Three eco-renovated boutique apartments that date back to Catalan Modernism (1900) and a stunning roof terrace overlooking Barcelona make up a new form of accommodation that truly connects visitors with locals and the city. yök Casa + Cultura is not a hotel, but it is not your typical apartment rental either. Run by eco-designer Petz Scholtus, originally from Luxembourg and living in Barcelona since 2004, and hotel-management expert Mari Marañís, born and bred in the Catalan capital, yök proves that the devil is in the details and that better tourism is possible.
The business idea is based on a previous project by Petz, the R3project, her eco-friendly home in the barrio Gótico. In 2012 she decided to ditch product design and instead focus on a more holistic way of doing design. By opening an eco-friendly place to stay, yök taps into sustainable interior, product and service design as well as the local culture and tradition. In 2012, while writing the business plan, Petz was introduced to Mari by Toni Tio, a friend they have in common. Back then, Mari was working as a hotel consultant for 6 years and found that many hotels were not run in a sustainable way at all. She grew more and more concerned about the large environmental impact of the hotel sector and was looking for sustainable solutions. What was meant to be an exchange of ideas regarding the hotel sector and sustainability, ended up becoming a partnership. Together they found the space in 2013. After 6 months of renovating, yök Casa + Cultura opened in the summer of 2014.
All 3 Casas date back to 1900 and our office is a rooftop extension from the 70ies. The spaces were renovated following eco-design principles and respecting the Catalan Modernism features like the high decorative ceilings, gorgeous mosaic tiles, beautiful etched glass and amazing wooden sliding balcony doors. A great effort was put into re-using materials and adding VOC-free, recyclable ones to the mix. Local products and materials were used whenever possible. Smart water and energy saving devices help save resources without sacrificing the guests’ experience and the hosts offset their CO2 emissions every year.
The name “yök” comes from the Catalan word “lloc”, meaning place or location. It is also the metaphor for yolk- the centre of things, where the energy lies, and also serves as a binder of ingredients. The two dots mark the link to Scholtus’ previous brand, Pöko Design. The logo, designed by Katie Barcelona, is inspired by Dalí’s logo for the Catalan lollipop Chupa-chups.
While Casa represents the part of the business that refers to the apartment lettings, Cultura is another important side of the project. Upstairs on the rooftop terrace and in their multi-functional office, the two hosts organise events for both their local guests as well as visitors from abroad. It is important for them to not create yet another tourist bubble in a city badly affected by mass tourism, but instead show that a different tourism, and a business good for People, Planet and Profit, is possible.
Casa A is perfect for up to 4 people. It is a 2 double bedroom apartment (60m2), equipped with luxury beds and balconies, a fully equipped open kitchen in the living room and a bathroom with a shower.
Casa B is perfect for 2-4 people. It is a cosy and light 50m2 apartment with a double room with a balcony and a smaller double room, all equipped with luxury beds. Upon request the king size bed can be converted into 2 individual beds. The living room houses a fully equipped kitchen and features another balcony. The bathroom is equipped with a shower.
Casa C is perfect for a group of 8 people; friends, family or even work colleagues. It has 4 double bedrooms, each with a luxury, 100% natural bed and an en-suite bathroom. A fully equipped kitchen with a large dining table and a living room with a gallery (the typical balcony closed of with glass windows) can also be enjoyed. One of the bedrooms has a balcony, another one has an original 1900 wall fresco. Upon request, one of the bedrooms has the option of a king size bed, instead of twin beds. It is a very special place to make up to 8 people feel at home.
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