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Request for Madrid Recommendations

Request for Madrid Recommendations

Old Jul 25, 04, 2:03 pm
  #1  
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Request for Madrid Recommendations

We're going to be in Madrid from 8/25 through 8/28 and then flying out the morning of 8/29 to Oviedo to do a hiking tour with Mt. Travel/Sobek. I have a few questions:

1) Sobek recommends the Hotel A. Gaudi on Gran Via #9. Anyone have any experience with this hotel? Any other suggestions? Generally looking for something in a good location (Prado, Tapas Bars, etc.) with rooms with AC and preferrably a laundromat. Points affiliation is unimportant for this stay. In the U.S. Marriot is my main program and PriorityClub is my secondary. Marriot has minimal presence in Spain and not crticial to get PriorityClub credit. Prefer around $100 to $125 U.S. per night range.

2) Also what is the best way to get to and from MAD? Shuttle or Metro? Recommended shuttle companines? Are Taxis worth it and how bad is the ripoff potential?

3) Do Iberia and USAirways have a baggage interline agreement?


Thanks,

Jon

P.S. Any any other general advice on Madrid is welcome.

Last edited by Jon Maiman; Jul 25, 04 at 2:59 pm Reason: did a better search and gor more info.
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Old Jul 26, 04, 2:41 pm
  #2  

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I just moved a month ago from Madrid to Atlanta. Madrid is a great city and you will have beautiful weather at that time of year. Sunny and warm (or hot!)

To go from Barajas (the main Madrid airport) you can take either the metro or a taxi, depending on the amount of luggage that you have. Going from the airport to Gran Via on the metro will be at least 2 subway changes. The metro from the airport is line #8 which you would take to Nuevos Ministerios #6 line to the #2 line which will get you to Gran Via.

That said, I recommend a taxi. There are always 100's of taxis lined up at the airport and most are honest (low ripoff potential). The meters run well and are relatively inexpensive. This ride will cost you around 20-25 Euros. No need to tip, just round up the bill to the next Euro, unless you have an obscene amount of luggage and they help you a bit more.

Gran Via is a great neighbourhood for a short visit to Madrid. It is within walking distance to the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen museums. Also to Puerto del Sol, Plaza Mayor and the Palace. Before moving to MAD I used to stay at the Hotel Atlantico (Best Western) many times. Within your budget and clean and good location.

Things to do:
Palacio Real at Plaza Oriente is beautiful and still has lots of furniture and artowrk. Still used for state events.

Tapas - walk along C/ Cava Baja - behind the Plaza Mayor for lots of great little restaurants. Avoid the places right in the Plaza

Food -
Spanish: Taberna del Alabardero: Plaza Oriente. Great food - both meat and seafood, amazing jamon, large wine selection. Moderate price

Basque: Expensive
Goizeko Kabi c/ commandante zorita, 20
Fancy basque restaurant. amzing seafood and innovative desserts

Continental: Inexpensive
Bazaar - c/Libertad, 21 (behind the Chueca metro stop)
varied menu, fun atmosphere and cheap wuality food

The metro is a gret way to get around. Clean and safe. Buy a 10 trip ticket if you are there for more than 2 days and 2 people (you can share). This costs about 5,50E (price might have just gone up)

Let me know if you have any specific questions.
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Old Jul 28, 04, 5:44 am
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I'm in Madrid now and the taxi should only cost you 20 with baggage. I'm also PC and I usually stay at the Intercontinental or perhaps the Crown Plaza. You can get the I-C now for 99 with the European Sale. It's a great hotel, a short cheap cab ride away from the Prado. As an Ambassador member I get a free bottle of wine, water and fruit. There is also an HI that is supposed to be good, but I haven't tried it. The real nice hotels near the Prado cost a fortune, but if you can afford it the Westin Palace is very nice as is the Park Hyatt. The Melia Castilla is good, but it's a bit further away.
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Old Aug 1, 04, 11:59 am
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Thanks

Redhead and Stimpy:

Thanks for the advice. Sounds like a cab is the way to go to and from the airport (simplicity/conveniece is worth extra money to me). I'll check out your hotel recommendations as well.

--Jon
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Old Aug 7, 04, 4:10 pm
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Another hotel suggestion is Tryp Cibeles, which is part of the Sol Melia chain. This hotel is right on Gran Via. The hotel address says Mesonero Romanos, but that is because the actual hotel entrance is on a small street perpendicular to Gran Via. The rooms look out on Gran Via. The rooms are a good size, well appointed, very clean, large marble bathrooms, etc. And, yes, there is air conditioning. I absolutely needed it last September! All Sol Melia hotels have really good buffet breakfasts, and this hotel was no exception.

From MAD to the hotel I did use a shuttle service (similar to Super Shuttle in the USA). The name is Aero City, and their website is www.aerocity.com. I paid something like 17 EUR for the one-way. They were very safe and reliable.
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Old Sep 7, 04, 4:28 pm
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Post Spain Report

We had a great time in Madrid and hiking in the Pico's. Wound up going with Sobek's hotel recommendation, Hotel Gaudi, 9 Gran Via.

Pluses:

- Relatively large and very clean room for Spain.

- Real Queen/King size bed (not sure which, later on in the trip while in the Pico's we had many rooms with two adjoining twin beds mated into a king bed. No where near as nice).

- Nice marble bathroom.

- Even though the room wasn't truly non-smoking, it didn't have a smoking odor or residue.

- Good location very close to Peurta Del Sol. Easy walking distance to Plaza Mayor, the Prado, and the Thysssen museums.

- Good rate 69 Euros/night (didn't include breakfast, but it was very easy to get a reasonably priced breakfast at all of the nearby bars and cafeteria's)

Minuses:

- Spa in the basement was out order (cold water).

- Called in advance to see if they had a self service laundry. Was told they did, but turned out they only had a valet laundry. Found a laundromat not to far away and solved the laundry issue that way.

- Front Desk/Conceirge staff were reasonably friendly, but not to helpful on making recommendations on the area. E.g. when we're considering a side trip to Toledo they just wanted to push a bus tour instead of giving advice on how to get their by public transportation. Not a big deal, we found plenty of things to do on our own using Rick Steve's and Lonely Planet Guidebooks.


We used cabs to and from the airport. Cab driver on the way to the hotel was great and the car was spotless (19 Euro's including a generous tip). Cab driver back to the airpot was okay. Car was not in as good a condition and unlike the first cab, he didn't have all of the rate stickers posted inside the cab. He did have a meter, but it was an older one that didn't print receipts. Cabbie definitely did drive straight to the airport. Not sure, but thought he might haved added in a bit more than was permitted for supplements (added a bit over 5 Euro's to the meter total). Sure would have helped to have the rate stickers up :-) Even so the fare was only 21,40 Euro's. For us the fewer extra Euro's for direct cab service was well worth it.

By the way if you like walking, the walking tour described in the Lonely Planet Spain Guidebook was a lot of fun. We only did about half the tour and spent a full day doing it.

Thanks to everyone for their advice and it helped us to enjoy our trip more!


--Jon
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Old Sep 8, 04, 3:22 pm
  #7  

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Thanks for posting

It's always nice to hear how the advice we give is put to use. Thanks for the follow-up post.

You did not get ripped off on the taxi to the airport since there is a ~4 Euro or so (may vary by 0.50 Euro cents) tax for drop-offs at the airport, hence the increase over the meter rate.

No tips in cabs are necessary besides a round-up (if even that) on the meter, unless the driver is exceptionally helpful.

Glad you had a great trip. Spain is a fab country.
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