Stepping out from the lift or the staircase to Razzmatazz terrace first thing in the morning was my favourite way to start the day – with fresh air and rooftop views of Barcelona!
— Katie Dawes (@the_hostelgirl) September 11, 2015
The staff at Sant Jordi Rock Palace played a huge part in creating the welcoming atmosphere that I find so important as a solo female traveller in a new city. So big thanks to Luiz and the team for making Rock Palace feel like home for a few days…
As soon as you enter the flashy Rock Palace reception area the reception staff are ready to serve, and as you pass by each day or evening they’re always waving hello or goodbye and asking how your day’s been.
I had the pleasure of being checked in by Hernán… and I’m not really sure the best way to describe how awesome he was throughout my stay. At check in he went through the map detailing some great spots, but anytime I went to him for help he always went out of his way.
One example was when I discovered that my stay in Barcelona coincided with the annual Catalan Independence rally in the city, and he sat down and discussed the whole history of the Catalan fight for independence – and Hernán isn’t even Spanish!
Then of course there was the event staff. You’ve already been introduced to Rico (the guy stirring the Paella above) who can only be described as the ultimate party starter. A gifted DJ and also very skilled at bribing guests to wash up for him in exchange for bottles of spirits to get the party started, the guy had a natural gift in getting guests involved and dancing together.
On my first night it wasn’t Rico, but the calmer Hamza who was dishing out the Kalimotxo from a bucket and, according to a Spanish friend of mine, drinking sangria mixed with cola and fruits is the ultimate Spanish tradition…
Whilst Hamza offered a calmer pre-party to the more energetic Rico, both event guys were super welcoming and what impressed me the most was their enthusiasm for the city as a whole and not just their own pub crawl.
Hamza even invited any guests who thought they might not appreciate the bars he’d chosen to come up to him at any point so he could refer other places in Barcelona to party, drink or have dinner. Of course, most of us then thought he was so cool for offering alternatives that we wanted to stick with him anyway, and we had a great night!
I also want to point out that Sant Jordi Hostels is a chain in Barcelona, and I had the pleasure of meeting two other fabulous staff members who work at the Gracia Hostel, Ronnie and Linda.
Gracia is a more residential area of Barcelona and very cool if you want to experience somewhere less-touristic.
The first thing I have to point out was the incredible usefulness of having both an ensuite and a shared shower room across the hall. For those of us waking up early, all we had to do was take a few steps out of the door to showers that I always found immaculately clean!
If I felt like I could take a shower without taking forever or making too much noise, the large en-suite wet room was a luxury compared to some of the smaller cubicles I’ve had to squeeze myself in and out of lately.
Look. At. All. That. Space!
Of course, in order to get in the shower (I’m pretty sure no other hostel has had me so excited about having a shower…) I needed to actually get out of bed.
And thanks to the cosy mattresses and blankets I woke up like this…
Okay. That may be a lie. I need coffee before I ever crack a smile in the morning.
But the rooms were really comfortable and cosy! I had a top bunk in a six bed dorm and despite my early morning rising and (often) late night returns to the room luckily the bunks didn’t squeak and I never had a complaint for my un-hostel like hours of movement from my lower bunk-buddy Weston.
Here’s a point not to be missed! The lockers are activated by the same keycard that gives you access to your room and the hostel reception. How cool is that?!
So at Rock Palace you have no chance of someone working out your combination lock and getting off with your valuables.
Another great addition that definitely makes life easier for guests is the individual light and plug socket at the head of each bunk, ensuring you can keep your phone alarm close while it charges overnight.
The great news when staying at Sant Jordi Rock Palace is that the main connection from the airport via the train takes you to Passeig de Gracia station, less than a ten minute walk from the hostel.
Your other alternative is to get the Aerobus from the airport, which costs just €5.90 and takes you to Plaça de Catalunya, Barcelona’s main square. From the square the hostel is a twelve minute walk, but if you don’t want to carry a lot of luggage uphill you can jump on metro line 6 to Provença and then you have just a 3 minute walk downhill to Rock Palace.
Once in Barcelona the hostel is central to almost all the sights! Park Güell is half an hour by metro, the Sagrada Familia is 25 minutes by metro or a half hour walk, and the beach is a straight walk downhill.
For a great metro map of Barcelona click here.
Getting around Barcelona
In my opinion, the best way to get around Barcelona is either to buy a T-10 metro card, which costs €9.95 and gives you ten journeys on the metro, tram and buses, or by bicycle. Having lived for too long in Amsterdam, getting a bicycle completely changed my experience of Barcelona for the better, and I would highly recommend using the hostel’s bicycle rental service!
What I will say is don’t try and share one bike between two people. I travelled on the back of my friend’s bike for a few days until the police caught us and we somehow managed to get out of a €280 fine. So get your own and save some money for a few more nights at Rock Palace!
Prices for a bed in a 6 mixed-bed dorm at Sant Jordi Rock Palace start from as little as €17.90 in the low season and go up to around €22.90 in summer.
If you’re happy in bigger mixed dorms then prices for the 10-bed cost as little as €14.90, or you can splash out and treat yourself to a two-bed private for as little as €32.90 (that’s the high-season cost) – which is great value for money in a city as popular as Barcelona!
Sant Jordi have a great breakdown of their Rock Palace prices on their website, so make sure to book directly with them for the most accurate costs!
Breakfast at Rock Palace is not included, but at €3 for a continental breakfast of cereals, croissants, juice and coffee it won’t break the bank.
I would like to give a very big hug and thanks to Sant Jordi Hostels for organising my stay in Barcelona, but as always opinions and thoughts are entirely my own.
Lots of love,