For those unfamiliar with the concept of staying in pilgrimage quarters at a monastery or convent, the idea of staying at the Cel.les Abat Marcet may come as a shock: think of your first apartment after college (or maybe during college) with a basic kitchenette and a dining room-living room-TV room combination, plus a small bedroom. Then throw in crazy winds, overly hot boiler-powered heating units, and a very spartan single bed (or four, depending on the apartment you win the lottery on) and you'll pretty much have Cel.les Abat Marcet in a nutshell.
Except for the view: the view makes it all worthwhile, if you know which rooms to ask for, facing towards the chapel and the valley below. It also doesn't hurt that those same rooms, with a little ingenuity, offer a decent WiFi connection glommed off the Hostal Abat Cisneros or the Montserrate museum. Decent enough to call back to the States on Skype even.
After four years, staying one week each February after the Mobile World Congress show, I'm still discovering new things. For instance, a stay here qualifies for free, unlimited cremallera rides up and down the mountain, to the local village with its small shops, grocery store and excellent restaurants like BO2, which we've also reviewed. And a discount at the self-service cafeteria for lunch (although it's a bit tricky as to which of the menu items you get the discount on). And a great set-menu price of €21 per person at the three-star on-site restaurant in a converted wince cell.
In fact, one thing I learned on the last trip is that a three-day stay allows for a 2 per cent discount, driving the price of a single stay in off season down to less than £10 per night (or €16 or $22). Yes that's per night!
I recommend you bring dish soap and a bag full of food from the Carrefour in Barcelona or the small grocery store in Monistrol de Montserrat. In other words, plan ahead.But with 60 miles of mountain hiking trails and some of the best art in Europe (did I mention that Montserrat is where Ignatius Loyola founded the Jesuits, meaning it's the spiritual home of the new Pope, Francis I?) the Cel.les Abat Marcet provide a calm oasis from a hectic world.
So for all those who come unprepared for the basics, including forgetting that they're not staying at a four-star hotel (or even a hotel at all), lay your burdens at the foot of the mountain and don't harsh the vibe in this sacred place, ok?
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Abat Marcet Apartments today are fully-equipped, modern apartments designed to provide maximum comfort: bathroom, kitchen, heating, telephone and television. It is the ideal place to come with family or friends to organise a visit to Montserrat at your own pace. The Abat Marcet building contains 92 apartments for 1, 2, 3 and 4 people, with total accommodation for up to 260 people. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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