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yök Casa + Cultura is III

Three years ago, on July 28th 2014, we had our first guests stay at yök. A lovely family from Ireland and a charming couple from Denmark. Since then, much has happened in our Casas as well as the city we are in. For a start, we have a new (female!) mayor, Ada Colau, who is more people focused as opposed to the previous mayor who was more business focused. As citizens and lovers of Barcelona, we agree with Ada Colau that Barcelona needs to cater to its citizens, not only large companies. So, when she decided to not give out any more tourist licenses to build more hotels or tourist apartments in the city center, we understood her, even if it means we cannot expand. We believe that our project is more and more important to show that a different, more respectful and responsible tourism is possible.

We believe that visitors and locals can live happily side by side, in fact, more than that! We are sure that locals can learn from visitors and the other way around. Like Mark Twain said: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” And before him, Seneca once said: “Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” And what better place to stimulate the mind than Barcelona, which offers great food, architecture, relaxation, fiestas, folk, art and culture.

We put a great effort into making sure that our guests receive an authentic and true experience, not falling victims of tourist traps and other scams that unfortunately are also common in Barcelona. Our three Casas (rental apartments) have become more and more comfortable over the three years, with furniture reflecting the local culture, both past and present. From the positive feedback of our guests, we now know that we have managed to build a more sustainable project without sacrificing the experience.

New this year is a graph in the entrance to the three flats, showing the energy and water usage of each Casa, so guests can learn how much resources they used, compared to their neighbours. Another important addition to our project is our cleaning staff; read more about their social values here. Plus we noticed that the more time we spend with our guests, the more they express their interest and fascination for the local culture.

Las but not least, we have collected 4.735,59€ in tourist tax from our guests in the last 3 years (something most tourist apartments currently don’t do). We think this is a fair way for visitors to contribute to the maintenance of Barcelona’s public spaces and infrastructure, heavily used by tourists, in order to create a more sustainable tourism, that makes it possible for both locals and visitors to enjoy the full potencial of the city.

All in all we are very grateful for the wonderful guests who have found their way (some more than once) to us, as well as our amazing providers who help us day by day to make this project possible.