You cannot think of a better-located budget accomodation than Hostal Cervantes on Calle Cervantes in Madrid. It is so conveniently located, indeed, that even though this was my first visit to Madrid, I got into the express bus from the airport to the city centre, got down at Plaza Cibelez, and walked about 8 minutes to the Hostal, and I had to ask people about the way only twice during those 8 minutes. The Museo Prado is a mere 5 minutes' walk from the Hostal, the Thyssen Bornemisza museum 4 minutes, the Atocha train station is about 10 minutes, and so is the Reina Sofia museum. I walked to Plaza Sol and Plaza Santa Ana, to the Retiro and the Botanical Gardens and also down Calle Alcala to the museum of Belles Artes, where there is a marvellous set of Goyas I had never seen before. It is a homely place run by a friendly family, and Fabio, who looks after most things, represents the true Spanish spirit of cheerful helpfulness, ready with a smile, and willing to help you out with your questions about everything. He had set one room aside for me, but when he saw I was not very impressed by its looks, immediately offered me another, larger room about which I had no complaints whatsoever. The rooms are kept clean, and is the bathroom, and since Fabio provides you with the key to the main door as well as the password to the groundfloor entrance, you go out and come in when you choose, without disturbing others. I would not recommend that you have breakfast there - Fabio is quite flexible about it - because the tie-up for breakfast is with a Tapas Bar next door where you are given a rather flimsy breakfast of a cup of coffee and a croissant. But there are restaurants and bars and cafes and pubs of all kinds around the Hostal, so there is no dearth of choices as regards eating and drinking. For the price that it charges, you would not get very many places as good as Hostal Cervantes on Calle Cervantes, and for sheer location, it has to be among the best. Next time in Madrid I would certainly like to stay here again.
Anjan Basu, Bangalore, India. Travelled solo between November 6 & 9, 2013
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