Hotel Balmes, Barcelona, Spain.

Posted on
Jan 2, 2012
Posted in: Hotels

Hotel Balmes, where we stayed for a few days during our trip to Barcelona last fall, stands out in my memory not for its convenient location nor its seemingly bored-to-tears staff. No. The perfectly-adequate-but-still-lacking-jamon-serrano breakfast does not really jump out at me, either, and our view (of an air duct) leaves no distinct mark on my memory.

What separates Hotel Balmes from so many others that I’ve stayed in is this: it is far and away the smallest double-occupancy hotel room I’ve seen, ever. Of course, “double-occupancy” might just be a silly phrase that we’re supposed to ignore – like “serving size” on a bag of potato chips. In the same bizarre parallel universe where folks only eat 7 Ruffles, two people can fit into a single room at the Hotel Balmes (the two must be related). But in this world, they cannot.

Forgive me if I sound a bit spoiled, as that is not my intention. Really, the smallness of the rooms was something I found rather remarkable and amazing. We regularly stay in New York and London hotels where the rooms are roughly the size of the trunk of a Volkswagen. If a friend came to meet us they would politely stand in the hall while we would grab our bags. Had they stepped inside, we’d have inadvertently have had a threesome due to the close quarters, and that can make for very awkward dinner conversation:

“Um, so … are you aware of that mole on your lower back? I saw it when you were accidentally spooning my husband, and it seems like you should get it checked out.”

“Huh? Oh, yeah. Wife told me the same thing. So … what have you been up to? Besides not working out?”

See? Awkward. But the hotel Balmes was on a different level. We literally had no place to put our suitcases, open or closed, and at one point I took my laptop into the bathroom and worked in there, because there was no other place for me to go (Relax. The seat was down. No blog posts appearing on this site have been written while on the loo … yet.)  But the most amazing thing about the hotel was this: I could, while lying on the bed, touch my toes to one wall and nearly reach the opposite wall with my fingers.

Did I mention I’m 5’3″?

This is how I spent my vacation.

Here’s a slightly wider shot of the room and an even-wider shot of my butt (for those of you wondering, yes, yes I am wearing those pants):

While the husband and I get along famously during most of our waking hours, the limited square footage offered to us by the Hotel Balmes kindled some latent homicidal tendencies within me. These were mostly forgotten when Rand reached for his toothbrush and we ended up in a passionate embrace. We weren’t even feeling amorous. There was simply no other place to go.

The Hotel Balmes isn’t a bad place, really. If you stayed there by yourself, you’d probably be just fine. But I’d suggest leaving the room before housekeeping arrives. Otherwise, you might end up making babies when really all you wanted was your bed made.

Leave a Comment

  • And this right here is just a perfect illustration of why I love your blog so.

    • Everywhereist

      Aww, thanks lady. 🙂

  • Whoa there! That’s a tiny room~ Lol

  • But maybe you’re really just planking?

    • Everywhereist

      Gasp! Oh, lordy. I was inadvertently planking. I … I have no words. 🙂

  • That is freaking hilarious! Never in my life have I seen such a small hotel room. Though I can’t foresee going to Spain any time soon, I will have to check out the size of the hotel rooms before I go.

    Thanks for the heads-up. And the laughs! =)

  • LOL!
    Honestly, seeing the photos, I must admit my room in the hotel was so much bigger than yours (it was a mini-suite)… maybe the bored-to-tears staff of the hotel got confused with the names and gave me your room.

  • There is a lot of “that kind” of hotels in Barcelona and Spain in general.. Funny post anyway 😀

  • Lizzie

    If you go back anytime soon, consider the Hostal Girona: . Despite the name, it’s a real hotel, and more comfortable than your photos look.

  • Long time blog lurker (well OK like a couple weeks), but haven’t commented before yet.

    Reminds me of some rooms I’ve stayed in while in Japan. Love the descriptions though and the bag of chips analogy. I’ll never look at a small room again without thinking about that.

  • Melanie

    Our room in Amsterdam was so small that as soon as we opened the door we erupted in to side splitting laughter at the ridiculousness of it. But it was still a bit bigger than that room.

  • Bryan

    Thanks for bringing back the memory of our trip to Germany. Searching for a room blindly in the night we happened upon a very quaint place. The bar was wonderful and after driving for most of the day and evening that looked like home to me. The rooms were so small my wife and I were not allowed to share a room. Maybe they didn’t want us to suffocate. I may have been better off sleeping in the car’s glove box. Maybe we both could have squeezed in there considering the rooms were not big enough for the two of us.
    Wonderful story.

  • Sheri

    seriously LMAO!
    i too have seem some small rooms in europe. one in germany had the shower literally at the foot of the bed (it just sort of stood there).
    i am crying ….

  • Long J Silver

    haaaa – the eternal sunshine inside a room fit for dwarves and kittens. Stumbled on to your page, and am methodical, hence am reading your entries about ‘advice’ first. But this was classic … gotta thank “Time” for the plug in mate –

    cheers –

  • Small rooms are *not* limited to Europe. When I was in grad school at the University of Washington, I had a room for a while in a grand old house just north of campus. I could stand in the middle of the room and touch two walls, then turn 90 degrees and touch the window and the door. Into that space, I fit my bed, bookcase, backpack, cardboard box of clothes, sometimes a little food and drink, and myself. Oh, and the door had no lock: my room had been a closet until the woman who owned the house discovered she could rent it out. I paid $100 a month for it and was happy to get such a great deal.

    • Everywhereist

      I was in the dorms at the UW. Let’s trade war stories!

      • Bryan

        Way too good. Love you all.

        My room in Sydney was ok in size. The bed was like sleeping in a hamock. I am not sure how Gilligan and the Skipper could do that for so long. The phone had this weird crack that it would toss in your ear randomly and I was directly below the dance floor. My room would shake with the jumping going on above (ten days of this). I love Sydney and will always love Sydney but I stayed too long at a hotel designed for a Roo. But I was hosted and I was not going to complain.

        • Everywhereist

          “hotel designed for a Roo”? What means “Roo”? Is this Aussie slang? Do tell.

        • Bryan

          Kangaroo. In Australia they are called Roos.

          Sorry, my bad.

      • I lived in McCarty–and just recently discovered that McCarty was named for the University’s first graduate, Clara McCarty. I think it rocks that the first graduate was a woman–way back in 1876! (They should publicize that particular factoid just a tad more. Only took me–a McCarty alum–35 years to run across it.) But, gotta say, my room in McCarty (and the one in Haggett, too) were spa-a-a-a-acious compared to my year in The Closet.

  • Bryan

    Have to explain more. I love dancing,spent formative years in LA and we danced.

    This hotel was more suited for persons older than me. I was in my early twenties and the jumping dancers were older than my parents. For ten days it sounded like kangaroos jumping on my ceiling and when I called my soon to be wife the phone, it would shoot a crack that hurt my ears.

    I love Australia and lost some sleep but gained so much more.

  • Suchitra

    I think u r incapable of posting something that will not make me laugh!

  • Dawn Shepard

    I’m sorry, did you write something? I was distracted by your pants.

    Okay, okay, I love that you are wearing the pants. I read your other blog about “the pants” and now to see them in the moment, in the spirit of the experience, is awesome! Somehow, in my head, I understand these pants. It’s like the “worlds colliding” episode of Seinfeld. If Spain-Pants-Geraldine meets with Seattle-Pants-Geraldine, worlds collide. Good for you for getting wrapped up, pun intended, in the adventures of traveling, trying new things, and putting yourself out there! Go Geraldine!

More from The Blog

On Instagram @theeverywhereist

  • Take note: if you ask your husband if you can move to NYC roughly four dozen times, he will start to cave a little.
  • Incredible reading by the love of my life to a packed room at NeueHouse Madison Square. So proud of you, @randderuiter, and the amazing emcee work by @michaeliconking.
  • Re-posting this photo that @wilreynolds took of us and his youngest near the beach outside of Lisbon. We're back home now, and I can't decide what I miss more: this little guy and his brother, or Portugal. Actually, scratch that. I know.
  • This place looks like a damn fairy tale.
  • Lunch with a view of the water, and some of the best seafood of my life.
  • The entire drive from Sintra to Lisbon looks like this. It's just miles of blue sky and rocky beaches.
  • No filter. This is just what Sintra looks like.
  • This street artist does amazing collages of animals from hunks of discarded plastic he collects (part of an effort to raise awareness about some of the most vulnerable victims of pollution). They're all over Lisbon, but we managed to get a close up view of this one.
  • Thousand watt smile on the little dude, and I am done.
  • Those eyes though.

All Over The Place

Buy my book and I promise I'll never ask you for anything again.