Friday, 10 February 2012

Review: Sant Jordi Diagonal Hostel in Barcelona

After my trip to Paris in December 2011, I flew to Barcelona to get away from the freezing Parisian temperatures. I also made a mistake of not making any hostel booking prior to landing in Gaudi's playgound, taking for granted that since it was winter (low season) I could walk into any hostel and there would be beds available. How wrong I was.

So before taking the Ryanair flight from Paris Beauvais airport to Barcelona El Prat airport, I looked up Hostelworld and found Sant Jordi Arogo Hostel which is one of five Sant Jordi hostels in Barcelona. Unfortunately the hostel was fully occupied when I reached its steps, and the receptionist directed me to their sister hostel, i.e. Sant Jordi Diagonal which is located a few blocks away.

Now, looking for hostels in Barcelona, or at least the ones near Plaza Catalunya is a challenge as they are located inside office buildings and there're no signboards. For example, the entrance to Sant Jordi Diagonal looks like this:

Can you spot the San Jordi Diagonal Hostel signage ? I don't blame you if you can't cause I couldn't either. And having to look for the hostel with a heavy backpack and knapsack strapped to my back and chest made the whole experience a whole lot more difficult.

Despite locating the hostel with much difficulty, staying in it was not a bad experience at all.

San Jordi Diagonal is a stone's throw from the Metro (Diagonal station, thus the name of the hostel). And once you are at any Metro station in Barcelona, getting around is a breeze. Popular spots like Sagrada Familia, The Ramblas and Barcelona Nord Bus Station are all located near Metro stations.

So how does the inside of San Jordi Diagonal looks like? Well, here's the reception:

Matheus Coelho giving the peace sign when I told him I'm snapping his photo for my blog. Matheus is studying for his doctorate in tax law and working part time at the hostel. When I heard his surname, I asked whether he's related to the other Coelho. Apparently that surname is common in Brazil where Matheus comes from. And yes, Paulo Coelho is one of his favourite writers. 

This is the 4-bed mix dorm that I stayed in for 2 nights:

I adore the spaciousness of the room and the sunlight that fills it every morning.

I was charged € 14.90 per night in this room. However after exchanging notes with a room mate, she revealed that she was charged only € 12.90 a night. I was not happy with the rate difference, but a quick look at the hostel's website said they reserve the right to change the rates at any time. Well, what can I say ...

As you can see from the photo above, my room has a balcony which looks out into the busy street below:

The traffic outside my room is my wake up call. When it gets busy, I know it's around 8.00am already :-)

Despite the spaciousness of my dorm, the common bathroom has much to be desired:

The cubicles in the female bathroom are so small I hit my elbows on the walls every time I raised my arms to scrub my hair or body. On top of that, there's no space to slip on my clothing after a shower. I usually waited till late when there's no one around so that I can lock the main door and have the whole place to myself. Some girls just wrap a towel around themselves and walk back to their dorm in full view of everyone. Better to change in the dorm than in a cramped bathroom.

Sant Jordi Diagonal has a nice TV room:

... and a comfy games room which has a ping pong table which you can see at the corner of the photo:

The dining room is equipped with an oven (can't remember whether it was a microwave or not):

The kitchen where you can prepare your own meals:

 The kitchen was perpetually occupied by 2 girls, whom I felt like slapping cause they thought they owned the kitchen.

Now that I've shown you the hostel and facilities, let me tell you why the San Jordi chain of hostels is a popular place amongst young backpackers. They've got activities for its guests as you can see in the poster below:

Just before I left the hostel to catch the bus to Madrid, Matheus gave me a sticker and button badge of the hostel. I've stayed in numerous hostels and this is the first time I'm getting small gifts from a hostel.

Thank you Sant Jordi Diagonal for making my stay in Barcelona a memorable one!


Queen of hearts said...

Nice! The hostel looks clean and simple. I like the Ikea'ish style :P Love the view. Oh so actually you could haggle to get a better rate there?

Julie Lim said...

Hi Queen of Hearts,

I didn't try haggling at this hostel, But I discovered that different people get different rates probably due to length of stay - the longer the stay, the cheaper the rate.

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