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Erik Vokel Boutique Apartments: A Review

Updated on April 17, 2018
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Mary and her husband work on international projects and have worked in the Maldives helping the government with skills development.

Erik Vokel in San Bernardino Madrid
Erik Vokel in San Bernardino Madrid | Source

Why a Boutique Serviced Apartment

With the big chain hotels, the promise of a Hilton or a Holiday Inn in the 1960s is still the key deliverable. No surprises. The same room in every city on every continent. Your hotel room is an appliance. It doesn’t contribute to the uniqueness of your vacation but it will never punish you. It has an adventure index of zero.

Then, there are boutique hotel apartments like Erik Vökel, with 9 properties throughout Europe, each property is a unique renovation located in a city centre and each room special. The decoration inside is a bit edgy and the sense is that your room adds to the experience of being in the city you’re visiting. Nothing cheap anywhere. It fits the city's style.

We often choose to stay in furnished apartments because we usually travel for work so we want to have a place where we can nest for a while and work comfortably with all the services which business hotels provide.

Staying in a serviced apartment also gives us more space and because we can prepare our own food, we have more control over what and when we eat and can manage our food costs better. This becomes more important when you stay longer in a place.


Choice of Place to Stay When You Travel

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Erik Vokel Gran Via
Erik Vokel Gran Via | Source

Why Erik Vokel

We just spent 4 months in Europe and have stayed in many accommodations but what stood out from all these was Erik Vowel. Its claim of Nordic design with Mediterranean flare just fitted our own requirements as did its happy brightness.

We had not heard of Erik Vokel before but it had great reviews in Trip Advisor when we searched for a hotel in Barcelona. Barcelona was not on our list before we left home. We went to Croatia, but after 20 days, we started to get antsy and castled/fortressed out, so looked for short, direct flights from Dubrovnik and Barcelona came up.

We had been to Barcelona before but did not really get stuck in, so we decided to book a place for 5 days and then rent a car so we could go to places, in the North of Spain, we had not seen.

We stayed in Erik Vokel in Gran Via. With its Nordic design, the room was neat and clean without any clutter. It had more than enough closets for the two of us. The bedroom is spacious with a great mattress and there is a living room with a dining table which is really good for working as well. The sofa in the one bedroom folds out into a couch so if you have kids, they can use this. You have to make sure you mention this in your booking so they can provide the bed linen and other necessities. The only drawback is that in the one and two bedrooms, there is only one bathroom.

There was a big enough refrigerator, dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer and an oven. The kitchen had all the basics we needed to prepare food and all the bits and pieces work! There was a balcony where we enjoyed having a drink and checking the street below.

The blind system on the huge windows is very modern and all electronically operated. I enjoyed opening the blind by just pushing the button on the right side of the bed. It has an external blind to keep the noise and sun out and an internal mesh blind for privacy in the day. Most windows and doors can be opened so you can air the room and not suffer from the usual hotel room stuffy dryness.

What I liked was that they have this Erik's Corner in the reception where you can get dishwashing and clothes washing detergent, sauces, coffee, tea, apples, crackers, sugar, salt, pepper, jams, and butter. it really makes it all home.

The Kitchen in Erik Vokel
The Kitchen in Erik Vokel | Source

Other Advantages of Erik Vokel

Staff, of course, are crucial. The desk team were lively, well informed and appeared genuinely happy that you joined them. The cleaners often had a story to tell. Even the maintenance guys can be fun. Going out of their way to help you and your family is their way and it really makes a difference to each one of the hotels we’ve visited.

The hotels are spotlessly clean and really a pleasure to come home to each day. And with one, two, 3 or even 4 bedrooms you can keep the whole family together and truly have a great holiday.

On the Gran Via, there are so many food stores, the Sant Antoni Market, meat and fish stores close to the apartment. Also, bakeries which regrettably, could add several pounds to your weight.

If beaches and water sports are your interest you have lots of other choices but if getting into the heart of a city like Barcelona, or Amsterdam or Madrid is what you’re planning, then look up the local Vokel property and make your reservation. They are not the cheapest on the internet but as with most things in life, you get what you pay for including a far richer experience.

Erik Vokel Gran Via Christmas
Erik Vokel Gran Via Christmas | Source

Our Stay in Erik Vokel Gran Via

Our first stay was for 5 days. We enjoyed it so much so we decided to come back here after our trip to other cities in Northern Spain and Portugal. During this stay, we had a one-bedroom with a balcony on the 5th floor. We often had a drink on the balcony and enjoyed the great weather in the city.

The one bedroom was sufficient for us as there was a living area with a good size dining table where we worked on our computers. The WiFi connection was great and worked well for us given the demands of our work.

Our second stay was from December 23-February 24. We just kept extending our booking as Barcelona kept providing new experiences. During this stay, the staff gave us the one bedroom on the first floor with a closed-in nook which can be a bedroom for visitors and a big courtyard with many plants. We got more space and made life away from home more like being at home.

The family visited us and it was easy to book another apartment for the 3 of them and we often congregated in our own apartment to talk, share and enjoy eating al fresco in our courtyard.

What we really liked was being able to leave our big suitcases in Barcelona while we went around other places in Spain and Portugal. It was easy as they have lockers where you can leave your luggage using one Euro to lock it. You get your Euro back once you return the key. We, of course, were staying with them when we came back so it was convenient. Guests whose flights are much later than check-out can leave their luggage in these lockers and enjoy some time left in the city.

From this property in Gran Via, we could easily walk to Plaza Espanya where you can take the airport bus or take trains to other towns outside of Barcelona and also the main train station to Europe.

We are Seniors but it was an easy walk for us to Las Ramblas, Plaza de Catalunya, Born and the Gothic Quarter. Sometimes, we took the subway from the Rocafort Station on our corner with an elevator to go down to the trains.

The Tiny Bedroom for Guest in Erik Vokel Gran Via, Barcelona
The Tiny Bedroom for Guest in Erik Vokel Gran Via, Barcelona | Source
Erik Vokel Gran Via Courtyard
Erik Vokel Gran Via Courtyard | Source

Closest Attraction to Erik Vokel in Gran Via: Plaza Espanya

Closest Attraction to Erik Vokel in Gran Via: Plaza Espanya
Closest Attraction to Erik Vokel in Gran Via: Plaza Espanya | Source

Our Stay in Erik Vokel in San Bernardino, Madrid

After staying in Erik Vokel Gran Via for 5 days, we drove to Zaragoza and then, Madrid. We learned that Erik Vokel had two properties in Madrid but Madrid was really busy and we could only get a two-bedroom apartment on their property in San Bernardino.

We took it and when we arrived they upped us to a 3-bedroom apartment on two stories, the main bedroom and ensuite, the living area and kitchen was downstairs and the two bedrooms in the upper level with the second bathroom. This is a 3-bedroom so it has two bathrooms. Their two bedrooms often have only one bathroom which is a bit of an inconvenience when you are with the company.

This worked perfectly for us as my friend who was in Madrid visited us so we had a great chat in the upper level without disturbing my husband in the main bedroom.

The only drawback is the lack of parking but there are parking places close to the property. Just be prepared to pay around 25 Euros.

Going Down to the Main Bedroom in Erik Vokel, San Bernardino, Madrid
Going Down to the Main Bedroom in Erik Vokel, San Bernardino, Madrid | Source
Living, Dining, in Erik Vokel, San Bernardino, Madrid
Living, Dining, in Erik Vokel, San Bernardino, Madrid | Source
The Main Bedroom in Erik Vokel, San Bernardino, Madrid
The Main Bedroom in Erik Vokel, San Bernardino, Madrid | Source

How Much is a Stay in Erik Vokel?

The price varies not only with locations but also the dates and, of course, the number of bedrooms you choose in your apartment. Aside from the one bedroom, there are also 2-bedroom,3-bedroom and 4-bedroom apartments.

There are dates when the rooms are highly sought after because of conferences and conventions and Erik Vokel Gran Via is very close to the Barcelona Convention Centre. And in peak tourist season the prices can be eye-watering. You can see the fluctuation in price on the apartment's website. Depending on the number of bedrooms of the apartment you book, and the length of stay and the season, you can pay from 85-300 Euros a night.

It is better to book through the Erik Vokel website as you get complimentary breakfast. You get your breakfast at the Reception each morning and your supply of coffee for the coffee maker, chocolate if this what you want, or tea. The breakfast includes a Mediterranean option of orange juice, milk, ham, butter, and bread. The other breakfast version is the Continental one with Arantxa Orange cake that the Spaniards love for breakfast and cereal instead of the ham. Apples are included and you can always get more apples in Eric's corner in the Reception. Given food costs, this is a good deal.


Christmas Market in Front of Erik Vokel Gran Via Barcelona
Christmas Market in Front of Erik Vokel Gran Via Barcelona | Source
A Store in Gran Via Christmas Market
A Store in Gran Via Christmas Market | Source
The Sant Antoni Market for the Neighbourhood
The Sant Antoni Market for the Neighbourhood | Source
Fish Vendor a Few Steps From Erik Vokel Gran Via
Fish Vendor a Few Steps From Erik Vokel Gran Via | Source

Staying in Erik Vokel

Have you stayed in any Erik Vokel property?

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A Place You Can Call Home

We have stayed in other apartments in Europe in this trip but the clean Nordic design of Erik Vokel made us decide to stay longer and that was what we did. We went back to Barcelona, a city that offers so many things to explore and stayed there from mid-December to almost the end of February when prices are great and the weather is decent.

It was a good decision as the Gran Via had a line up of hundreds of local crafts stores in its Christmas market, adding to the already many places we could explore. The Christmas market provided so much fun for us and brought an amazing array of people.

So, how do you make your trip to a great city become an awesome experience? Find a place to live that makes your life easy and lets you reach everywhere without a fuss.

© 2018 Mary Norton

Comments

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    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      8 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you Devika. We truly did.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      8 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      An extraordinary holiday place indeed! The excellent review tells me you have enjoyed your stay there. Thanks for sharing your experience here.

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      8 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks Barbara. It suited us as we stayed long but for a family, it is best.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 

      8 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      wow, what a gorgeous place! I would stay there in a minute. Beautiful. I hadn't heard of it before this review. I can see why you choose this place, it looks ideal. Excellent review.

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      8 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      You made me smile and feel encouraged. With family, you can save a lot staying in apartments.

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      8 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks Peggy. We felt like family when we stayed with Erik Vokel in GranVia.

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      8 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you Eurofile for the visit. I share your feeling about Barcelona and hope to go back there again.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      8 months ago from UK

      This is a really interesting article. We have been to Barcelona three times and find it is somewhere we could easily return to. We hope at some stage in the future to visit Madrid.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      8 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Mary,

      You have sold me on the idea of staying at an Erik Vokel establishment should we ever travel to Barcelona or other places in Europe where they are located. Your photos matched your descriptions beautifully.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      8 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      What the heck am I doing reading an article about hotels and such? But when a favorite author writes something I dive right in. The idea is fantastic. I hate those sterile rooms. I look forward to my next trip abroad so we can experience it.

      (I voted hostel but quite impracticable with wife and child;-)

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      8 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you Linda. Now, that we're no longer working, we have to find places to winter and it is always a treat to find one we like.

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      8 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      We did enjoy our travels more so this time as it is not work as well, just rest.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      8 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      It looks like you found a wonderful place to stay, especially at Christmas time. The apartments sound like a real home away from home. I enjoyed looking at your photos as well as reading the article.

    • CaribTales profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      8 months ago from The Caribbean

      Seems that you're really enjoying your travels. You introduction was quite appealing and as usual your photography is exceptional. Thanks for introducing and showing off the Erik-Vokel-Boutique-Apartments.

    • profile image

      TOM 

      8 months ago

      W

      ell written.I"ll be looking for Vokel in Europe!

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      8 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks Bill. You are always supportive.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Beautiful apartments for sure...beautiful city....a lovely travelogue by you, Mary!

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      8 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you GlenR. It seems their property in Amsterdam is really nice and many flights, from our experience, to Europe from your area is through Amsterdam.

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      8 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks Leonie. You can easily use this when you go to Hamburg, Madrid, Barcelona or Amsterdam which is easy for you from Belgium. How I wish I live in Europe.

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      8 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you Flourish. Yes, it seems their latest property in Amsterdam is very beautiful. When it is not the peak season, it is very reasonable.

    • Glenis Rix profile image

      GlenR 

      8 months ago from UK

      Looks nicer than the serviced apartments that I have used in the past. Will definitely keep in mind for the future. Bookmarking and copying a link to the article to friends and family.

    • Leonie Manguilin profile image

      Leonie Manguilin 

      8 months ago from Belgium.

      Wow, very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      8 months ago from USA

      This is very helpful. You never really know what you'll grey from a boutique hotel or B&B but someone's in depth review really helps.

    • Emmy ali profile image

      Eman Abdallah Kamel 

      8 months ago from Egypt

      A beautiful hub of a beautiful place with nice photos.

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      8 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you Sally. Sometimes, we luck out and because we're retired, our schedule is more flexible so we could make choices on our travel.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      8 months ago from Norfolk

      An awesome review of what looks like some great holiday accommodation. I can see why you chose this accommodation for your holiday. Thanks for sharing.

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