Coliving – have you ever heard of it? It’s a type of modern-day accommodation and intentional community for remote workers. Think, coworking space meets backpackers’ hostel. Or, in other words, a digital nomad house!

I like backpackers’ hostels, but a lot of them are not great to stay in if you need to work from your laptop, since a lot of people there are holidaying/partying. You also might not get suitable desks, chairs, Wifi, plug sockets and quiet spaces to work from, which are highly essential as a remote worker. Whereas a coliving is made to be a fit-for-purpose accommodation specially for remote workers to allow them to work productively in suitable spaces, plus have a valuable in-person community to tap into.

I heard of this concept recently and decided to try it out. I was living in wintertime Scotland and really needed a change, and some sun. I mentioned to one of my virtual assistant clients that I was looking to try a coliving, and she mentioned that an old colleague of hers co-founded Sun and Co, in Javea, a coastal town in Spain. I had a look, and they seem highly rated, with a lot of award wins and many testimonials from guests. This gave me confidence that it would probably be well worth me trying. And so, I booked and embarked on staying in my very first coliving space.

And boy, it didn’t disappoint! From day one of arriving here at the start of this month, I had such a brilliant and unforgettable time that really lived up to its expectations. You literally walk into an instant community of super friendly professionals who want to socialise and network.

Coliving Accommodation

The accommodation is really nice! It was very clean and comfortable in every room I used, and it has pretty much everything that you need. The house has both shared and private options for the bedrooms. As I was travelling alone and I like to stretch my money where possible, I opted for the 4-bed dorm. If I were travelling as a couple, then I’d more likely go for a private room instead. Otherwise, the dorm was lovely, and I got some friendly American roommates that were great to chat to. I got provided with a towel, a leaflet of information about the coliving space, and even a bottle of wine, which was a nice wee surprise. All dorms and shared bathrooms are segregated by gender, so I shared only with other women.

The kitchen is well-equipped and spacious to allow a few people to comfortably use it at the same time. I really like the system they have of giving you your own labelled boxes to store your food in the fridge and cupboards. This is such a great way to keep things neat and organised, rather than just a jumble that easily happens in other shared kitchens. And like in a typical hostel that has a kitchen, there is some free food (left behind from former guests that had excess) and spices that you can help yourself to, which I thought was really useful, to save you having to buy loads of your own spices for what could be a short time.

And very vitally, they have plenty of free tea and coffee available. I queried about tea with caffeine in when I couldn’t find any, and host Iva quickly got some for me. I found it interesting that there wasn’t any instant coffee, but Iva taught me how to grind coffee and use the coffee maker. That was a really cool skill to learn, so I felt like a right barista by the end of my stay there! 😀

Asides from the dining room, the house has a small chill out room with sofas and bean bags. There is no TV, but there’s a overhead project that we would use for watching movies together or presenting a slide show.

There is a nice courtyard which unfortunately I didn’t get to use because the weather wasn’t that great when I went in February. However, I imagine it would be wonderful to sit out there working and having meals and drinks when it’s really sunny. There are also a couple of bikes that you can use free of charge to get around the town, which I thought was a nice touch.

Coworking

The house itself is full of great spaces to work on your laptop from. My dorm had a desk and chair if you wanted to work in there, which you’d obviously have to beat your dormmates to! The dining room adjoining the kitchen has a nice big table that you can work from, but be mindful that people also use this table for eating meals (if you don’t mind that) and it can get pretty chatty in here when it’s busy, since it seems to be more of a casual room. If you need deep focus, there is a dedicated focus room where you’re not allowed to speak, so I found this option really useful sometimes when I needed it to concentrate with fewer distractions. There is also a Skype room that you can book to make calls and have meetings, so I was of course using that a few times in my work as a virtual assistant.

Not only this, but Sun and Co also has a coworking space that is separate from its residential building. It’s only a 3-minute walk away, but it’s a nice alternative to work from if you just need a different space (otherwise, you end up being in the house all day, which you may or may not favour!). It’s a small coworking space, but it has all you need, such as many desks (including a standing desk), two bookable Skype booths, whiteboard and meeting space, and a kitchenette for making yourself teas and coffees. I really loved that there are monitors that you can use for free if you need a bigger or additional screen, which was a nice bonus that I don’t see at a lot of coworking spaces, so I made good use of them when I could.

Community

Sun and Co holds several events each week, which are either formally organised at the weekly “family meetings” that all members are invited to, or just casually arranged last minute amongst the community. Events can be skillshares, where someone in the group volunteers to teach other guests about a particular topic – ones I attended by other people were about sustainable travel, acroyoga (it’s a mesh of acrobatics and yoga), the science of love, and getting a tour of a couple’s campervan. Plus, I also hosted a skillshare of my own in teaching the group how to use LinkedIn to attract their ideal clients – that was nice to give back as well as practice my public speaking skills.

There are also casual events arranged to just have fun and chill out. Things I took part in included a movie night in the house, volunteering at a local community garden and having paella for lunch there, night out to some bars, and going out for dinner a few times, including tapas (of course, a must-do in Spain!), Nepalese food and Mexican food.

Wednesday evenings is always an arranged group dinner in the house, when two people in the house volunteer to lead cooking dinner for everyone. They suggest the meal and list the ingredients for everyone to chip in and buy. Then you can muck in with helping to cook, and we all sit together having a wonderful meal. All these activities were really good for making easy genuine connections with each other.

The location

Jávea (or its Valencian name, Xàbia) is a small quaint town on the east coast of mainland Spain, between Alicante and Valencia. I flew into Alicante and got a coach to Javea. It’s very lovely and picturesque. It’s not crowded or super busy, but it’s not too quiet either, so it’s got that nice balance. It seems to be a pretty safe area. There are lots of cute little alleyways, and plenty of nice cafes, restaurants, bars and shops. The beach isn’t right on Sun and Co’s doorstep, but it’s like a 25-minute walk, which is not bad, or you can cycle there more quickly.

I came here in February, which isn’t the warmest it can be – it’s not really shorts weather, but it’s still a lot warmer and sunnier than the UK at this time of year. I reckon the blue skies, palm trees and nicer weather definitely made for improved moods and productivity.

Conclusion

I stayed for two weeks at Sun and Co and had so much fun and learning! If I hadn’t already booked to go to Bali right after, I probably would have happily stayed at Sun and Co for at least few more weeks – I was a little sad to leave. Many thanks to the team (Iva, Fer and Jon) at Sun and Co for running such a great operation! I felt like almost every little detail was really thought through for what we’d need to both work effectively in a suitable space, as well as have a cohesive intentional community that quickly makes meaning social and business connections.

I would 100% come back again to stay at Sun and Co and experience it some more – I could see myself doing a month plus here. And I’d totally recommend it to anyone looking for a clean and affordable accommodation that doubles as a lovely community of remote workers and digital nomads that you can easily socialise and network with. 👏🏾

@toksacoyle I tried out my first ever coliving space and LOVED IT! 🤩 Check at Sun and Co in Javea, Spain! 🌞 #coliving #DigitalNomad #spain #javea #xabia #colive #cowork ♬ I Like It – Cardi B & Bad Bunny & J Balvin
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