Saturday, June 18, 2016

Apartamentos Aura Park Sud: A Review

Apartamentos Aura Park Sud

My family, friends and I recently stayed in the Apartamentos Aura Park Sud in a suburb of Barcelona, Spain and we thoroughly enjoyed it.  If you are someone who likes to stay in an area and see it like the locals do, I believe you would also enjoy staying here.
We originally booked this hotel as part of our travel to take a cruise out of Barcelona in early June.  At the time, we chose it due to the rooms being one and two bedroom apartments.  We chose 2 two bedroom and 2 one bedroom apartments in order to accommodate everyone in our party.  Each apartment comes with a sofa bed.  We reserved the rooms approximately eight months in advance and continued looking for better deals but never found one.  Let me also say our decision was aided by online reviews.  Ultimately, we stayed at the hotel after our cruise due to being stranded by an Air France strike.  We chose to stay there again due to the positive experience a week earlier. 
The hotel is located in the L'Hospitalet de Llobregat which is approximately a 15 minute taxi ride from the Barcelona International Airport (BCN).  They do not have shuttle service to/from the airport.   You can plan to spend about 25 euros depending on the number of people and pieces of luggage you have.  For reasons I won’t go into, my wife and I did 4 round trips to/from the airport and found all the drivers to be competent and considerate.  To my knowledge, they did not speak English but we speak Spanish so that was not an issue for us.  One of the taxi drivers did recommend to give the two cross streets to drivers in the future in order to help them find the hotel easier.  (The cross streets are Av. Del Carrilet and Av. Fabregada.)
Check-in was straightforward.  Have your passports ready as they use them to note who is staying in each room.  Also, please be aware there is a separate fee (I apologize, I can’t remember what it is for.  Perhaps a city tax.) of approximately 6 euros that is paid separately at the time of check-in regardless of whether or not you prepay the room. 
Our rooms were on the second and fourth floors on the side facing west.  In the picture above, you will see we had balconies.  Personally, I enjoyed the balcony very much.  There was a cool breeze every day of our stay and it was nice to open the doors and let the air in.  Also, I enjoyed people watching.  That includes the day I saw a young man walking down the street in a wedding dress.  A bunch of other young men his age were following him.  Was he a partner in a gay wedding?  Did he lose a bet?  Was this an initiation? 
In our wing of the hotel, there are two small elevators or a set of stairs to get to your floor.  With international luggage, it is hard to fit more than 2 people on the elevators.  I took the stairs the rest of our stays.  I believe the lights in the stairwell are on a timer since they were always off whenever I used them.  The stairs were all marble.  It is a pity many people won't seem them.  They are gorgeous.
The rooms themselves were very nice but are starting to show some wear and tear.  Every room I entered had scratches on the floor from the sofa bed.  Still, the mattresses and pillows were comfortable.  There was more than adequate closet space and plenty of room to move about in the bedrooms.  The showers had hot water that was simple to adjust to your my taste.  There was a dual flush toilet. 
The kitchen had several pots and pans as well as a full supply of plates, bowls, cups, mugs and silverware and utensils.  The refrigerator was small by US standards but for someone with a short stay more would be wasted.  There was a two-burner stove and a small oven.  There is plenty of cupboard space in the kitchen.  There is also a pitcher to heat water for people who like tea or coffee.  The hotel supplies soap in the bathroom and kitchen.  Also, there is a paper towel dispenser in the kitchen in lieu of cloth towels. 
One additional reason we chose this hotel is to cook our own meals.  I am certain we saved up to $500 in meal costs over the 5 days we stayed at the hotel.  There is a grocery two blocks away and a butcher shop an additional two blocks from there.  The food at the grocery was inexpensive yet of high quality.  The breads were heaven.  There are various other shops, banks and restaurants in the immediate area.  (I offer no information about the hotel restaurant since we never used it.)  If you like dogs, this area has a couple dog parks and many people walk their dogs here.
There are two metro stops within four or five blocks of the hotel.  Just up the street from one of them is a spot to get a taxi.  Getting to all of the tourist stops in Barcelona is very easy.  Please be mindful of your belongings as a member of our party was pickpocketed on the subway during a late night return to the hotel. 
The hotel wants guests to clean up a bit before they leave.  If you need to empty the trash, there is a receptacle on the street on the south side of the hotel.  When you return through the lobby, you can pick up a new trash bag. 
One final thing to note:  It took us a while to understand how the lock works on the room doors.  You put your room card close to the door handle.  When a light flashes green, start turning the door handle until it opens the door.  If the dead bolt is on, it may take a few turns. 
Finally, let me say what we liked about the location is it felt relaxing.  Our first couple days in Barcelona were spent seeing the sights.  We hopped from train to train, walked from site to site and always were on the go.  When we returned to the hotel, we found it not as busy as the city and it seemed a respite.  During our extended stay, we explored the area around the hotel more and enjoyed to small town feel. 
I realize this is a long review of the Apartamentos Aura Park Sud.  It tried to give information to someone who is considering a stay there.  If you like to see a city the way the locals do, if you like to save money by doing some of your own cooking and if you want a hotel close to the metro, Apartamentos Aura Park Sud is the perfect stay for you.  I am sure you will not be disappointed. 

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