Spain 10 nights

Old May 25th, 2024, 04:58 PM
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Spain 10 nights

Hi I have been to Barcelona previously.
My husband bought plane tickets to Madrid roundtrip to plan for my 60th birthday. Since I love to plan, this is part of my gift! So far, I have night 1 in Madrid. We have an 8 hour coach flight and it is probably best to relax in a nice hotel for one night.
I have 3 nights in Seville, 2 nights Granada, 1 night Cordoba and 3 nights on points in Madrid to end the trip.
This trip is in mid October and since the beaches are not totally accessible by train, I thought I would stick to the cities for this trip and really enjoy them.
If anyone has any great recommendations for tapas tours or restaurants or things to do that they loved, I would appreciate the input.
Also input on my hotel choices would be great too.
Madrid, I have one night at a newer Hilton property Hotel Montera Madrid, Seville, I have 3 nights at the Hotel Del Poeta, Granada, I have 2 nights at Hotel Palacio de Santa Paula, 1 night in Cordoba at the Hospes Palacio del Balio and lastly, my Marriott points I used for 3 free nights at the Westin Palace Madrid.
Muchas Gracias!
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Old May 26th, 2024, 01:15 AM
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Sorry, I can't help with tapas.
All other things are already planned and make sense.
There ar tons of beach towns directly accessible by train, but that wouldn't make any sense in October.
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Old May 26th, 2024, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by neckervd
Sorry, I can't help with tapas.
All other things are already planned and make sense.
There ar tons of beach towns directly accessible by train, but that wouldn't make any sense in October.

Sounds lovely.

I've stayed at your planned hotel in Granada and, just last March, at the Hospes in Cordoba. Both are lovely, and out of the tourist fray of the two cities.

Please see this report (link, below) for a recommendation on a very special room to request in Granada; it's from about 12 years ago but the room should be the same. It is VERY special.

I don't know anything about tapas tours, but there are many comments about these on this forum. You could also just go to the bars on your own.
Also, remember that they are not called "tapas bars;" they are just "bars" that offer tapas. Sometimes you have tapas at the bar area of a restaurant.


MADRID AND GRANADA--A Magical Winter Week in Spain


I would love to discuss food in those cities; I don't know all that much but I do focus on food during my many trips to Spain..I am actually in Spain right now!!! Glory be!!!


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Old May 26th, 2024, 08:22 AM
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Here is a very long report that discusses Cordoba and Madrid, among other places...from last March;


Live...from spain!!! Cordoba, costa de da luz (vejer de la frontera area, madrid
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Old May 26th, 2024, 01:03 PM
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I don´t remember exactly the room number of the Palacio de Santa Paula that I recommended to ekscrunchy, but I do know it was in the original. convent section, close to the cloister, and I believe it had either ceiling frescoes or a beautiful artesonado (carved) ceiling. Since her stay, this hotel is no longer an AC property (with AC cookie-cutter furniture), it has been redecorated and is now a member of the Marriott Autograph Collection. The location is excellent.

Quick question about your Sevilla hotel--do you mean the Casa del Poeta? It's a beautiful property tucked away in a mews of sorts, but a taxi can't get to the door, as is the case in many hotels in the narrow streets of the Barrio de Santa Cruz. But if you ring them upon arrival, they may send a bellhop down to collect your luggage and bring you to the door. Very typical Sevillano atmosphere and a romantic hideaway.

Dining in Sevilla--so many wonderful spots now and many new (we spent Holy Week there).
Azotea, Salmedina, Petit Comité, La Casa del Tigre, Barra Baja, Amara (city's best Basque), La Barra de Cañabota (seafood), La Barra de Inchausti (seafood), Tradaveo Centro, Alfarería 21 Casa Montalbán in Triana (gorgeous tiles), Casapuerta for almadraba-caught tuna from Cádiz, Bodeguita Romero for a pringá sandwich, Bodeguita A Romero for a piripi sandwich, Casa Morales, a lovable time warp.
El Comercio and La Centuria for churros y chocolate near the Plaza de la Encarnación.
I'm now very up to date on the Sevilla food scene thanks to my friend, Azahar, who takes us around to her current favorites.

About the Hilton Montera---I know it and know the very busy, bustling street very well. Since it's only one night, it might not matter, but although the hotel is perfectly nice and has a pleasant rooftop terrace, I dislike the street because it's simply very, very crowded and next to fast food places. Montera was formerly the street where the ladies of the evening worked, but they've moved to the neighboring streets, and it's perfectly safe, just an extremely hectic, crowded street leading down to the Puerta del Sol (Puerta del Sol: think Madrid's version, sort of, of Times Square).
Is there another Hilton that you could book with points? For example the Hilton Doubletree Prado, which has a lovely location near the Palace and an easy walk to the Art Triangle. The Doubletree here has no resemblance at all to American Doubletrees. We've stayed there several times before we moved and like it a lot, plus the location can't be beat.

The Palace, BTW, is in the midst of a renovation, but still open, and will no longer be a Westin. It will become a member of the Marriott Luxury Collection. The renovation is to keep up with the competition, since the Ritz has had a complete makeover, and there is fierce competition in the luxury sector with the Four Seasons and JW Marriott. So it was about time they embarked on a full renovation.

About tapas tours, I respect the work of Gayle Mackie and her Granada Tapas Tours. She's the original food guide of Granada.

My current favorite Granada spots:

Taberna la Tana, on a little square/cul de sac, towards the end of Calle Rosario (“restaurant row”), left side, Placeta del Agua 3, is the city’s best wine bar, loved by locals and by other Spain oenophiles. Each complimentary tapa is prepared fresh in the kitchen, and there is a full menu of other items to enjoy along with your wine. It’s a favorite of local son, internationally renown orchestra conductor, Pablo Heras Casado.
Reservations essential or be at the door before 8:30 pm, and very atmospheric, especially at night.
Others:
Taberna Malvasía, in the same area at Rosario 10, another fine wine and tapas bar. Closed Mon.
Saint Germain, near the cathedral at Postigo Velutti 4 for wines and tapas. No web page. Closed Sun/Mon.
Oliver, on the pleasant Plaza de la Pescadería, specializing in fresh fish and crustaceans from the piers of Motril. With outdoor terrace, lively tapas bars and relaxing, pretty sit down dining in the. back room. Bourdain filmed there. Closed Mon. Try the quisquillas from the piers of Motril.
Los Diamantes, with several branches, for seafood and fried fish, pescaíto frito. There is a large branch on the Plaza Nueva and a newer outpost on Plaza de Bib Rambla.
Bodegas Castañeda, a classic and an Andalusian time warp, in a good way (like Casa Morales of Sevilla), but mentioned in all the travel guides, so definitely not an "off the beaten path" discovery. First time visitors love it and menus in English.

Carmen de Aben Humeya—may be the best of the several cármenes in the former Arab Albaicín quarter for special, formal, sunset sit-down dining with those stunning, full frontal Alhambra views; Maitaitom has dined here— look up his trip report. Open daily.

For churros y chocolate, the Cafetería Alhambra on the Plaza Bib Rambla.

For tapas tours in Sevilla, either Azahar Sevilla (full disclosure, she's a personal friend and our own food guide when we're there) or Food Sherpas, whoever is available for your dates.

Madrid food recommendations, too many to list, but there´s a very active discussion about Madrid gastronomy on the Italy-Spain board of Hungry Onion.

Last edited by Maribel; May 26th, 2024 at 01:45 PM.
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Old May 26th, 2024, 03:48 PM
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Wow! Thank you everyone!!
Maribel, I have switched to the Doubletree Prado! Thank you! Also, it is the Casa Del Poeta in Seville! I have already told my husband we should try to just do a carry on suitcase for the trip because of having to walk up alleys with cobblestone carrying the suitcases! I figure we could just do sink laundry or hotel laundry if needed. I will keep all of these recommendations on dining with me and plan to plan ahead of my trip for all this delicious food! Maribel, do you live in Spain?

esckrunchy, I am about to read all of your trip reports on food as well! I am glad you liked the Cordoba and Granada hotels. I have been reading trip advisor reviews like crazy!

In Madrid, what would be a good special restaurant to go to for my 60th birthday?

The Westin, I have heard it is under construction. I am hoping it will be mostly done or not near me when we arrive!

Thank you all again!!!
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Old May 27th, 2024, 03:01 AM
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Hi girlonthego,
Yes, I live in Spain, in the Community of Madrid.

In Madrid, a special place to go for your 60th birthday---Sacha in the northern business district. Read ekscrunchy's recent report on her meal there.

Or...close to the Palace, within easy walking distance, Alabaster, at Montalbán 9, for elegant dining specializing in very upscale Galician fare, seafood and with an excellent wine list, godellos and albariños that match perfectly their seafood dishes. Michelin recommended (but not starred) and sporting one Repsol sun.
A plus, open daily except Sundays.
Bonus: it's close to the beautiful Retiro Park.

https://www.esmadrid.com/en/restaurants/alabaster
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Old May 27th, 2024, 07:57 AM
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I second the recommendations of the tapas tour with Azahar Sevilla. We did a sherry and tapas tour with Shawn, and it was excellent. Plus, Shawn gave us great restaurant recommendations for the remainder of our time in the city.

Our favorite meal in Granada was at Betula Nana. Tiny place, not a tourist trap, and very special. Reservations a must.
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Old May 27th, 2024, 08:07 AM
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And Betula Nana has been recommended by Tapas Magazine. I'm putting it on my list.
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Old May 28th, 2024, 08:27 PM
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I used this website about 10 years ago to learn about tapas and tapas bars in Seville. We found the information very helpful and tried many places on our own vs taking one of her tours. I think it’s great that all of this information is available to you, even if you don’t take one of her tours. If you’re interested in one of her tours there is a link to reviews on Trip Advisor on the website.

https://azahar-sevilla.com/sevilletapas/
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Old May 29th, 2024, 01:15 PM
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Well I typed a big long response to everyone but it did not go through! Uggh!!!

Thank you so much to everyone for all the information!
Ekscrunchy your trip reports with dining reports are so wonderful! I have them bookmarked!
All of you who recommended azahar's tapas tours, I think each and every one of you because I am definitely booking one of her tours. Which was your favorite? Would you do the flamenco plus tapas tour with her or is there another tour that you like better? I definitely want to see a flamenco show while in Spain. I believe Seville is where Flamenco was born?

Maribel, you are a wealth of information and I am so grateful for everything!!!! One thing, I do not love fish. So any restaurants that are good for fish and other meats, would be great! I will eat some fish, but it is not my favorite. Thank you.


Bicycle tours in Seville or Madrid? We did this in Paris and thought it was a fun overview of the city. Not sure if these cities are too hilly or flat? We are not great with hilly.
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Old May 29th, 2024, 01:47 PM
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We did the Azahar sherry and tapas tour. We know a decent amount about Spanish wine, but didn't know anything about sherry, so that was very fun for us. But I would think that any of her tours that interest you would be great.
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Old May 30th, 2024, 12:27 AM
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girlonthego,
For the bicycling tour it's best to do it in Seville, along the riverfront where it is very flat. There are lots of companies, but the one I'm familiar with is See By Bike. I wouldn't do it in Madrid because of the street congestion. Here's another bike tour co. for Seville.

Jerez is considered the cradle of flamenco and holds the annual International Flamenco Festival in late Feb to early March, but there are now over 20 different flamenco venues in Sevilla, which also holds an important Biennial de Flamenco every other year in September.
The venue I prefer is the long-established Casa de la Memoria Centro Cultural Flamenco, a small venue that does not offer drinks/meals, just pure, intense flamenco. One should book ahead, as it´s one of the most popular.

As for my friend Shawn's tours, I would take either the sherry and tapas tour (if you'd like to learn about sherry--she's an official sherry educator) or her Gourmet Experience tour, or her Tasting Triana, with a visit to the market.
I would go to flamenco on your own. The food/wine tours only, sans flamenco, are a better use of her vast resources so that she can spend more time with you enlightening you on the vibrant Seville food scene. She's our food guide every time we're in the city (most recently in late March).

Ok. no fish!
  • Vinoteca Moratín still stands as a nice, intimate place for a candlelight dinner. And it´s within easy walking distance of your hotel!
  • Sacha, if you're willing to go further afield via taxi to the northern business section, as it's a bit Parisian bistro style and dinner on the courtyard is lovely. BTW, it was featured in the Madrid episode of José Andrés and Family Go to Spain. And both ekscrunchy and kureiff enjoyed their meals there. The Macarfi guide considers Sacha the 10th best restaurant in the city. (I use this guide and other sources for my own dining choices here.)
  • Triciclo on Calle Santa Maria, near your hotel is also an excellent bistro. Lrice enjoyed her dinner there. It's in great demand so prior reservations are essential.
  • As lastly, or maybe I should have put this first, the elegant, highly dependable, classic La Ancha, run with aplomb by the Redruello family for 4 generations. Their breaded veal dish, the escalope Armando, meant to be shared, is legendary. It has a very pretty interior courtyard. It would make a very nice place to celebrate your birthday. Every one of the Redruello family restaurants I like. They are wonderful restauranteurs. There are 2 branches and the handiest to your hotel is on Zorrilla, not far from the Museo Thyssen Bornemisza. La Ancha is closed Sundays.

Last edited by Maribel; May 30th, 2024 at 12:47 AM.
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Old May 30th, 2024, 06:07 AM
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Muchas Gracias Maribel!!! Writing all of this down! La Ancha breaded veal dish sounds fantastic!
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Old May 30th, 2024, 06:27 AM
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It's yummy but huge so needs to be shared, or for a single diner one can ask them to wrap it up (restaurants are very used to this now, as during the pandemic when closed for months, they survived on take out and delivery). You may see diners go home with an Armando bag. Also their tortilla española, an egg and potato omelet is delicious.

Here´s their Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/la_ancha/?hl=en
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Old Jun 4th, 2024, 09:50 AM
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I have booked all trains between cities. I changed my hotel in Granada to the Hotel 1800 from the Marriott Hotel Palacio de Santa Paula. The Marriott has a fair amount of bad reviews.

I booked Shawn in Seville for the Tapas Tour. I booked Gayle's Tapas tour in Granada. I booked the Alahambra and Palace tour . I also booked the Cathedral and the smaller Catholic church tour in Granada. I plan to book the bike tour Maribel mentioned in Seville and possibly a Flamenco show in Seville. Any recommendations on that would be welcomed!

I have yet to plan Madrid and and Cordoba activities, but I am working on everything.
Thanks to everyone for their help, especially maribel!
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Old Jun 4th, 2024, 10:05 AM
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Yes, this Granada Marriott does have some negative reviews--I've read them-- and only an 8.4 score on booking.com since ekscrunchy stayed there and I recommended a specific type of room.

Back then the Palacio de Santa Paul was still an AC property, belonging to the Antonio Catalán family (his personally created chain after he left the NH), not yet branded with Marriott. The Marriott branding, apparently, has not been a blessing for this former AC, but I can't pinpoint the exact reasons for the decline. This Palacio de Santa Paula now has competition from 2 new luxury 5-star properties: the Palacio Gran Via Royal Hideaway and the Seda Club, plus the Áurea Catedral, the Áurea group is the top tier of the Eurostars chain.

I think you´ll be fine with the Casa 1800, or I hope! When I look at booking.com ratings, I seek a review score of 8.7 minimum or better still a 9+ (but I'm picky). The Casa 1800 has a booking.com review score of 8.8.

For flamenco in Sevilla, I recommend the veteran, small venue, Casa de la Memoria. There are now over 20 flamenco venues in the city, but this is one of the very best and one of the originals. A small venue, not offering food or drink, just pure flamenco.

Last edited by Maribel; Jun 4th, 2024 at 10:14 AM.
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Old Jun 4th, 2024, 10:40 AM
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For Madrid, consider the Las Letras neighborhood https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer...G2lzBlvQ77iSvY
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Old Jun 4th, 2024, 12:18 PM
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Another good hotel option in Granada is the Aurea Catedral. It is new, modern and very centrally located smack across from the Cathedral. We had a junior suite overlooking the Cathedral and was very large, comfortable and lovely. I had not liked the reviews of the Marriott either, and did a ridiculous amount of research prior to booking. I highly recommend this hotel.
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Old Jun 4th, 2024, 02:34 PM
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ssinny, well i have read more reviews and booked your hotel Aurea Catedral and got the junior suite! Honestly, so many hotels had bad reviews it was hard to find one that said the a/c worked or that room was not a box. Your hotel had mostly very good reviews. The Hotel casa 1800 I think is having some poor reviews due to construction on the street in front them. The Marriott and the other hotel palacio, had terrible reviews. The second hotel the Palicio that was actually not a marriott, most were complaining that they did get Marriott perks. So, I am very hopeful that this will be a clean and comfortable a/c hotel in the heart of things! Thank you ssinny!
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