Episode 8 - Barcelona - Homecoming
With Damien Harris
This episode takes us to Barcelona, Spain to meet Damien, host of Picasso Suites Barcelona. In this episode, we look at one of the world's great vacation rental battlegrounds, and how this growing industry and such a famous city are growing and adapting with each other. We call it a battleground, because while Barcelona thrives on tourism, it has become so popular that the city's government and residents have become concerned with rising prices and changing neighborhoods. Initially, licenses for vacation rentals were easily obtained in Barcelona, but now, no new licenses are issued. As such, illegal rentals are everywhere, as are inspections, crackdowns and protests. At the same time, several vacation rental startups have sprung up in Barcelona's robust start-up ecosystem. Everyone is sure there is a path forward, but consensus is slow to emerge. We stayed at a licensed vacation rental business in the heart of town, Picasso Suites owned by Damien Harris, an Australian who lived in Barcelona for 15 years, starting a business, falling in love, and becoming a fixture in one of the cities hottest neighborhoods, El Born. Damien lives in Berlin, now, and manages his business remotely. He joined us for a few days in what through his friends, his property, and his memories, would become a wonderful homecoming for us all.
Our Picasso Suites unit was a two-bedroom, one bath unit in the Eixample District, not far from Pasieg de Gracia, Barcelona's '5th Avenue'. The key features of this unit are an incredible rooftop common area, location, price, included breakfast at a cafe around the corner, friendly staff, and the entire building consists of legal vacation rentals so there are no issues with neighbors or hosts telling you to pretend not to be tourists, as can happen elsewhere in Barcelona.
Key Episode Personality - Daniel Rueda
Danny is a Catalan Chef and owner of Tapeo, a tapas bar and restaurant in El Born. Damien was one of his first loyal customers, and they became great friends. When Damien returned to Berlin, Danny became our guide through not only spectacular Catalan and Spanish markets and cuisine, but also El Born's nightlife and the pulse of Barcelona. Click here to jump to Danny's introduction in the episode.
Another of Damien's friends was Phil, who took us sailing and swimming in the beautiful waters off Barcelona with his business Barcelona Sailing Trips. Phil is a vacation rental host who decided one day to become a yachtsman, learned with his family, and ended up turning the resulting boat into a side business he uses to enhance guest experiences. Getting on the water in Barcelona, be it on the many beaches, boats, or ferries, is a must do.