For most people, traveling in style across Europe is just a pipe dream, and because of that, many travelers never get to indulge in the extravagance of the high life. In Barcelona however, opulence isn’t limited to the wealthy, as travel writer Sònia Graupera explains to one of National Geographic’s correspondents: “[hotel prices in the city] are still very reasonable, compared to Paris, London, or Milan.”
In the past few years, international chains have expanded in Spain’s second largest city, which worries many budget travelers as boutique hotels have probably upped their costs now that Barcelona is drawing in a higher-earning clientele. But from Sònia’s experience from writing travel pieces about the city, she assures that the family-owned boutique hotels have maintained their affordable pricing.
One of these boutique hotels is the futuristic looking Room Mate Emma, which have decently priced rooms as well as suites with with private terraces. Not too far off from this hotel’s area is The5Rooms, with each of its rooms designed with a different feel. Perhaps the coziest room they have is one that is decked out with bare brick wall and romantic lighting.
For nightlife, travelers will probably check out the city’s bars and clubs, however hopping from place to place in the nightclub district could end disastrously with you spending more than you planned. An alternative to a fancy night out without blowing your savings is by heading over to Casino Barcelona, one of Europe’s finest gambling facilities designed by architect Frank Gehry.
The casino boasts one of the most stunning views of the Mediterraean, and invites all kinds of gamblers to take advantage of their extensive selection of games. These days, many choose to play their casino games online, as many portals are able to provide a bigger selection of games. Gala Casino, in fact, releases new games every week, giving a choice of nearly 400 games that are playable across a variety of devices. While they can’t hope to have the same diversity and variety of games, land-based casinos still uphold a certain kind of elegance and luxury that people still find appealing. Hence why Casino Barcelona is still one of the most revered gaming spots in the world.
After trying your luck at the regular cash games, head over to one of many establishments surrounding the casino and have a cocktail while listening to some live music. The selection of bars and restaurants saves you from having to pay for cab fares between bars and separate entrance fees.
With the diversity of accommodations and entertainment hubs offered, Barcelona makes it possible for you travel luxuriously without spending a fortune.
- Take a vacation from smoking: Trying to kick the habit? Don’t leave home without Smokio, the vape pen that calculates how much money you’re saving compared with what you’d spend on cigarettes—cash that will come in handy on your next trip. (us.smokio.com, $80)
- Share your snaps anywhere: Zip is a mobile printer that syncs with your phone or tablet and spits out peel-and-stick Polaroids, so you can lift your selfie game to new levels. (polaroid.com, $130)
- A gym shirt that collects more than sweat: Flying to see clients needn’t be an excuse to slack off at the gym. Wear Athos as or underneath your exercise gear; snap in the Core device, and it’ll collect data (heart and breathing rates, etc.), letting you chart your progress on its app. (liveathos.com, $99 plus $199 for the Core)
- A game way to work out in your hotel: If you’re stiff after a flight, attach the Valedo’s sensors to your chest and lower back—they’ll direct an avatar on your iPad, Wii-style, as it wends its way through obstacle courses. You’ll stretch sore muscles without it feeling like exercise. (valedotherapy.com, $359)
- Protect your posture: Miss your standing desk? Pin Lumo Lift to your chest, and it’ll vibrate when you start slipping down your seat at the next all-day off-site. (lumobodytech.com, $80)
- Breathe easy on the road: Are you a three-for-the-road kind of guy? Breeze, a Bluetooth breathalyzer, lets you know when you’ll sober up—and in the meantime, it’ll help you find food nearby. (breathometer.com, $100)
- Keep a visual travel journal: Fasten the Narrative Clip 2 wherever, and it snaps pics automatically (for two days!) at a pace you preset. (getnarrative.com, $199)
- Yes, you can take your audiophile ways with you: Developed by Neil Young, Pono promises the highest-fidelity digital sound from one harvest moon to the next. (ponomusic.force.com, $399)
- Sleep soundly wherever you go: Noise-canceling headphones do only so much. SleepPhones slip over your eyes to block light and let you nod off to tunes on your side, which even earbuds don’t. (sleepphones.com, $40)
- Bring your own pedal: Connected Cycle, a clip-in replacement pedal (still in development), is for those who want to log routes, speeds, and calories burned—not just spin their wheels in a hotel gym. (connectedcycle.com)
- A homing beacon for your bags: Drop Trakdot into your checked luggage, and if the airline mistakenly sends it to Boston, not Austin, at least you’ll know where it is. (trakdot.com, $50)
- The little laptop charger that could: Traveling light? Dart is a quarter of the size of a typical power bar, guaranteeing that you’ll save space in your carry-on. (finsix.com, $89)
Plus: A Suitcase That Weights Itself: Bluesmart holds your stuff like other suitcases do—and can tell if you’re going to have to pay extra at bag check (it has an internal scale). It also locks from your phone, tells you where it is, and comes with a built-in battery to charge devices en route. Now if only it could fold a shirt. (bluesmart.com, $339)
Via Conde Nast Traveler