First Trip to Madrid...

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 21, 2010 6:49 PM GMT
    Hey guys -- looking at a possible first trip to Madrid (and Spain for that matter) and was wondering if anyone had any hotel recommendations or sights not to be missed? Have a Spartacus guide I'm looking at but would much rather get insight from a traveler.

    Anyone been and have thoughts?

    Thanks so much!
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    Nov 29, 2010 2:10 AM GMT
    Hotels in Spain are a bit weird. There is a ridiculously confusing rating system which can be completely opaque to someone who hasn't been there before. I don't know what kind of place you would be interested in staying, so I'll just give you my own preferences.

    When I travel overseas, I don't do anything in the hotel room except shower and sleep (well, and maybe something else involving a shower or a bed). I don't need a big room with a view or a hotel with a bar and restaurant. In Spain I usually stay in a "hostal", which is nothing like a "hostel". It's essentially a hotel with nothing but the basics. Often they're located on a single floor of a tall building - in fact, there may be seperate hostales on each floor. Last time I was in Madrid (2008 ), I believe my room cost me 35 - 40 euros, and it was clean and quiet and had its own bath (not all do) and air conditioning (you'll need it if you're going in summer). If that's the kind of place you're looking to stay, shoot me an e-mail - I may still have my list of hostales that I considered.

    I strongly prefer to stay somewhere between the Puerta del Sol and the Plaza de Santa Ana. It's a very lively (str8 ) area at night, with lots of pubs hopping with locals and tourists, and it's very close to the Plaza Mayor (great place to hang out, and very historical too) and walking distance to the Museo del Prado (one of Europe's truly great museums, don't miss it). From that area it's also a pretty easy walk to the gay area (Chueca) if you're interested - although I'm not much impressed with it.

    I also strongly recommend the Reina Sofia museum (a litle farther away) if you're into the Spanish surrealists (Dali, Miro).
  • postyork

    Posts: 127

    Nov 29, 2010 2:20 AM GMT
    Ditto to the above. When I stayed in Madrid I stayed in Hostales Antonio. Was on De la Palma, (I think) and was definitely good enough. Cheap, well run, and very conveniently located in the aforementioned areas.

    Good luck and enjoy!
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    Nov 29, 2010 2:23 AM GMT
    I've been there several times, but always on business. Seen bits of El Prado and spent some warm afternoons exploring (and getting cruised in) El Retiro park (which contains more museums, monuments, & etc.). I always stayed in inexpensive places in the outer burbs (business) but it was easy to get downtown on the light rail system. (Same one that got bombed.)

    The biggest adjustment was figuring out what time to eat. Dinner is usually around midnight. You can't even get seated in most restaurants before ten. Around the tourist areas, there are places that serve all the time though.

    Also, last time I tried it, Google Maps was still pretty useless around Madrid. It's like they don't know about the newer freeways and the none of the posted street names matched. Someone had a Tom Tom system and it was spot on though.
  • DCEric

    Posts: 3713

    Nov 29, 2010 2:25 AM GMT
    I stayed at a place just north of Plaza Del Sol in the direction of Gran Via. Lively place at night, but I can sleep through anything. I'd also like to second what Athaleet said.

    Madrid is one of the best places I have ever gone to. Enjoy. Make sure you destroy your diet once, and have churros with chocolate. This is the best place to get them. If I remember properly, it's not far from Plaza Mayor.
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    Nov 29, 2010 2:35 AM GMT
    Yeah...I stayed at Hotel Conde Duque. It was nice and quaint, but much more than I needed. Many of my European friends later told me about hostales. So, next time I'm down there I'm definitely going that route
  • postyork

    Posts: 127

    Nov 29, 2010 2:35 AM GMT
    Forgot to mention...

    If you're into food (or just looking for some good places to hit up)

    http://www.thesaltyolive.com/blog/post/Best-of-Madrid-Part-2.aspx

    that is a great guide of some of the "best of" of madrid (check out part 1 as well). Was totally invaluable to my trip there, and every recommendation was absolutely excellent!