Hotel and sightseeing in Madrid

Old Feb 14th, 2001, 03:02 PM
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Hotel and sightseeing in Madrid

I am travelling to Madrid in late March for three days. I would like to stay in an "upmarket" hotel in a convenient location (to do sightseing) that offers comfortable, elegant rooms and superior service. I particularly like independant, old-style hotels rather than chain hotels. Also, I would like recommendations on what previous visitors would recommend I MUST see in this very short visit (including, perhaps, a one day tour outside of the city?).

Many thanks
Old Feb 14th, 2001, 03:13 PM
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Spent four days in Madrid in May. Probably my favourite European city (so far - but lots still to see).

For hotels, I recommend the one we stayed in, Hotel Santander, though it's not as upmarket as you may want. It's cetainly not a hostel, more mid-level. But the location is ideal, a few blocks from Plaza del Sol which is the commercial centre of town. It's better to be in that area than along the Gran Via which is noisier and less cosmopolitan (and a bit seedier at night).

The main sites are the obvious ones like the Prado museum, which we enjoyed despite not being particularly interested in visual art (the building itself is beautiful). Our favourite spot was Plaza Mayor, both by day and by night. Wonderful restaurants along the inside for dinner, though they're obviously a bit pricey given that they attract largely tourists. The Royal Palace (Palacio Real) is also impressive and doesn't take too long to see (unlike the Prado).

Make a point of visiting some of the choclateiras after dinner. They'll serve you chocolate and churros (fried dough - their variation on the doughnut). If you're travelling with someone, you can probably share. Truly decadent.

For a day trip out of Madrid, Toledo is apparently worth the trip, but we were not able to go.

Hope that's helpful. Wish I were going back.

Old Feb 14th, 2001, 04:22 PM
Mary Lynn
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Hi! I am travelling to Madrid in late April and the Hotel Santander sounds like a place I might be interested in: a place with character, more clean, friendly, homey atmosphere than upscale and full of amenities I can't use. Did the room include breakfast? About how much can I expect to pay? Are some rooms more desirable than others? Does anyone out there have more suggestions about places to stay or places to go or places to eat??? Thanks !!
Old Feb 14th, 2001, 06:14 PM
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Madrid is one of my favorite places. We lived there for 5 years in the 70s and I love going back. You can easily take day trips to Segovia which has a Roman aquaduct and an impressive cathedral, as well as being an interesting city. Toledo is a national museum, it's the home of El Greco and there are many of his wonderful paintings there and a cathedral and lots to see. Avila is a walled city, not too far from Segovia and it's worth visiting. You can take a half day trip to El Escorial, the monastary that was the home of King Philip IV, you can also see El Escorial nearby in the mountains where there is a huge cross and a masoleum where the civil war soldiers are buried, as well as Franco now. One town I really enjoy visiting is about 20 min from Madrid, that's Alcala de Henares, the birthplace of Cervantes, home of the first university in Spain and where Henry XIII's first wife was born. It's a really neat town to walk around in. We stayed at the Tryp Capitol Hotel right on the Gran Via and we enjoyed the location. It's a 3-star hotel and they have a wonderful breakfast included in the price. The bus tours leave right down the street from the hotel and it's a block from El Corte Ingles, which is open later in the evening than the other shops and it's open during siesta time. Have a good time.
Old Feb 14th, 2001, 06:50 PM
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Mary Lynn, the hotel Santander is on Calle Echegary 1, tel 429-6644 (you'll have to figure out the local area codes, which I recall was a pain). In my notes I have that it was approx $80 (Canadian) a night, so roughly $55 US. I don't specifically recall breakfast there, so I assume they did not provide it. The hotel is in a terrific area, and it can get a bit noisy, but it's a few blocks from the lively Puerto del Sol, so noise shouldn't really be a problem.

Now that I'm home I can check my other trip notes, and here are a few more thoughts: First, the main hub is called Puerto del Sol (not "Plaza") as I wrote earlier. The best chocolateria is called Chocolateria San Gines and I believe it's near Plaza Mayor and is only open at night. If you have some time, Retiro Park is a very pleasant walk (like Central Park in the middle of the city), but it's not a true "must see". Finally, dinner really does start at 10 (all the books said so but we didn't believe them).

Have fun,
Old Feb 14th, 2001, 09:55 PM
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My wife and I were in Madrid about five years ago and we stayed at what was then an upmarket hotel (it was our first trip together after kids, without kids). We stayed at the Villa Real, which is on the Plaza de Cortes. It's just off the Paseo del Prado and is near the Prado and other major art museums, as well as the Retiro. What I really liked about the rooms was that the area with the bed was raised from a sunken sitting area. It was like two rooms in one (though the rooms certainly weren't huge). It had marble bathrooms, a courteous and reserved staff. All in all it was first class and I have fond memories of the place. Have a great time in Madrid. I loved the place.

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