Instead of going with the entire school, this time we were just three of us. Three crazy architects eager to explore every bit of Madrid's history, heritage, culture, and people.
We planned our trip knowing absolutely nothing about the city, its highlights and hotspots. I guess we were really lucky with our hotel choice since it was at the best location we would ever hope for. Super central; right at the core of, or nearby pretty much everything that is going on around the city. Just a couple of minutes’ walk from Plaza del Sol and Grand Via, we were able to walk to all the attractions, sights, and architectural monuments that we wanted, as well as do some serious shopping. When we wanted to catch a bus or the train to Toledo or Escorial, there wasn’t any easier way, than by taking the metro from Plaza del Sol and after five or ten minutes we were standing at another platform with the tickets on hand waiting for our next connection. There were also some very suitable bus lines that stopped nearby and we used to return to our hotel after a long and hot day of walking and sightseeing. The express bus line from the airport to the centre of the city also has a stop within a walkable range from the hotel. The only problem with that particular bus stop though, is that it has a really beautiful sign that is so taken care of that we couldn’t find it. Fortunately, a very kind bus driver stopped his full of passengers bus and stepped down to show us were we should go to catch the one that we wanted.
Anyway, it was quite tricky to find the hotel, since the road signs are placed at such spots that it is really hard for a newcomer to find the one he is looking for. After a small circle we finally found it. It occupies two floors of an old building, but the interior is totally renovated, in order to provide a vivid and relaxing environment, perfect for a short stay like ours.
The people at the reception we very kind, welcoming, and eager to help us with any question we had. There was absolutely no communication problem and they provided us with more than adequate information for all the short trips that we wanted to make, like train timetables and tourist passes that could help us retain our travel expenses at a logical level.
The room was perfect for three young people. It was furnished with three single beds, which had enough free room under them for our suitcases. The colours of the walls were really modern and relaxing, making it nothing but an interesting place to stay. There was also a computer available at every room, which we could use for internet browsing, a small fridge full with bottles of water, and individual night tables with drawers to put some things, like our cameras. The air-conditioning unit was working perfectly and we could always adjust it to our desirable temperature, since the nights were nearly as hot as the days and we couldn’t keep the window open, since the street under our room was full of little cafes and restaurants, but with the window closed and the air-conditioning on we had some very comfortable and calm sleeps. The bathroom, even though a bit small, was fantastic. All of the equipment was new and modern and taking a shower was a great experience.
The housekeeping service surprised us in a very positive way. We had new bed linen, towels, shampoo, body wash, soaps, and toothbrushes every day. Apparently, we didn’t have to bring anything with us, since the hotel services provided us with anything we would need.
We hadn’t have any breakfast option included in our reservation, but there wasn’t really any need for it, since the area is full of cafes and small pastry and ice-cream shops that could provide us with anything we would need to start the day. We also took the chance to dine at a few of the restaurants in the area, luckily not the touristy ones, which were excellent and provided a three course meal at very reasonable prices. Two of them were “La Catedral” and “Le Botin”, the latter being the oldest restaurant in the world. Around the Plaza Santa Anna, a few steps away, there are also some lovely bars were one could go to enjoy a glass of exquisite local wine.
All in all, our five days in Madrid went by excellently. We had a chance to experience both the day and nightlife of that city, and our choice of this hotel couldn’t be better. It was exactly what we were looking for and more. A quite, clean, and friendly place to stay at the heart of the city.
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