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lily Jun 19th, 2002 03:50 PM

Madrid and Andalucia hotel and itinerary help!
Planning a trip to Madrid and Andalucia this October, and while I have a lot of the planning down (aided a LOT by reading this board!!), I need some help with a few details:<BR><BR>Hotels: <BR>In Madrid, choosing between the Opera Hotel ( a 3 star that's gotten some good reviews on this board), and the Intur Palacio San Martin ( a 4 star that I think is fairly new, so I can't find out much about it. Located near Plaza descalzas). Rates almost identical. Any comments about which is better located, nicer rooms, etc?<BR>In the Ronda area, choosing b/w Molino del Santo, and Fuente de la higuera (prefer to stay in the country close by rather than in town). Can anyone tell me which has a better location, and is better overall? Are they easy to find?<BR><BR>Itinerary:<BR>Basically, we're planning 3 nights in Madrid, a night in Toledo, catch the AVE to Seville, where we have 2 nights, then planning to do 2 nights in Ronda and 2 in Granada, then fly to Madrid and directly back to the US. Had a few questions about the andalucia portion:<BR>1) planning to pick up rental car in am in Seville, drive to Jerez (horse show and bodega - it will be a thursday), then drive to sanlucar de barrameda for a late lunch. Here's where I want advice - we'd like to drive from Sanlucar straight to Ronda (it will probably be 4 pm'ish by the time we leave), and stay the night there, giving us 2 nights in Ronda. Is this doable? (we don't want to drive at night, and have never driven in Spain before). The other option was to stay the first night near arcos, but that will mean unpacking/packing an extra time.<BR>Does anyone have directions on how to drive to the horse school and sandeman bodega in jerez? I've seen lots of posts describing people getting lost, taking the wrong exit, etc inspite of having maps!!<BR>Last question - when driving to granada from Ronda, is it easy to find the Hertz drop off in Granada? Or is it advisable to drop off the car at the airport, and take a taxi into granada? If coming via the coastal route, which we'd like to do, it doesn't look like we'd pass the airport, and we'd have to do some backtracking. Is it doable?<BR><BR>I've really appreciated all the comments on this board while planning this trip. Thanks!!

Paula Jun 19th, 2002 04:01 PM

Lily,<BR>The road to Ronda is very steep and narrow--would suggest starting out earlier if you can. I don't know where you're from, but I'm used to some fairly windy mountain roads here in the Northwest, but our roads are much wider. <BR><BR>Also, if you can still switch car rental agencies, I would strongly recommend it. We rented from Hertz and are still fighting with them--they really put a damper on an otherwise wonderful trip. People in Fodors seem to be doing well with Europcar (?) (I'm not sure of the exact name, maybe someone will help me out here). We did well with Avis last time we were in Europe.<BR><BR>By the way, one of our favorite restaurants was in Ronda--Restaurante Dona Pepa at Plaza del Socorro 10, (952-87-47-77) and in Seville we loved the flamenco show at Los Gallos.<BR><BR>Spain is wonderful! Have a great trip.<BR>

r Jun 19th, 2002 10:07 PM

lily; We liked Hotel Intur Palacio San Martin. We were there in April and found it quiet, elegant, and well located. The staff was very helpful as well. I would stay there again. I have not stayed at the Opera Hotel so I can't help you with that one. <BR><BR>I highly recommend Hostal Del Cardenal in Toledo. It's very lovely and has great character and charm. The restaurant is good, too. We loved it there. I hope you have a wonderful time in Spain. Rebecca<BR>

Hiho Jun 19th, 2002 11:44 PM

I understand the gays go to Sitges..will you be going?

nikki Jun 20th, 2002 01:51 AM

Re the Molino del Santo and Fuente de la Higuera - the first has a more English feel and attracts a slightly older UK clientele. the Fuente which is run by a dutch couple is much hipper with chic (slightly minimalist) decor and tends to attract a younger crowd. I just got back a couple of weeks ago and discovered a new hotel which is Spanish owned and 3km outside Ronda - I loved it (and preferred it to those above) - it's set in its own magical valley has just 5 rooms which are simply but beautifully decorated and has a lovely garden. The only drawback is that the road there is very bumpy. I'm in the process of writing a detailed review of it and editing photos etc. If you are interested, you can see it at

lily Jun 22nd, 2002 01:04 PM

Thanks for the advice so far. I'm leaning towards the Intur San Martin in Madrid, unless anyone can tell me the Hotel Opera is better? Any comments regarding the general itinerary, and the questions I had about driving to Ronda from Jerez, and to Granada from Ronda?<BR>has anyone stayed at the Hacienda Santiscal near Arcos? Would one night there, and one night near Ronda be preferable to driving directly to Ronda and doing 2 nights there?<BR>Nikki - thanks for the personal comments about the Molino and Fuente - just what I was looking for! La Cazalla looks great, I've emailed the owner to see it they have availability.

patg Jun 22nd, 2002 03:52 PM

If you post the address of the Hertz dropoff you wrote about, I can get driving directions for you. The Granada airport is about 20 minutes out of town and a taxi to the city would cost 15+ euro.

lily Jun 24th, 2002 04:49 PM

patg: Thanks for offering to get me directions - but I just realized that since it wil be a saturday, I HAVE to drop off at the airport, since the city location closes at noon! So I guess that means taking a taxi into Granada.<BR>Any other comments from anyone on hotels, itinerary, and "can't misses" in the areas we'll be travelling to?

CK Jun 25th, 2002 07:03 PM

Sayed in the Hotel Opera last June-it was fine, a nice location near the Palace but nothing special-lacking in Spanish charm IMO. But loved Madrid and particularly Seville-agree with the Los Gallos flaminigo show. Have fun!<BR>CK

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