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Old Feb 21, 11, 3:14 pm   #1
 
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Hotel recommendations & must dos in Madrid

Would love to get some recommendations from my FT expert colleagues!

Family of four, two active kids 13 & 8. Gold HH, Gold *wood, Platinum PC (in order of preference). Prefer a very nice hotel on points in a good location. Upgrades & lounge access(or free breakfasts) is preferred. Nice swimming pool & free internet is also very welcome. Any recommendations? Or hotels in these 3 chains to avoid/

We have 6 nights in Madrid. Can someone recommend the must dos to do if you only have about 5 full days here? We will be there in early April. Recommendations on how to get around, tours, festivals, restaurants, must sees, etc. Any suggestion very welcome!

Thank you as always!
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Old Feb 22, 11, 2:33 am   #2
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Hi gpapadop,

No replies to your post yet ..... so here goes!

FWIW, I'm a little suprised to hear such a long trip to Madrid and suggest you reassure yourself that this city is optimum for you and your family for 5 full days. To be completely frank I'm not certain that Madrid is amongst the most popular European capitals for visits .... and you're coming a long way!

So far as where to stay - I see you're a PC member, suggest you consider upgrading yourself to Ambassador and consider booking a club room at the IC. This will give you and your family breakfasts and refreshments all day and a nice bolt hole for your trips back to base as unless you're buying a suite your going to find any room a touch cramped. I think the IC lounge could make a real difference to your trip and as you're extra room rate is covering 4 people to use the lounge I think it's good value. There's also a afternoon tea and soft drinks all day happy hour each evening, snack for much of the day ie normally lunch and evening ..... and your membership pack will give you a voucher for a free weekend night and a potential upgrade to your MAD booking. I wouldn't say that Madrid is a gourmet destination and you may find the lounge will be more useful to you than you might think now whilst you're planning. (Not suggesting you won't find good places to eat .....!)

You can also hunt out Friends and Family rate - though make sure you use the weekend rate if using the bogoff cert. The hotel is close to a metro station although it isn't located right bang in the center - it's close enough.

Personally I'm not fond of Madrid and have no plans to return so I'm not placed to recommend things to do with any sincerity other than to do the tapas bars (might be tough with the kids) and try a calamari sandwich which seems to be popular after church on Sunday ......

Enjoy your stay and by all means ask any more questions you may have.
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Old Feb 22, 11, 2:39 am   #3
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Unfortunately a nice pool and free internet are going to be hard to find in central Madrid. I like the Westin Palace for central tourism. Or the Intercontinental if you have Ambassador status.

Taxis are relatively cheap in Spain, so use those for transport. Or the metro if it is convenient. Go see Plaza Mayor, but AVOID the touristy restaurants right in the square. They will try to rip you off one way or the other. The museums are fabulous. Especially the Prado. The kids might be weirded out by Bosch, or they may be fascinated.
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Old Feb 22, 11, 1:14 pm   #4
 
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Thanks for the comments! I am realizing that Madrid is just not the ideal place to spend a week. The reason I did it because I managed to get $293 RT all-in tickets on Delta and it was either that or Copenhagen which I just barely missed. Plus I continue with my goal of visiting at least 1 new country each year.

Now I am thinking maybe I should look into flying out on one of those cheapo airlines (easyjet, ryanair--->oh no!) and go somewhere else more tourist friendly that has a magnificent Hilton. Hmm, maybe Paris, my wife wants to go there. Perhaps split our time between the two cities or stay in Madrid for just 2 nights or so....Oh decisions, decisions.

The Westin Palace looks pretty good for us, as the Cash & Points rate is a better deal. The IC will require a revenue stay and I need to pay up for Ambassador membership (and I don't think i have a chance for RA which may be required anyway for lounge access). The rates are just way too high. I will take a look at Priceline and see if we can do better there.

Wonder if train MAD to Paris is reasonable and feasible without wasting too much time...Any suggestions on other close by places with magnificent Hiltons easily accessible from MAD? My wife and kids still rave about our stay in Rome at the Cavalieri!
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Old Feb 22, 11, 1:57 pm   #5
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As one of your top requirements seems to be a Hilton, an option I suggest would be Hilton Sa Torre Mallorca hotelin Majorca. Tripadvisor doesn't do it bad ..... Great for kids with pools etc.

Majorca is a family holiday destination that is regenerating into a reasonably sophisticated destination - and in particular Palma which is not to far from Llucmayor which is wherre this Hilton is located.

Palma should be a cheap flight from Madrid and I think would be ideal for a family stay for a few nights. Much better than Madrid in my view although I'd feel a lot happier if someone else posted enthusiastically in favour of Madrid to give a counter opinion to my own. Hate to give you a bum steer.

If you want any more pointers with respect to Majorca just ask.
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Old Feb 22, 11, 2:36 pm   #6
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You should maybe take the train down to the coast. Have a day or two in Madrid and head to Valencia or Alicante, or most any place along the coast.

BTW LYON!!!!!!!
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Old Feb 22, 11, 3:51 pm   #7
 
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Probably one of the best bakeries that I've been to in years is near the SOL underground station... When you are coming out of the station go up the escalator and the Tio Pepe sign should be right in front of you (kind of hard to miss)... Right behind you is a bakery... During the day it doesn't seem too busy, but at night, the lines are super long... I'd go back to Madrid just for that place... Also, when coming out of the underground, if you keep walking past the Tio Pepe sign and go a couple of blocks, there are several quite good restaurants on the side streets and in the little alleys between streets. The area doesn't necessarily look that great, but I found that it was actually pretty safe even late at night. I also found a good variety of restaurants in that area and the food was reasonable and I enjoyed it.
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Last edited by localady; Feb 22, 11 at 3:59 pm..
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Old Feb 22, 11, 4:56 pm   #8
 
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Three or four days is enough to cover Madrid. Instead of moving around, you might consider taking day trips. Segovia and Toledo are easy one day outings from Madrid using trains. I did not get to Toledo but be forewarned that if you go to Segovia, don't go on a Monday; pretty much everything but the castle is closed then.
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Old Feb 22, 11, 7:07 pm   #9
 
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Hi I'm heading to Madrid in 2 weeks for 2 nights tapas hunting and hopefully do the rasta and la latina on sunday. Any suggestions for a centrally located hotel for 2 guys in their 30's, twin beds, clean, but not a fortune? Thinking of Madrid Hesperia at USD 150 per night.

Thanks!
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Old Feb 22, 11, 8:24 pm   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ordogg View Post
Hi I'm heading to Madrid in 2 weeks for 2 nights tapas hunting and hopefully do the rasta and la latina on sunday. Any suggestions for a centrally located hotel for 2 guys in their 30's, twin beds, clean, but not a fortune? Thinking of Madrid Hesperia at USD 150 per night.

Thanks!
I stayed at Hostal Alhambra Suites which is walking distance from the Sol Underground station. I'd stay there again in a heartbeat. I think that the rate was around 70 Euros a night. Clean and quiet place. Walking distance from everything including many restaurants and night life spots. I got it through booking.com Don't get confused... A Hostal is actually a small family run hotel. The rooms were nice size, some had balconies and the place was clean. It also included breakfast at a local restaurant... Eggs, toast, juice, fruit etc..
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Old Feb 23, 11, 10:12 am   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by localady View Post
I stayed at Hostal Alhambra Suites which is walking distance from the Sol Underground station. I'd stay there again in a heartbeat. I think that the rate was around 70 Euros a night. Clean and quiet place. Walking distance from everything including many restaurants and night life spots. I got it through booking.com Don't get confused... A Hostal is actually a small family run hotel. The rooms were nice size, some had balconies and the place was clean. It also included breakfast at a local restaurant... Eggs, toast, juice, fruit etc..
Just missed out on the last room for my dates.

What would be the BEST location for Tapas in Madrid??
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Old Feb 23, 11, 10:53 am   #12
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Originally Posted by idriveuride View Post
What would be the BEST location for Tapas in Madrid??
San Sebastien.

Seriously most anywhere in Madrid you can get decent tapas. One place that is kinda cool, and macabre, is on Plaza Mayor. It's a bar that is also of a museum dedicated to the history of bull fighting.
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Old Feb 24, 11, 9:51 pm   #13
 
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I now have all my domestic travel arrangements all set! I will soon turn to Madrid and possibly other European possibilities to split our time. I really like that Hilton stated earlier in the Mediterranean island and also like the day trips if we stay put in Madrid for 6 days. I have a website bookmarked that searches the European low cost airlines...maybe we'll do Paris. It would have been awesome to see a Real Madrid game with my son but I am guessing tickets would be impossible to get, assuming there is a game while we are there.
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Old Feb 25, 11, 11:36 am   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by localady View Post
I stayed at Hostal Alhambra Suites which is walking distance from the Sol Underground station. I'd stay there again in a heartbeat. I think that the rate was around 70 Euros a night. Clean and quiet place. Walking distance from everything including many restaurants and night life spots. I got it through booking.com Don't get confused... A Hostal is actually a small family run hotel. The rooms were nice size, some had balconies and the place was clean. It also included breakfast at a local restaurant... Eggs, toast, juice, fruit etc..
Thank you for the tip, I've got our room booked for our final two nights in Spain. As deluxe hotels aren't in the budget, this was just the sort of place I was looking for.
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Old Feb 27, 11, 10:01 am   #15
 
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I used whichbudget.com to see if we can catch a flight on the day we land in MAD to some other European destination. Too bad some Ryan Air (oh no!) flight leaves shortly before we land on our preferred date, it was only 20 euros to Paris each! Rest of flights are all way too expensive so I think we are going to be sticking with Spain for all 6 nights. I looked at getting to paris via train but it is a 13 hour overnight ride...and we will need a cabin and the price would probably be way too expensive anyway. Now I need to look into flying to the island where the Hilton is that was suggested some posts ago...and perhaps flying to Barcelona or maybe Lisbon...So many choices, so little time!!
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