Hotel Arai Review-Barcelona

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We went away to Barcelona recently for our friends hen do. We didn’t do much research on where to stay prior to booking which is unusual for us but the hen found a beautiful hotel she had her heart set on so we agreed and went ahead and booked the hotel. As the time got closer to us visiting Barcelona we looked up the location of the hotel and realised we were staying in the gothic quarter which looked beautiful!

When arriving at hotel Arai we were greeted by the staff who made us feel incredibly welcome. We weren’t able to check into the hotel when we arrived as it was only 11am and check in wasn’t until 3pm. The hotel staff offered to store our luggage while we went out and explored the city which was a great help. The hotel took our phone number and called us when the room was ready which was handy.

When we arrived back at the hotel ready to check in the hotel staff had already moved our baggage to the room which was incredibly helpful of them (considering we had a lot of luggage as well). We were shown to our room by the hotel staff and we had already fallen in love with the hotel the decor was beautiful.

There were four of us sharing a room/apartment, we had 1 double bed and 2 single sofa beds. the room wasn’t that spacious for 4 adults and we did feel like we were living on top of each other. For the money we paid for the room we would have expected a slightly bigger room. Saying that though we didn’t spend much time in the room as we wanted to make the most of the beautiful Barcelona weather.

The hotel provided us with a bottle of red wine on our arrival which was nice touch. We enjoyed this one evening and it was probably one of the nicest wines we have had it was so delicious.

The Wifi at the hotel wasn’t too great we kept losing connection which we wouldn’t have usually minded when on holiday but we did have quite a bit of work that we needed to get done. When on holiday blogging doesn’t just stop and we do rely on a good internet connection.

We were really lucky to have a hotel with a roof top pool and this was one of the reasons why we booked the hotel. The pool wasn’t massive but we didn’t expect it to be as we had seen the photos on the hotels website. We chilled most afternoons on the roof top sun beds using towels that had been provided by the hotel, it was so lush and very relaxing. We spent our evenings on the roof top prior to going out for dinner, the sun was going down and the lighting was beautiful-perfect for photos.

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We could have asked for a more perfect location. we just had to step outside the hotel and we were already in the middle of the gothic quarter.

The gym at the hotel was like any other typical hotel gym it was small and limited but that didn’t bother us as we chose to go on morning runs instead of using the gym.

We would definitely recommend this hotel for the Future and we would be sure to visit again. The hotel staff couldn’t be faulted and we felt incredibly safe in the hotel.

 

Say yes to a girl’s holiday

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We have been going away with each other and our other girlfriends since we were 18. Our first girls holiday was in 2010 to Zante and we loved it. Since then we have been to Kavos, Portugal, Ibiza, Barcelona & Majorca. Although our holidays have changed a bit throughout the years we still have the most amazing time and have created unforgettable memories.

We have just got back from a girls holiday, which started in Barcelona on a hen do and ended in Majorca! We had been looking forward to this holiday for such a long time and it definitely did not disappoint. We had so much fun chilling, drinking and eating basically all day everyday.

In June 2016 we went to  Ibiza (which you can read all about here). We booked the holiday super last minute and before we knew it we were boarding the plane and on our way. We were away for five days and we honestly had the most amazing holiday. We fully relaxed and it was just what we needed after months of solid work. we split our days up by doing a mixture of chilling by the pool and taking part in fun activities such as a boat trip to Formentera. We also had to go to a pool party because lets be honest you cant go to Ibiza and not go to at least one pool party.

Holidays can be expensive but they don’t have to be, we paid no more than £200 for our trip to Ibiza which included our flights, hotel, food and drink (we were all inclusive). If you can’t afford £200 then why not look for a holiday in the UK we have had some brilliant weekends away that barely cost anything.

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Reasons why a girls holiday could be just what you need

Girly pool chats are the best, we discuss everything and anything! It’s the perfect time to discuss anything that you have been meaning to get off your chest for the past few months. In Ibiza we had pool chats every day with an iced coffee or Mojito in hand and it really helped us make decisions about what we needed to change in our lives on our return.

You will be sure to laugh constantly the sort of laughing that makes you cry and leaves you with tummy cramps.  We always come back from a holiday feeling like we have done a full week of AB workouts.

Days, weeks and months can fly by and you suddenly realise you haven’t seen your friends. Going on holiday always reminds you of how much fun you have when you are together and the importance of keeping the friendships going.

Going on holiday with a partner or your family is AMAZING but they don’t always get it when you need the perfect Instagram shot! That’s when you need your girls there helping you find the dreamiest backdrop.

Lots of dancing takes place on a girl’s holiday which is sure to put you in the best mood ever, need we say anymore?

We cant wait to go away on lots more girly holiday! Have you got any in the pipeline?

 

How to stay safe when travelling

Travelling and going on holiday is a very exciting time but its also important to stay safe when travelling too. We have compiled a list of things to do or have that will keep you safe when globetrotting around the world!

Bum bag – we love our bum/bun bags or fanny packs as the Americans call them. We are unsure of the proper name to be honest but you know what we mean. These are great to wear to the airport so that your passport is easily accessible. We often find at airports your constantly having to get our your passport, get our your boarding pass and fumbling in our rucksack of handbag is a pain. A bum bag means your essentials are close by at all times. A fanny pack is also great when travelling around and means your valuables are close to you as possible. We have both a fashion fanny pack and then one that you can wear under clothes. Both are useful but we use our fashion one more.

Fake wallet – this is such a good thing to have especially when going to a poorer country where getting mugged could be more likely. We carry a fake wallet with us with old/expired debit cards visible. This means if someone demands we hand over our wallet we have a fake one to hand over.

Pay for the safe / locker – we recommend using the safe in your hotel or using the lockers in a hostel. This means all your valuables are safe and secure and will also be covered by insurance.
Hide your money in a sanitary towel– you may laugh but it is something we always do! Sometimes we don’t trust the safe in the hotel so we will hide/distribute our money around our stuff and hiding money in sanitary towels is our little secret!

Portable phone charger – this is one of the best purchases ever and means our phone will never run out of battery. Your phone is one of the most important means of contacting people if you ever get into trouble, therefore make sure its always got enough power

Last seen on Whatsapp – if you turn your last seen off (we sure do!), then maybe consider turning it on when away so your friends and family know you are okay. If you haven’t replied and haven’t been online then people will know that its most likely because you haven’t got any wifi/signal or are in the middle of no where.

Take photos of all your documents – take photos but also print our photocopies/scans. This is important in case you lose your passport or anything. You may also need these documents for obtaining visas.

Travel insurance – we feel a bit silly putting this on here because its a given, however holiday makers aged 18-24 are most likely to travel with no insurance and 1/4 of Brits go abroad without travel insurance. This is super important and means you are covered should anything go wrong.

Bring your E1 11 – when we go away our parents always make sure we have our E1 11 with us. Now we are not entirely sure what it is for but know its something medical related. If our parents want us to bring it then it must be important – make sure you pack this card!

Plan your route – always plan ahead, be it the journey from airport to hotel, or having a rough idea of how you want to travel around South East Asia. Making sure you have a mini plan will ensure you stay safe.

Pick up a taxi firm card only get in a registered taxi – pick one a taxi card up from the hotel/airport or tourist information point. This will ensure you only get in a safe and registered taxi.

Pick up hotel/hostel address card – when travelling on a group tour around Asia every time we got to a hotel our guide gave us the hotel card with address etc on it. This was very handy as when trying to get home we just showed our taxi (tuk tuk) driver the hotel card. When in a foreign country and you cannot pronounce the name of the hotel or the street name this is a life saver!

and finally, be street wise – always have your wits about you.

But most importantly HAVE FUN!

Barcelona Brunchin’

There seems to be a theme going on here, first we had Budapest Brunchin’ and now its off to Barcelona for a spot of brunch.

As with the visit to Budapest we found all our brunch places in Barcelona from Instagram. We used the hashtag #barcelonabrunch and #barcelonacoffee and our list of places to go just got longer and longer. Sadly we only managed to visited 3 places for Brunch (we were only there for 3 days!), however will also share the other places we wanted to visit, and you will have to let us know what you think/share photos to make us jealous!

1) Brunch and Cakethere are 4 Brunch and Cake’s in Barcelona (Brunch and Cake, Travel and Cake, Cup and Cake, Brunch and Cake by the Sea) but we decided to visit Brunch and Cake by the Sea as this was the closest one to our hotel, and it had outside seating too. The pictures on Instagram of this place looked amazing and we wanted to go there long before Zanna mentioned it on her vlog! However after she visited, we knew we had to as we knew it would be good! The food was so colourful and the menu was expansive and there was so much to choose from. However one issue we did have and we will be honest here is that you cannot make alterations to ANYTHING on the menu which we think was a little silly. Okay, we understand for the food as it does make life easier for the chefs, but for the drinks too….. really? All we wanted to do was have almond milk instead of coconut milk in a smoothie but no. Anyway rant over, at least if you are to visit you all now know that you cannot change any dishes or drinks and have to take them as they are. This means you may want to look at the menu in detail before going. On a positive note the food and drinks we enjoyed were delicious and most certainly an Instagramers dream. Definitely check this place out if you are off to Barcelona.

2) Mr Robinson – this place is tucked away and isn’t somewhere you would just stumble across. There is inside and outside seating and the decor is amazing and the staff are lovely. We loved our brunch here and again the menu was amazing with so much to choose from and dishes to suit all needs. We would 100% recommend the smoothie bowls if you go as they we DELICIOUS!

3) Alsur Cafeoh wow this cafe is so cute situated on a beautiful square with an amazing outside terrace. The food here is very unique and quirky we loved the waffle sandwich it was divine. Again so much food to choose from that you want to spend the whole day here eating and drinking.

4) Topico BCN – We didn’t have a chance to visit here, however their Instagram is so bright and colourful it looks amazing, everything seems to be served with flowers! If we had another day here we would certainly be taking a visit here.

5) Green and Berrythis place was a little too far away from our hotel to visit for brunch and we were also too far to have the food delivered by Deliveroo (trust us we did look into it as we wanted to sample the food so bad!). Described as a health food store the food and brunch in particular looks amazing from here, their Instagram account leaves us drooling!

6) Flax and Kale – we literally love their Instagram account and spied their healthy ice cream so we HAD to go! There is Flax and Kale and also Flax and Kale a porter (takeaway). We really really wish we had a chance to return here and sample their brunch as it looks amazing. The cafe is pretty big and there is outside seating too which is a bonus.

7) Cocuy Cafe – Another cafe that looks like Instagram heaven, here you can get brunch and also bagels and smoothies too. Just stalk their Instagram and it will make you instantly hungry!

8) El Flako (Cornflakes and co) – this is basically a cereal cafe and as we are both cereal lovers we wish we could’ve visited here too. Guess we will just had a to make a return visit to Barcelona. If you love cereal, then this is the perfect place to grab some breakfast/brunch

9) Milk – located in the gothic quarter is this quaint cafe that also serves brunch. We opted not to visit here as we wanted to brunch at places with outside seating. However their menu and food looked divine.

Favourite apps when travelling abroad

We love to be organised when going away, so we thought we would collate a list of our free favourite apps for you to download before you next hop on the plane to your dream holiday.

Maps.me- This is an excellent app that will help you get around smoothly. When you are connected to wifi you can download the map of your surrounding areas, it will then save it so you are able to access the map without needing to connect to 3G/4G & wifi whilst out and about exploring We know lots of contracts now days come with data roaming but that uses battery which we personally would much rather use for photos.

Airline App- Gone are the days of printing out a boarding pass, you can now have it accessible on your phone. You can also track your flight on most of the apps and manage your booking prior to flying, how technology have evolved!

Hotel apps- if you are going on a spontaneous trip or going away for a longer period of time hotel apps are just what you need to make any last minute reservations. Our favourite hotel app to use on the go is booking.com it’s user friendly and you can also cancel or amend your booking if your plans change free of charge. It’s also a really good way to read hotel reviews before booking.

Currency app- with the current economic climate always changing and the exchange rate fluctuating you can keep up to date on what you are spending by using the currency exchange app. It’s also a great way to quickly check how much something is worth in your home currency.

Trip Advisor- we rely on this app so much when on holiday especially when deciding where to eat. We love that you can see other guests photos and read honest reviews. This can also be used to see hotel reviews, we rarely book a hotel without checking trip advisor. Be sure to leave a review yourself to help other travellers make good decisions.

Afterlight – this is our favourite photo editing app which unfortunately is an app you have to pay for but its not going to break the bank it only costs…. There are loads of things you can do on this app and let’s be honest every blogger loves finding a good photo editing tool.

Instagram- Instagram is our favourite app of all times. It’s the first point of call when researching our holiday destination. We search hashtags to help us find local hidden treasures that we would never have come across otherwise. For example when we went to Paris and Budapest we searched #pariscoffee #parisbrunch #budapestbrunch and found some amazing places to go that didn’t feature in your typical guidebook.

Boomerang- although this is also on Instagram that app is pretty cool and who doesn’t love a boomerang!

Tunnel Bear- if you are wanting to catch up on TV whilst away then this app will allow you to do so. You cannot watch itv hub, BBC player or 4OD outside of the U.K. However an app such as Tunnel Bear changes the VPN on your device so it thinks you are back in the U.K.- magic.

Kindle- there is something about reading a book whilst on holiday chilling by the pool. Books can take up a lot of space in your suitcase and the weight can also add up. If you are a fast reader then you probably find like us you can get through a fare few books whilst away. Although we do prefer having an actual book to read it’s much more convenient to download a number of books to the kindle app. The kindle app is compatible for both the iPhone and iPad.

Spotify- having music to listen to in the day by the pool is dreamy! We also love listening to music in the room whilst getting ready for the evening ahead. Spotify is free but the free version does have adverts so if these annoy you it’s probably better to sign up and pay £5.99 per month as it is advert free.

We are aware that using all these apps is likely to drain your battery which lets be honest isn’t ideal. So a few tips and tricks we would suggest are: turning your brightness down, switching low power mode on and turning your phone to aeroplane mode as this will help you save battery. Another idea could be to invest in a portable phone charger, we would be lost without ours.