Barcelona was a destination that sat anxiously on my travel bucket list for such a long time. Every year it would creep further up the list until it couldn’t go any further. So I was delighted when Turisme de Barcelona invited me on a press trip to explore the accessibility of the city. I knew we were in for a memorable trip after hearing so many great things about Barcelona being fantastic and one of the most accessible cities for wheelchair users.
After months of planning, we finally hopped on a plane and jetted off to Barcelona last month. The previous month was not a good month for me in terms of health. After an infection landed me in hospital followed by extreme fatigue (exasperated by my Muscular Dystrophy) this trip couldn’t have come at a better time. It was exactly what the doctor ordered as I was in desperate need for some sun, sea and relaxation to give my body a boost.
MICs Sant Jordi
Having suitable accommodation whilst away from home is so important especially when you have a disability. Even more so when you need that extra bit of care and home from home comforts. That is exactly what MICs Sant Jordi did for me and my family. It really was the best place to aid in my recovery and provided the perfect base to relax, unwind and recharge my drained batteries.
MICs Sant Jordi is a fully adapted and purpose-built accommodation for people with disabilities in Barcelona. Already sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? Well, let me tell you more. It has an incredible 32 fully accessible apartments with either one, two or three bedrooms, en-suite bathroom, kitchen and living area. Not only that it also offers a 24-hour care service if required, adapted gym, physiotherapist, hydrotherapy pool, a range of equipment and restaurant.
You’ll find this amazing accommodation in the lovely residential area of Sarrià, which is in Barcelona’s fifth district. The upscale neighbourhood is quiet with many of the streets and homes lined with lush plants and flowers. It was beautiful. You may even see the odd wild parrot fly past as you wander the streets. It was a lovely surprise to see them fly over us on our first night.
Staying at MICs Sant Jordi means you are spoilt for choice when it comes to the bakery across the street as well as a pharmacy, restaurants, and shops within walking distance, and you’re in the perfect location to explore the rest of the city. An accessible metro station is directly outside MICs Sant Jordi (as you can see in the photo above) which had us where we wanted to be, such as La Rambla within 10 minutes. There is also a bus to town which stops right outside the building.
Entrance & Front Desk
The outside of the apartment building is modern and the large metal ‘MICs Sant Jordi’ signage on the brick wall makes it hard to miss. The entrance is accessible from street level via a ramp which takes you straight into the reception area and restaurant.
The lovely woman at the front desk welcomed us and took us up to our apartments. I couldn’t help but notice the cute metal wheelchair ornament sitting on top of the desk. Now I regret not asking where I could get one for myself!
As I mentioned earlier there are one or two bedroom apartments to choose from. We opted for two one-bedroom apartments. Both were slightly different in size, but both were amazing and very wheelchair accessible.
Wheelchair Accessible Apartments
Our apartments were located on the 4th floor and the lift that took us up was spacious and could easily accommodate a few wheelchairs. Allan and I had apartment two while my sister and nephew had apartment six.
Although our apartments weren’t next door to each other, they were only separated by the stairwell landing/lift area so it was easy for my sister to come across and assist Allan with my care when required.
We were excited to see inside our apartments that would be our home for four nights. The door was wide and easy to open really so it was perfect for my wheelchair to get through. I couldn’t help but smile as we entered our apartment. It was so modern and stylish with lots of space to move around. It was so much better than a hotel.
The open plan kitchen and livingroom are the first rooms you see when you enter. The kitchen is fully equipped with a hob, oven, fridge, dishwasher and breakfast table. The livingroom was spacious with a sofa and flat-screen TV mounted on the wall. The sofa was actually very similar to our own couch at home, which added to the home from home feel. Each apartment has Wi-Fi, air conditioning and underfloor heating which you can control with a thermostat
Private Balcony with Leafy View
The private balcony was accessible from the livingroom. It was perfect and I loved sitting out there as it felt so relaxing. I was glad it had glass panels so I could actually look out and see what was happening down on the street. One of our favourite things about the balcony was the beautiful trees that surrounded us. It was so nice to look out to especially when the sun was shining on them.
Next up was the bedroom which leads off from the livingroom. It could be separated with the sliding door if you need privacy. The twin beds were both electrically adjustable and could easily be moved if you wanted them to be joined. If you’ve read some of my hotel reviews then you’ll know I often struggle to sleep due to uncomfortable hotel beds. However, I was delighted with how amazingly comfortable this bed was. I slept great on all four nights. A miracle! I loved being able to change my position with the controller (again it felt like my own bed at home). Its things like this that really make a big difference and I appreciate it so much.
Each bed had a table with a lamp and plug sockets within reaching distance. The bedroom window was much lower than the bed, which is great because it means it’s more accessible for wheelchair users to open and close. All plug sockets and light switches were at wheelchair height as well. The window blinds and shutters in the bedroom and livingroom were operated by a switch on the wall, which was very easy to use.
The en-suite bathroom was very simple and minimalistic with a white and chrome colour scheme, which I loved. The toilet sat in the corner but there was space on one side to position my wheelchair for transferring. Grab bars were located on both sides of the toilet. The sink was the perfect height and size for my wheelchair to roll underneath and the large mirror above the sink was easy for me to see in.
The roll-in shower was accessible for a shower wheelchair, but there was also a folding shower seat attached to the wall if that was your preference. The grab bars and shower controls, as well as the towel rail, were all within reach of the seat.
An emergency cord was located in the shower and next to the toilet with a ball at the end which can be easier for people to grip if they needed to pull it. The bathroom also had a sliding door to the bedroom.
Restaurant & Outdoor Terrace
Breakfast was included in our reservation so each morning we’d head down to the restaurant to fuel up for the day. There was a choice of Continental and Mediterranean. The restaurant staff were so friendly and helpful. They were also very attentive and accommodating – nothing was a problem for them. Although there was plenty of tables in the restaurant we chose to have breakfast outside on our first morning in Barcelona.
Even though the sun wasn’t shining yet, the temperature felt comfortable to sit outside. We had the entire outdoor terrace to ourselves so it felt like our own private terrace surrounded with trees (my favourite). Again there was also glass panels on the balcony so I could see down to the street and it was good to be able to see everything even though I was sitting down.
The restaurant in MICs Sant Jordi also serves snacks, lunch and dinner.
One of the things I was most looking forward to was using the hydrotherapy pool. I’m not much of a water baby when I’m at home. Probably because there are no accessible swimming pools near where I live or that I know of anyway. So wherever I stay that has an accessible pool with a hoist I’ve got to try it.
MICs Sant Jordi has a brilliant hydrotherapy pool with a hoist and what makes it even better is the fact it’s completely private when you book your time slot. It was just what I needed to help ease my sore muscles after my recent health issues. The warm water helped me relax and feel so much better. If only I had a hydrotherapy pool at home.
Next to the swimming pool was the adapted gym where you can have help from a physiotherapist. There is an accessible toilet here which was very spacious with a toilet, sink and roll-in shower.
Going on holiday can be expensive, but when you have a disability and require equipment to enable you to take a shower, go to the toilet or get out of bed, it can become ridiculously expensive to hire. Most often hire companies will charge you for 7 or 10 days regardless if your holiday is only 4 days. Sometimes the cost to hire the equipment is more than the holiday and travel insurance combined.
Thankfully MICs Sant Jordi provides a range of equipment and aids free of charge. This is wonderful and a real deal breaker for some people. All you have to do is request what equipment you need, ideally at the time of your booking, but I’m sure if you require anything during your stay the staff would be more than willing to accommodate. There are hoists, bed rails, shower chairs, commodes and wheelchairs available on request. I use a Molift Quick Raiser at home and was happy to see MICs Sant Jordi had this available (seen in the photo above).
Video Tour of MICs Sant Jordi
Here is a little video of our stay at MICs Sant Jordi. I give a tour of our fantastic accessible apartment and our time in the hydrotherapy pool.
I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at MICs Sant Jordi and I’m already planning and looking forward to my next visit. It was the perfect place to stay for our time in Barcelona and made me realise that I much prefer an apartment to a hotel. I loved how accessible the apartment and rest of the building was. Accessibility for a wheelchair user is fantastic as there was nowhere I couldn’t go. There were many times Allan and I mentioned how much we loved the apartment and that we could easily see ourselves living there. It felt comfortable, homely and very accessible.