With Casa Bonay (a 19th century mansion turned 67-room boutique hotel) as our home base, we recently spent time in Barcelona exploring the recommendations of digital concierge service
Porter & Sail. We first looked into the app’s potential during London’s Frieze Week last year and found their system to be unique and effective. Porter & Sail partners with smart, design-forward hotels—like Casa Bonay (and The Zetter Townhouse, Marylebone in London). When guests arrive at their accommodations, they can log into the app and receive free access to insider tips from local experts—all of which are geo-located. There are plenty of apps out there that advise you on where to eat or what to see, but most expert-produced guides don’t have the location-based accuracy of Porter & Sail. In fact, during our trial run, we actually walked to every spot recommended—and weren’t disappointed.
Within the Barcelona section there are tabs for both places and guides. One can scroll through a series of bars (from cocktail havens and speakeasies to clubs, which a lot of people go to Barcelona for) and restaurants, as well as points of interest from landmarks to museums. One can favorite items or even book directly (something we strongly recommend at restaurants and landmarks). Further, the app does allow you direct access to the hotel itself. Convenience, especially for travelers who look for things spontaneously, is very important here. But none of that would matter if the recommendations themselves weren’t reliable. Fortunately, they were.
As for why they’ve launched Barcelona now, Porter & Sail’s CEO and founder Caitlin Zaino explains, “Barcelona is having a kind of renaissance right now. There are heaps of new creative hotels opening, and innovative start-ups and tech companies descending on the city.” Zaino felt like now was the time to embark upon the sunny city. “Riding this wave inspires us daily, and we’re really proud to partner with the influencers, writers, photographers and other creative tastemakers who are making the city as vibrant as it is today.”
Lead image by David Graver, screenshots from the Porter & Sail iOS app