Madrid areas to stay

Old Feb 5th, 2023, 08:28 PM
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Madrid areas to stay

I am looking for a place to stay in Madrid.I see that staying near Plaza Major seems popular. What's the vibe like? For reference, some people like staying in San Marco Plaza in Venice, but that is not me, as I like something a little less touristy. Can someone explain the atmosphere/vibe like for the different areas of Madrid?

Thanks!
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Old Feb 5th, 2023, 08:37 PM
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I'd ask why you picked Madrid?

If it's the museums near the golden triangle might make things more convenient.

On a short trip you might want to be somewhere close to transport. Either the train station or the airport bus stops.

Madrid is 30x the size of Venice. Even if you stayed in the palace it's not going to be touristy like the centre of Venice.
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Old Feb 5th, 2023, 09:03 PM
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I do realize Madrid is a very big city, and each area has its own vibe. Maybe my comparison wasn't a good one. I'm just trying to understand the differences between all the areas. I do have a place in Plaza Major at the moment, but questioning my choice if it is a high percentage of only tourists, or if there is another recommended area. I can look around the museum area as well.
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Old Feb 6th, 2023, 06:56 AM
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Í’m in Madrid right now, have been for 3 weeks, and am in and out of the city at least 8 times a year. Yesterday, when strolling around extremely busy La Latina, the Plaza Mayor area was jam packed as was all of La Latina, with a high percentage of tourists. It can be very crowded and noisy at night. There was a fairly recent article in El País entitled “All of my neighbors are airbnb”, written by a La Latina resident.
The area has become very, very tourist saturated. It would not be my choice at all.

If you’re interested in visiting the Art Triangle, the museums of Prado, Reina Sofía, Thyssen, Caixa Forum, although also with a large number of hotels, you might want to look at the area now popularly called the Barrio de la Letras, a.k.a, Huertas, a.k.a Cortes, which is close to Madrid’s museum mile. The Calle del Prado does have a number of nice boutique hotels.

If you want to be in a less tourist oriented neighborhood, but still within walking distance of the center, you might look at the hotels near the Parque del Retiro, a very upscale area, surrounded by beautiful 19th century architecture. Also in the sub-district of the Salamanca district, Recoletos, where you’ll find the One Shot Recoletos, the AC Recoletos and the VP Jardín de Recoletos, in a neighborhood that isn’t tourist central, very attractive and within walking distance of lovely Retiro Park.
(We’re staying close by right now.)
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Old Feb 6th, 2023, 07:01 AM
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Maribel - Thank you so much. This is exactly what I needed to hear (and my fear). I will definitely look in those other areas now. I would like to stay in a boutique type of hotel.
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Old Feb 6th, 2023, 07:10 AM
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Since part of my “day job” for too many years to mention has been inspecting Madrid hotels (I missed my calling as a Michelin guide inspector), I would consider the following:

In Barrio de las Letras—
Doubletree Hilton Prado (not in any way like an American Doubletree)
Roommate Alba (the Roommate chain’s Madrid flagship)
Catalonia Las Cortes (very popular here among Fodorites)
Radisson Red (brand new)
Atocha Madrid Hilton-Tapestry Collection
Derby Villa Real
Mercure Madrid Centro (slightly less boutique, formerly Madrid Lope de Vega)

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Old Feb 6th, 2023, 07:12 AM
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Oh wow- thank you so much @Maribel! This is fantastic.
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Old Feb 6th, 2023, 11:41 AM
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I've been to Madrid exactly once (this past fall), and I appreciated the recommendation for the Barrio de las Letras. We had an apartment for four days and then stayed at the Catalonia Los Cortes our last night before flying out. It was so central to everything! We liked the area very much.
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Old Feb 6th, 2023, 11:45 AM
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As kureiff says, Letras is very central to everything. You will find yourself walking to almost all sites with little need of bus or metro unless you want to go further afield.
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Old Feb 6th, 2023, 12:36 PM
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Thanks, everyone. Barrio de las Letras will be my focus now.
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Old Feb 6th, 2023, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Maribel
Í’m in Madrid right now, have been for 3 weeks, and am in and out of the city at least 8 times a year. Yesterday, when strolling around extremely busy La Latina, the Plaza Mayor area was jam packed as was all of La Latina, with a high percentage of tourists. It can be very crowded and noisy at night. There was a fairly recent article in El País entitled “All of my neighbors are airbnb”, written by a La Latina resident.
The area has become very, very tourist saturated. It would not be my choice at all.

If you’re interested in visiting the Art Triangle, the museums of Prado, Reina Sofía, Thyssen, Caixa Forum, although also with a large number of hotels, you might want to look at the area now popularly called the Barrio de la Letras, a.k.a, Huertas, a.k.a Cortes, which is close to Madrid’s museum mile. The Calle del Prado does have a number of nice boutique hotels.

If you want to be in a less tourist oriented neighborhood, but still within walking distance of the center, you might look at the hotels near the Parque del Retiro, a very upscale area, surrounded by beautiful 19th century architecture. Also in the sub-district of the Salamanca district, Recoletos, where you’ll find the One Shot Recoletos, the AC Recoletos and the VP Jardín de Recoletos, in a neighborhood that isn’t tourist central, very attractive and within walking distance of lovely Retiro Park.
(We’re staying close by right now.)
Like you, I love Salamanca .. In October I stayed at VP Jardin…For the coming May trip , I booked The Pavilions.
I understand why the first time visitors prefer more tourist oriented area, I hope they find the time to visit Retiro and elegant shops, restaurants and leafy streets north of the park.
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Old Feb 6th, 2023, 04:24 PM
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Maribel, you are amazing. Fodor should hire you. Art is my emphasis in travel, marinawright, so staying near galleries was essential in Madrid:

NH Paseo del Prado
Plaza Cánovas del Castillo, 4. 28014 Madrid

Concierge service got me to last minute flamenco. Breakfast was best ever (though not cheap). Here's TR for ideas:


Madrid and London

Pre-covid, the hotel was convenient to Prado, taxis, and bus stand.

Last edited by TDudette; Feb 6th, 2023 at 04:34 PM.
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Old Feb 6th, 2023, 06:44 PM
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We had a great place last September on Calle Latoneros for four nights. We loved being steps away from the Plaza Mayor and Sol. Yes it's very touristy, but we are tourists. The liveliness and vibe well into the wee hours was not a bother at all and added to our experience we felt.
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Old Feb 7th, 2023, 05:54 AM
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Diharv There is absolutely nothing wrong with staying in a touristy area at all since we are all tourists. But everyone has different preferences, which is why I asked for a specific area recommendation vs. a general recommendation. We will all be happy!

I ended up booking at Catalonia Las Cortes.
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Old Feb 7th, 2023, 06:33 AM
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,
I think you’ll enjoy Catalonia Las Cortes. It has a super central location on Calle Prado and offers a complimentary light buffet at night.

Tdudette,
Thanks for reminding me of the NH Paseo del Prado, which should have been on my Barrio de las Letras list. I used to stay there fairly often back in the day when it was the Gran Canarias. The NH. Collection hotels, their highest category, are quite nice.

danon,
We just left this morning from 10 nights at The Pavilions. It’s been our “go to” ever since they have offered us an unbeatable corporate rate plus upgrade, and it’s small and super quiet. We’ve now “learned” the neighborhoods of Justicia and Almagro and found our favorite watering holes and don’t miss staying in the heart of Salamanca since we’re only 2 blocks away. This neighborhood, streets of Fortuny, Zurbano, Almagro, etc., the “embassy district”, looks and feels very, very much like Salamanca, same vibe, with some gorgeous 19th century architecture. If only I could live there!

We tried the new Robuchon for breakfast the other day (formerly Embassy) on Recoletos since Casa Dani in the Mercado de la Paz was closed. Very Parisian, very chic, high prices for other meals, as one would expect from the Robuchon group.
There’s also a beautiful new pastry shop, Balbisiana, on Veláquez with another branch coming soon to Génova, just a short walk up from The Pavilions.
Enjoy your stay,
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Old Feb 7th, 2023, 07:28 AM
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What a great thread, thanks everyone. I am just starting to plan a 2 week trip to Madrid and Andalusia (we've never been) and this is so helpful. Maribel, you are a wealth of knowledge!
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Old Feb 7th, 2023, 07:31 AM
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Thank you, raincitygirl, and you’re going to have a truly wonderful time! Don’t hesitate to ask questions.There have been numerous planning threads here that could be helpful to you, along with some great Trip Reports.
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Old Feb 7th, 2023, 07:58 AM
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What a great thread! Maribel, you are incomparable!

I plan to be in Madrid in March..very exciting!
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Old Feb 7th, 2023, 08:08 AM
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“This neighborhood, streets of Fortuny, Zurbano, Almagro, etc., the “embassy district”, looks and feels very, very much like Salamanca, same vibe, with some gorgeous 19th century architecture. If only I could live there!”
Ditto ! 🇪🇸
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Old Feb 7th, 2023, 08:28 AM
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Count me in!! We can all be roommates!
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