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hotel, train advice for March trip to Spain

hotel, train advice for March trip to Spain

Old Dec 8th, 2001, 12:59 PM
  #1  
chrissy
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hotel, train advice for March trip to Spain

Hi,
I'm planning a trip for the beginning of March, and have a few questions for all the helpful people on this board.
First, the plan-
Arrive in Madrid am, do some sightseeing and spend the night.
day 2 - AVE to Sevilla (stop in Cordoba for 5 hours)
day 3-4 Sevilla
day 5 - rent car, drive to Ronda
day 6 - drive to Grenada
day 7 - Granada
day 8 - back to Sevilla/Madrid?
day 9 - fly out (am?)

OK, now the questions... I'm looking for inexpensive but interesting hotels in Madrid, Sevilla and Granada that are well-located. Trying to stay under $75 USD average per night (25000 pts?) Any suggestions? If one place has a great bargain, maybe we could splurge somewhere else. Next question... Would we be better off driving a rental car back to Sevilla and taking the AVE train to Madrid on return, or maybe dropping the car off in Granada and taking a train directly back to Madrid? I'm not sure of the routes or prices for most of the trains. And finally, what might I budget for food per day? 2 people, and we love good food but are looking for bargains.
Thanks for your help! By the way, I know our itinerary may seem rushed to many, judging by advice I've read here, but we have to deal with limited time off and money and I have the urge to squeeze everything I can out of the trip.
Chrissy
 
Old Dec 8th, 2001, 02:41 PM
  #2  
Maribel
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Chrissy,
According to oanda.com, the current exchange rate for $75 runs about 14,000 pts. If that's your budget for a double in Madrid, I suggest the best budget value in Madrid, the Hotel Mora on the Paseo del Prado, across from the Botanical Gardens. A double should run under 9,000, keeping you well under your budget.
Or...
If you can spend a little more, $100 or so, I recommend the following 3 star hotels:

Best Western Hotel Opera, near the Royal Opera House and Royal Palace. Has very pleasant rms, nice, modern baths, all the necessary amenities and is located in a relatively quiet location, pretty at night, but very convenient for sightseeing. Very popular-fills up quickly. [email protected]

Also the Best Western Carlos V, a Fodor fav. It's family run, some rms with balconies, on a pedestrian st. but right in the middle of the hectic Puerta del Sol. It does get quieter at night though. Lots of posters here have enjoyed it.
www.hotelcarlosv.com
For both, call the Best Western 800# for rates including VAT and brk.
And also check utell.com, expedia.com, travelhero.com and travel-in-madrid.com to compare rates.

For Seville, Pedro, our Travel Talk resident of Sevilla, would know much better than I, but until he weighs in with his usual fine suggestions and current prices, here are a few ideas:
to stay within your budget, try the Hosteria del Laurel, on the prettiest square in the Barrio de Santa Cruz. They should have doubles for 12,500 but during Holy Week March 24-31, rm rates rise, and it may already be booked solid. Don't know what your dates are for Sevilla.
If you don't mind staying in the Macarena district, a 15-20 min. walk from the cathedral, there are 2 apt-type hotels, the Patio de la Cartuja and sister Patio de la Alameda. Rm should run around 14,000.

For Ronda, go straight to the adorable, sweet, charming Hotel San Gabriel. It's perfect, you'll love it. You can even "splurge" on suite #9 and still stay within your budget!
[email protected]
www.ronda.net/usuar/hotelsgabriel

For Granada on your budget, try to snag a room at the tiny family run, antique filled Hotel America, next to the Parador on the Alhambra hill. Doubles this yr. run about 15,000. It's a great budget alternative to the Parador, and you can enjoy a drink and wonderful dinner on the Parador terrace as your splurge.
www.karenbrown.com
[email protected]
But book far in advance, only 12 rms.


Check train schedules and compare AVE r.t. price with a 6 hr. Granada-Madrid Talgo ride at
www.renfe.es
(flights on Iberia are running $123)

Hope this gets you started.
Maribel

 
Old Dec 8th, 2001, 05:06 PM
  #3  
Chrissy
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Maribel,
Thanks so much for the great info!! I'm planning this trip as a surprise for my husband, and I'm so excited about it I might have trouble keeping the secret till Christmas!
The dates I'm looking at so far are March 4-14th. Might have to go Feb 18-28 instead if I have problems getting the time off at work.
Thanks again... and everyone else keep the suggestions coming.
Chrissy
 
Old Dec 8th, 2001, 05:19 PM
  #4  
Maribel
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Hi again, Chrissy,
What a wonderful surprise gift for your husband. Hope you both have a fabulous time!

Forgot to give you the web pages for the Seville hotels-

Hosteria del Laurel:
www.sol.com/host-laurel/

Patio de la Cartuja/Alameda:
http://www.estancias.com/nu44.htm
/www.estancias.com/nu45.htm

Regards,
Maribel


 
Old Dec 8th, 2001, 06:04 PM
  #5  
patg
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The train from Granada to Madrid is kind of scenic, but VERY SLOW, about 6 hours! Buses run more often and are about 1-1.5 hours faster. You can get a really late-night bus to Madrid and save the cost of a hotel room on your last day.

Be sure you write out a detailed schedule of your trip and evaluate the number of hours you plan to spend traveling. You will really want to have some down time and time for making new discoveries. Also, Spain is still not a terribly efficient country, and some mundane things take quite a bit of time to deal with. Just a friendly warning, hope you have a wonderful trip.
 
Old Dec 9th, 2001, 08:56 AM
  #6  
Maribel
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Hi Chrissy,
Reminder from patg. Neglected to give you the url about bus service to Madrid from Granada.
It's in Spanish but easy to figure out.
As you see, not all departures are daily (L, M. etc. means Mon, Tues, etc) Bus travel in Spain is very safe, pleasant, extremely inexpensive. Looks like the trip takes about 5 hr. 20 min.
Here you go:

http://www.continental-auto.es/conti...origen=GRANADA
 
Old Dec 10th, 2001, 08:05 AM
  #7  
Becky
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Myself, my sister and my friend will have an almost identical itinerary(end of May 2002).

Questions: Taking the AVE from Madrid to Sevilla--does it automatically stop in Cordoba for 5hrs. or can you stay on directly to Sevilla?

We have a 7am flight out of Madrid. Granada is our last stop and we, too, have been debating to fly, train or bus. I understand it is an ugly(not so pretty drive between the two). Would you really trust an overnight bus to get you there on time, if it was SO critical to leave early morning?

ONE more: a friend suggested to me to pick up a car in the center of town instead of the aiport to get a bigger car for less. Is there a place non-airport in Sevilla? Thanks!
 
Old Dec 10th, 2001, 09:05 AM
  #8  
patg
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Re: flying from Granada to Madrid. You cannot do this in the morning and still catch your flight. There are only, I think, 3 direct flights a day and the timing is terrible. This is why I have so much bus and train experience.

You can take the 10 p.m. bus from Granada, sleep a bit (you wouldn't see much scenery anyway) and easily get to the airport on time. You will have to take a cab from the bus station to the airport; the bus may stop at more than one Madrid station, so be sure to get off at the one closest to the airport. At dawn, traffic is a breeze and Madrid is beautiful.
 
Old Dec 10th, 2001, 02:47 PM
  #9  
Maribel
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Chrissy and Becky,
The url I copied for the Continental Auto Granada-Madrid schedule doesn't bring it up...??? Try this:
http://www.continental-auto.es/continental/ventbi.php
Then click on "ver origines", then select Granada, aceptar, then select "destino" Madrid, aceptar and the schedule should appear. Looks like there's a bus at 11 p.m. reaching Madrid at 4:20 a.m. Bus will probably stop first at Madrid's huge Estacion del Sur station, in south end of town, but the last stop, at the Continental Auto's Intercambiador at Avenida de America, is much closer to the Madrid airport. At that hr., will be a 15 min. MAX taxi ride.
 
Old Dec 10th, 2001, 03:16 PM
  #10  
Maribel
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Becky,
What car rental agency will you be using? On our last trip we used Avis and dropped off at the Santa Justa train station in Seville. To us, the pick up and heading straight out of town seemed much easier than the drop off, since we came in to drop car off from Jerez and had to wander around the city to reach the station in heavy traffic. People we met swore that pick up at the airport was a breeze because the car rental counters are very close to the entrance-fewer steps with lugggage. Haven't tried the airport yet. If you use Hertz, there's a branch at Luis Montoto, right off Avenida Menendez Pelayo, which is closer to downtown than the train station, and posters here have found it easy to reach. Can't tell you about getting a larger car there, though. But from lots of personal experience, TOO large a car can be a liability in southern Spain, where the streets in the Moorish built inner core of Andalusian towns/cities give brand new meaning to the word "narrow", and parking spaces are the size of bath mats!
Don't know how many of you are traveling, but for 2-3, we've learned that we want/need nothing bigger than a 4 dr. compact (like a Ford Focus-perfect for 3 last summer) with covered hatch. We don't ever get a subcompact because of all the mountain driving. Last time in the south we were upgraded to a Renault Scenic "mini" mini-van (nothing else available) which proved to be a bane rather than a boon.
There were some tense moments negotiating through all the mazes, (especially to the top of Arcos de la Frontera-aaaargh!) and up and down steep inclines into underground parking garages (Ronda) with their tiny, tiny parking spaces.
Just a thought...
Have a great trip!
 
Old Dec 11th, 2001, 09:19 AM
  #11  
Becky
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Maribel, I haven't decided which car company to use. We won't use the car full week and I'm looking for the best rate--avis is one I've looked at. We will pick up in Sevilla and drop it off in Granada. We definately want a small car, but in Europe they can come very small. I would consider something like the Ford Focus--not small, more average. Could you negotiate the small spaces with the Ford Focus size car? Thanks for your help!
 
Old Dec 11th, 2001, 09:33 AM
  #12  
Maribel
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We rented a Ford Focus twice last summer in Spain-perfect for 3! Got a great deal from Hertz, better than Avis, which we had used for 4-5 yrs. straight.
 
Old Dec 11th, 2001, 09:34 AM
  #13  
mary lewis
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We rented a car last March in Spain - picking up in Cordoba and dropping off in Seville (airport). Dropping off at the airport was easy - although getting back into town was interesting since there was a taxi strike...We went with Avis and found them to be good - had a SEAT Ibiza or something like that - probably the size of a Ford Focus - 4 doors and covered hatchback. It was a fine size for maneuvering and parking (including in Ronda). Best of luck - you will have a marvelous time.
 
Old Dec 11th, 2001, 11:07 AM
  #14  
Becky
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Hertz,huh?! Well, did you make your arrangements from home or when you arrived in Spain? I don't know which is better?

Do you really need all the additional insurances they offer?
 
Old Dec 11th, 2001, 12:03 PM
  #15  
Carol
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rental cars
Hi,
Definitely book your rental car before you leave the US; rates are generally much better. (By the way, we used Avis, picking up the car in Cordoba at the train station and dropping it off at the train station in Sevilla. Hertz has a drop-off there, too.)
Some platinum and gold credit cards offer free collision damage waiver insurance if you pay your entire credit card bill with the card. You might want to check with your card issuer to be sure.
Regards,
Carol
 
Old Dec 11th, 2001, 02:15 PM
  #16  
Maribel
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Beckey,
We had originally booked with Avis but switched when I re-checked rates a month before our trip (usually check with Hertz, Avis, Europcar, Kemwell, Auto Europe, Dollar). We've found for quite a while that Avis and Hertz have consistently given us the best rates in Spain (and I do lots of comparison shopping), and we've always been given a practically brand new car. Lots of posters here use Auto Europe; I've just never found a better price with them for our particular rentals. We always book from the US and ask for an AAA discount-much, much better rate from here, really unbeatable. As Carol says, you don't want to wait until arriving in Spain. Like Carol, we don't usually take the CDW insurance, because we have *primary* coverage CDW through a gold card (picks up the whole bill, not just what our car insurance doesn't cover). However, you'd probably feel better opting for the CDW just to be on the safe side. I actually suggest you do take it, particularly on a short trip-it will be well worth the cost for your peace of mind.
We've never purchased the extra theft insurance either just because we've been very lucky and have never had our car or anything from it stolen in all the times we've traveled through Spain. But we never, ever, ever leave anything visible inside the car EXCEPT a local newspaper which we purposely leave on the seat to mark us as locals rather than tourists. And we use underground garages or hotel parking lots when we can instead of street parking.
Hope this helps.
Maribel
 
Old Dec 11th, 2001, 05:38 PM
  #17  
Chrissy
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Well, I bought my tickets today! I'm so excited! I'm going to start getting hotel reservations tomorrow. Is it best to call or use the internet for reservations? Hopefully I won't have to make to many overseas calls. I'm going to try some of the recommendations from this thread... Thanks for all the advice.
Chrissy
 
Old Dec 11th, 2001, 08:28 PM
  #18  
zz
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We stay at Melia Lebreros - Seville 4 star hotel (new hotel, large rooms, helpful service desk) located 5 min from attractions. expidia.com offers 'Escapes Rates Singl Doubl Room Breakfast Included' for $83.35.
It might be helpful to book tickets to the Alhambra in advance. Try www.alhambratikets.com or ph # in Spain: 902 22 44 60.
 

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