Poppy Dinsey’s Barcelona shopping challenge
I don’t think I’ve met anyone who has been to Barcelona who doesn’t absolutely ruddy love it. It is an *amazing* city. I was lucky enough to go there a few times as a child, but it wasn’t until I worked on a campaign with Mango at their global HQ back in the spring of 2011 that I realised, as a fully fledged adult with a credit card, what an amazing city it is for SHOPPING.
So whilst I may have been in Barcelona last weekend for a romantic anniversary break, I was very excited to have been set a shopping challenge by Hotel.Info to see what damage I could do with 200 euros in my pocket! It’s rare that I can convince my boyfriend to accompany me shopping on holiday, but the fact that the shopping trip was dressed up as ‘a challenge’ meant he could just about be persuaded to leave the comfort of the stunning Hotel Arts where we were staying. And he was glad he came, as he ended up buying more than me!
It’s worth pointing out how good the menswear shopping is in Barcelona, there’s everything you can wish for from stunningly tailored suits to beautiful leather goods and accessories (if money’s not an object, the men’s shoes in The Outpost are worth ogling over – or do as we did and just stare longingly through the window) to fantastic menswear collections in Zara and Mango that far outstrip what’s on offer in the UK stores – and come at a much more reasonable price.
The Spanish are just that bit more stylish, which makes shopping in Spain a real pleasure. It’s a cliché that gets bandied about for most of our European neighbours, but we could all learn a thing or two from those who live across the Channel! The first thing I noticed when we checked in to Hotel Arts was how stylish the uniforms were, when I complimented the receptionist on them she told me they were designed by Spanish fashion house Cortana. I’m not sure many top fashion houses are designing uniforms in London yet?! Perhaps a good sense of style is just in Spanish blood, Barcelona certainly has the most impressive art and design I’ve ever come across.
Barcelona is an easy city to shop in and I would always recommend to any newcomer to start at the top of Passeig de Gracia and work their way down. Passeig de Gracia is a wonderful, long street which has all the designer boutiques you could wish for as well as all the European high street stores you can imagine – including HUGE branches of Mango and Zara. There are department stores here too, with El Corte Inglés taking pride of place.
To make the shopping challenge more ‘challengey’, and to stop my boyfriend from moaning too much, I put a time limit of two hours on it. Two hours and two hundred euros. We said we’d pretty much stick to Passeig de Gracia and we started off by perving over all the designer garmz…
Determined I wasn’t going to spend my entire budget on one item, I didn’t even let myself enter the likes of Loewe and Adolfo Domínguez. The first store to lure me in was El Corte Ingles, mainly for the fab beauty department. I’ve been on a skincare high recently and I wanted to see if they carried any niche Spanish brands that I may not have tried. But before I knew it I was half an hour into my time budget (eeeep!) so I headed out empty handed, having decided I really should stick to fashion and accessories rather than a whole heap of moisturisers.
We headed to Mango next, which went rather brilliantly I have to say. I could have spent the full budget in there (hell, I could have spent 20,000 euros in there!) but I reigned it in. Mango isn’t killer expensive in the UK, but the prices are SO much better in Spain.
I bought a jacket, cape and two jumpers…
I am slightly in love with all four of them, but the pinstripe jacket is VERY cool on. All of their ‘Suit’ range was great actually.
From Mango we went to Swatch, which I appreciate is Swiss not Spanish! I always associate Swatch with being abroad though, I think it’s because as a kid I only knew the brand from airports, whereas now I see their little stores all over the world. I bought a Swatch when I was in Melbourne earlier this year and have worn it endlessly, so I wanted to get one from the same range in Barcelona to act as a nice souvenir that I could enjoy every day.
This was the one I went for…
But the Swatch coupled with the Mango haul did mean there wasn’t much budget left!
I could hear Zara calling my name, but we checked out some of the other great Spanish high street brands on Passeig de Gracia before caving. We went in Pull & Bear, Bershka and Stradivarius – whilst I lamented that I’m probably a bit too old for Stradivarius now *sob*.
Although the boyf had done pretty darn well in Mango H.E already, he was ready to tackle Zara menswear (it was SO crazy busy in there) and I was ready to put my last few euros to good use.
I wanted all the coats in Zara, typically, but having spent nearly my entire budget already (including on a coat!) I had to resist so headed down to Zara Home to see if there were any lovely trinkets I could afford. Zara Home is such a flippin pleasure, I’m so glad we have a few stores in London carrying it now. Still, it’s cheaper in Spain and I managed to stretch my very last cents to get me this gorge candle, eye mask and perfume…
All in all, a very successful trip!
I couldn’t recommend the shopping in Barcelona more highly, def give yourself a few hours to enjoy the boutiques and high street stores if you’re ever in the city – even if it’s just to walk past Gaudi’s creations!