Dec trip to Spain

Jun 5th, 2006, 07:57 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
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Dec trip to Spain

Hello, I need advise defining my logistics on a trip to Spain next December 06. We will be there for 10 days(not including 1 day to get there and 1 day to return home= 12). We are thinking on the following cities: Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla. We don't have a problem getting flights in and out of Madrid, but for the rest of the cities we either have to take a train or a local airline. We are not sure how to go about it. Should we fly into Madrid then drive to Barcelona and then take a plane to Sevilla?? Any recommendations??? Also wondering, how is the weather on these cities during the month of December?? Any web sites,feedback are going to be appreciated.
Minnie1976 is offline  
Jun 5th, 2006, 08:12 PM
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Madrid is on a high plateau and can have a real winter - with snow and everything. Seville can be much warmer - perhaps in the 50's or even 60. Barcelona - have never been in the winter.

Have you checked destinations above - or one of the weather sites?
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 5th, 2006, 10:52 PM
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you can check, for one way flights.

sevilla will also be chilly most likely. depends. never know. if the sun is out, it is pleasant everywhere although layers of clothing will help you adjust to the severe temp. changes from morning to noon to night.

you are surrounded by mountains in spain so it really cools off when sun is down, and winter, as mentioned, (look at is more severe in madrid than the others.

however, all of spain could be very cold.. or unusually warm. sounds fickle, but we have experienced some unusual weather patterns, and if you are lucky, you will be able to be at sidewalk cafés part of the time, part of the day, but don't expect to swim in the sea.

the only way to know if there is a cold front with snow or heat wave will be to check a few days in advance.

good train between sevilla and madrid. high speed AVE.

no ticketing until 60 days in advance. to see prices invent date corresponding to that time frame. there are many different fares on that train depending on rush /peak times and days.

december 6th and 8th are holidays in parts of spain. air and train travel will be affected by this as far as availability and discounted seats.
lincasanova is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 02:03 AM
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I would fly between Madrid and Barcelona and Barcelona and Sevilla (depending on the order of your trip) and as lincasanova said, train it between Madrid and Sevilla.

If you are going to use Madrid as the arrival and departure city then that is great, but see if they will let you arrive in Madrid and leave from BCN (or vice versa). If the change is not too expensive, I would do that and save myself the trip.

December in Barcelona is cold. Not as cold as Boston or Minneapolis, or anything even like that, but as the sea is right there, you feel the cold more because it is humid. Layers are key, as are close-toed shoes and though it is not the rainy season, I would have some sort of rain gear.

More to come. . . too tired to post. . . a first for me!
laclaire is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 02:35 PM
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Thanks a lot for the feedback. We have decided to fly into Madrid,then train to Barcelona and fly to Sevilla from Barcelona. Would it be possible for you to give recommendations on hotels for each city? In Madrid we would like to stay near Plaza Colon or Castellana. In Barcelona we would like a centric, hip hotel..same for Sevilla. We are looking for average 4+ star hotels.
Minnie1976 is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 02:46 PM
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Last time I went to Madrid, I was at the Holiday Inn just besides the Castellana. It's next to the Corte Ingles department store and very near to the Real Madrid Stadium, so there's very good public transport. Nice place, I got it in Priceline (I was trying it to know how it works) for $75, not a bad price, rack rate for my room is about 180 euros.
kenderina is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 03:10 PM
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Do you have a specific price range in mind?
We could better help you if you could possibly give a price limit for your hotels. The reason I mention this is that 4 star hotels in your 3 cities can vary widely, surprising widely, in price, from bargain to expensive, so once we know your budget, we can narrow the field for you
Maribel is offline  
Jun 10th, 2006, 01:25 PM
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Our price range is anything less than $200 US. We have read good reviews about Hotel Plaza Mayor in Madrid, but we are not sure. For Barcelona we were thinking: Hotel 1898 or Hotel Vincci Maritimo, for Sevilla we were thinking Hotel Amadeus... Do you have any other good recommendations? We are a young couple(on their 30's) and will like these hotels to be in centric areas.
Minnie1976 is offline  
Jun 10th, 2006, 02:40 PM
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For under $200 (around 150 euros), you have plenty of nice options.

For Barcelona:
If you book a "classic" rather than a "superior" at the Hotel 1898, at 150 euros, you can make it under your budget.
Depending on your exact dates, the 4 star Apsis Atrium Palace could also fit your budget ( as well as the Derby 4 star Granados, in the upscale Eixample area.
The Derby group runs great off season specials.

In Madrid:
The Hotel Plaza Mayor is my current favorite "budget" hotel which has a terrific penthouse suite, Palomar, which may be available in Dec. for 130 euros. But you wrote in an earlier post that you were looking for a 4 star, near the Castellana. The Plaza Mayor has only 2 stars, and it's located in Old Madrid.

For 140-150 euros on wkds. in December, if you want to spend up to your limit, you have many more options, some 4 star, like the Catalonia Las Cortes
( , the Room Mate Alicia ( or even 4 star plus, such as the Gran Hotel Canarias (booked thru a site such as, The Gran Hotel Canarias is on the lower section of the Castellana, the Paseo del Prado, since you mentioned previously you'd like to be near the Castellana.

In Seville, in addition to the 2 star Amadeus, very popular here, there's the also popular 4 star Casas de la Judería
( that should be within your budget since most of Dec. is low season in Seville. But if you still prefer something "hip", as in trendy, as you mentioned in your earlier post, neither fits into that category, although they do ooze Seville charm and are well located in the romantic Barrio de Santa Cruz.

Hope this helps give you some other options.
Maribel is offline  
Jun 10th, 2006, 02:45 PM
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We were in Madrid and Sevilla in late February this year and stayed at both hotels you mention. Not too fancy but perfectly nice with good prices and GREAT locations. Both were easy walking distance to the main attractions, and Hotel Amadeus has a lovely roof deck.

Re: weather, we had really freaky conditions. I was dreaming that it would be early spring, but instead we had hail, sleet, and downpours of rain (even in Madrid and Toledo!!) that are virtually unheard of. However, interspersed were some gorgeous sunny days. You may be lucky, but I would be prepared for anything. I almost didn't bring a heavy winter jacket and wool scarf on the trip, but about half the time I wore both (with layers of clothing underneath).

Good luck!!
abbydog is offline  
Jun 13th, 2006, 07:34 PM
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Thanks again! This feedback is super useful. I was wondering about non smoking rooms. I called hotel Plaza Mayor and they said they don't have non smoking rooms. Is this the case with all hotels throughout Spain?
Minnie1976 is offline  
Jun 13th, 2006, 07:37 PM
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Have you comparison shopped the cost of train vs. plane to Barcelona? The flights are often very cheap and it is very easy and inexpensive to get to and from the airports of both cities.
nessundorma is offline  
Jun 13th, 2006, 07:48 PM
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Yes, we have decided to use the train from Madrid to Seville, Plane from Seville to Barcelona and then train from Barcelona back to Madrid.
Minnie1976 is offline  
Jun 13th, 2006, 07:54 PM
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Some Spanish hotels, particularly those with under 30 rooms (Plaza Mayor has 20) just don't have dedicated non-smoking rooms. The large business class chain hotels, such as the Melía-Sol group, do have non smoking floors.

But that penthouse suite at the Plaza Mayor really does get rave reviews as does the hotel maintenance in general. Check the client feedback at
Maribel is offline  
Jun 13th, 2006, 08:10 PM
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Yes, I have read those reviews in Tripadvisor and I always rely heavily on the feedback I find on that web site. But since I am spending 4 nights there, I am a bit concerned about it because of health reasons. I was reading my Fodors 2006 book and read about Hotel Orfila and Hotel Intur Palacio San Martin, as well as Hotel Canarias(which Maribel recommended). Has anyone ever stayed at any of these?
Minnie1976 is offline  
Jun 13th, 2006, 08:27 PM
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I know all 3. The Orfila is an exquisite, private, Parisian jewel box gem, Madrid's only member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux group, with rates to match. The antique filled rooms are truly lovely, and the terrace restaurant, El Jardín de Orfila is a beautiful and romantic spot to dine amongst a very fashionable, well dressed clientele. This is light years away from the Hotel Plaza Mayor.

We stay regularly at the Gran Hotel Canarias and enjoy our extremely quiet interior rooms 503 and 505. But again, it;s far, far more plush (a 4 star plus property) than the Hotel Plaza Mayor. Rooms have the latest in Bang & Olufsen tv/stereo/internet equipment, there's nightly turn down service with orchid and chocolate, very comfy, ultra thick, high quality bathrobes and slippers, fabulous green marble baths with super showers with teak floors, lighted make-up mirrors, stereo speaker in bath, oodles of toiletries, thick carpets designed by the Royal Tapestry Factory. Again, not a budget property by any stretch of the imagination.

The Intur Palacio San Martín is a nice, middle-of-the-road 4 star, just around the corner from the Puerta del Sol, but facing a quiet square. It has a very pretty atrium and very comfortable rooms (I've taken a recent tour). The very upmarket Cellar Tours uses it to house their Madrid gourmet cooking clients.
Maribel is offline  
Jul 10th, 2006, 11:01 PM
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Hi Minnie, Will be doing a similar itinerary as yours for New Years Eve, so all the input given to you will be extremely helpful for me. Being to Spain many times in different seasons (in Dec.for my honeymoon) so be advised that it is very, very cold (at least for me that lives in a warm weather) specially in Madrid & in Barcelona. The south will be warmer. But the festive ambiance & the traditional Christmas decorations are unique.In Madrid will be staying at The Gran Hotel Canarias (Maribels recomendation) that booked for $140.00 yes,USD, breakfast included. Was thinking of renting a car, but reading many threads, I don't think is such a great idea. Some web sites, besides Fodors, that I found to be interesting with lots of personal information are:
Hope this help & enjoy your trip.
DorisG is offline  
Jul 12th, 2006, 03:03 PM
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Another vote for Hotel Plaza Mayor in Madrid, and in Seville we think the Amadeus is great.
Both are excellent, and in good locations.
Rate for a "Superior Double" at Plaza Mayor was 90 Euro in May of this year.
Amadeus was (I think) Euro 125.
Jul 13th, 2006, 12:22 PM
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Thanks a lot for all the great feedback. We have now booked the following hotels:
Madrid- Hotel Plaza Mayor
Seville-Hotel Musica de Sevilla
Barcelona-Hotel 1898
Now we have to start figuring out logistics to and from airport in all three cities. We will be arriving to Madrid on a Thursday morning, we will be departing to Seville on a Sunday morning and then heading to Barcelona on a Wednesday morning. We have booked tickets with Iberia to move between each city(Madrid to Sevile to Barcelona and back to Madrid). After reading the threads we found that flying is much cheaper than train(even though I love the train rides). Another positive aspect is that flying was more convenient because traveling times are the most 1 hour between each city. Can you please provide advise on transportation to and from the hotels on each city? Also, are you aware of baggage charges or limit on internal flights?..we will be using Iberia in all of them.
Minnie1976 is offline  
Jul 13th, 2006, 01:12 PM
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In Seville, I highly recommend the Novotel. Service was fantastic and the room was spacious and very clean. It's not directly in the centre (about a 15-20 minute walk or 5-10 minutes by city bus), but still convenient. It's too bad you're going in December because they have a rooftop pool and is soooo nice for washing away the aches and pains of a day's sightseeing!
pavfec is offline  

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