- Travel and Places
Erik Vokel Boutique Apartments: A Review
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
Where do you prefer to stay?
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.
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.
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.
Closest Attraction to Erik Vokel in Gran Via: Plaza Espanya
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.
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.
Staying in Erik Vokel
Have you stayed in any Erik Vokel property?
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