Have you heard about ACATUR? Sant Jordi Hostels has and we have taken note. All 6 of Sant Jordi’s Barcelona Hostels are proud, participating members of ACATUR – Associació Catalana d’Albergs Turístics (ACATUR) – an organization dedicated to the full legalization and certification of all hostels and youth accommodations in the competitive Barcelona market. We believe that over the next few years membership in ACATUR will come to be recognized as a badge of quality for all hostel accommodations in Barcelona.
When planning a trip to Barcelona one starts by finding a cheap flight and then deciding where to stay at night – hotel, hostel, couch surfing, whatever. Of those who decide that a hostel is the right accommodation choice, most end up on a hostel-booking website, where they find hundreds of hostels in Barcelona, all with reviews, rating, customer feedback and the lot. They read the reviews, check the location and most importantly make note of how much it costs. The one thing that is clearly missing is an indication of whether or not the hostels on offer are actually certified, licensed businesses. It turns out that it is not the responsibility of hostel-booking websites to verify if the hostels have the proper licensing and certification to operate in the market.
The problem with the current state of the hostel industry in Barcelona is that many have found a way to operate under the radar and without the proper licensing or permission of the local regulatory agencies. Simply put, they have not done the minimum required by the responsible government agencies in Barcelona to be approved as having adequate facilities. That is to say, they are not prepared in the case of an emergency, they do not have proper evacuation facilities and emergency exits, their safety standards are not up to par, they have not adopted the necessary measures for proper sanitation and health standards or preventative measures against legionella, they do not have adequate fire detectors, fire extinguishers and probably don’t even have liability insurance, they have overcrowded their rooms with beds, they don’t have enough bathroom and shower facilities, they simply aren’t clean and/or… on and on… and on – for whatever reason, they simply don’t have certification. It is currently the case that a significant percentage of hostels operating in Barcelona are doing so illegally and without certification.
The ACATUR members are actively seeking a remedy to this problem. Membership in ACATUR is open to all hostels operating in the Barcelona area as long as proof of full certification and licensing by the responsible government bodies of all hostels owned by the applying person, company, or corporation can be provided. What we hope is that in the near future illegal hostels in Barcelona will find it more difficult to offer their services without the proper licensing and certification and that being a member of an organization like ACATUR will be widely accepted and well known as a guarantee of quality hostel accommodation in Barcelona.