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Where to Stay in Madrid
Hotels can be found throughout virtually all areas of Madrid, even those that are largely residential. Most neighborhoods feature at least a small variety of accommodation types and price levels, with a few of the most tourist-friendly districts offering numerous options. When you consider this in combination with the city’s efficient and far-reaching metro system, you can easily book rooms wherever you can find the best cheap hotel deals in Madrid and still enjoy an action-packed and hassle-free vacation.
But if you want to stay centrally located to the most memorable historic districts and popular tourist destinations, start your hotel search in the Gran Via neighborhood, named after the area’s central thoroughfare. This is one of Madrid’s densest hotel districts and is full of restaurants, upscale shops, classic architecture and nearby points of interest like Puerta del Sol. You’ll find accommodations of every type and price, but the neighborhood can be crowded and noisy. For more tranquil surroundings not far from the tourist areas, look into the Chamberi neighborhood, where the average hotel is only slightly more expensive and upscale.
Madrid Hotel Tips
While some international locales make it a challenge to find a hotel that suits your liking, Madrid allows you to take your pick. You’re never far from superb luxury accommodations, particularly in areas like Salamanca and Paseo del Prado, but you can just as easily find modest discount rooms that are perfectly comfortable, if a little light on amenities. Spain mandates its own strictly regulated five-star rating system for all accommodations, so you can book with confidence.
Many of Madrid’s hotels are independent and full of character, though there are plenty of modern hotels with nondescript décor. Check closely before you book if you demand a hotel experience that reflects the personality of the neighborhood in which you’re staying.
Madrid Hotel Recommendations
Hotels were not common in Madrid until the 1900s, so you won’t be able to stay in as historical of accommodations as is possible in other parts of Europe. But if you want to get as close as possible to Old World Spain, consider booking a room at the Hotel Ritz Madrid, which opened in 1910. Considered by many authorities to be one of the finest hotels in the world, the Hotel Ritz has somehow retained the storied luxury of its original design while offering all of the modern accommodations and amenities expected of today’s five-star resorts. The hotel does maintain a semi-formal dress code and is among the most expensive in Madrid, but luxury-minded travelers must consider it among their options.
A more thoroughly modern and somewhat more affordable approach to luxury is offered at Hesperia Madrid, where the rooms are smaller but no less opulent. Known throughout Spain for its impeccable service and fine dining options, Hesperia Madrid is a contender with Hotel Ritz for the best in town depending on your style preference; while the Ritz décor is Spanish traditional, Hesperia Madrid has adopted a sleek and modern Japanese theme.
Residencia El Viso, in the Chamartin neighborhood, is much more affordable than the top luxury hotels but offers plush accommodations and top-notch service. With only 12 units, this option gives you the ambiance and personal attention of a B&B without the need to sacrifice the privacy and convenience of a hotel. All units have their own private baths, and guests congregate on a landscaped patio where breakfast and lunch are served daily.
If you’re looking for something exceptionally affordable, the Hostal la Macarena is another small property with compact yet well-kept rooms. Near the bustling Plaza Mayor, you’ll have a hard time finding a more convenient location at such discounted rates.
With a good pair of walking shoes, a Metro de Madrid fare card and free maps of the metro rail and bus systems, you can get anywhere in the city quickly, cheaply and easily. The rail system is extensive, reaching all over the metropolitan area, and the bus lines travel to virtually all other notable spots. If you plan on taking the light rail frequently, consider booking a hotel near Puerta del Sol, as this is where all lines converge. You can even take the metro to your destination neighborhood from Barajas Airport after your flight to Madrid touches down. Utilize the buses whenever they provide a more direct route to your destination, because they get to travel in dedicated lanes, allowing them to bypass the traffic that often stymies bus service in the U.S. Fares are cheap but based on zones of travel rather than flat rates; complete fare information can be found on the Metro de Madrid website or at any transit station.
Taxis are easy to hail on the street or pick up from taxi stands throughout the city, and their rates are comparable with most major U.S. cities. Traffic throughout Madrid is notoriously heavy, however, so it’s best to use taxis only when the metro is closed for the evening or would otherwise be impractical. Because of Madrid’s traffic patterns, as well as its hard-to-find and premium-priced parking, renting a vehicle is generally not recommended for most travelers.
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