Spain Guide


Madrid Accommodation

Madrid has more than 40,000 hotel beds ranging from the obscenely sumptuous to the cheap and cheerful. You can pamper yourself in unadulterated five star luxury or share a bathroom with fellow guests in an unpretentious pension.

Most hotel accommodation is to be found in the centre, around Puerta del Sol, and along the Gran Via.

Many of the most luxurious hotels are in the historic heart of the city at the lower end of Paseo de Castellana near the Prado Museum. At the northern end of this famous avenue you'll find the more modern, impersonal hotels geared to the needs of visiting business people with facilities such as conference rooms, Internet connections and secretarial services.

The districts of Malasaña and Chueca are the places to go for cheaper hostals and family run pensions.

There are also many hotels close to the airport, 13 kilometres north east of the city centre, and near the Atocha railway station at the southern end of the city.

Let's pretend we've got money to burn and are heading for one of Madrid's most exclusive addresses the regal Hotel Ritz which opened its doors in the presence of King Alfonso XIII in 1910. Surely one of Europe's most aristocratic hotels, the Ritz stands between the two beautiful plazas of La Lealtad and Neptuno, just above the Paseo del Prado.

The sumptuous individually designed rugs and carpets are so valuable that a full time repairer is employed to keep them in tip top condition.

Traditional English tea (with six different kinds of tea, scones and finger sandwiches!) is served each afternoon in the lobby and famous restaurateurs spend their days creating mouthwatering Spanish specialties and international dishes in the highly acclaimed Goya Restaurant.

Art lovers (wealthy ones!) might prefer the five star Hotel Villa Real, located opposite the Spanish parliament buildings at the heart of cultural Madrid. The hotel has its own art collection, including more than 60 Roman mosaics, and bedrooms are furnished with 18th and 19th century antiques. All bedrooms are on two levels, providing independent lounges, and have wooden floors, mahogany furniture and marble lined bathrooms.

Hotel Hesperia Madrid is renowned for its stunning interior décor and the excellence of its internationally acclaimed Santceloni Restaurant where one of Spain's leading chefs, Santi Santamaria, holds sway.

The capital has plenty of mid range three and four star hotels offering good facilities such as health and fitness centres, business suites and well equipped rooms with satellite TV, minibar and air conditioning (a godsend in summer).

If you're on a tight budget or if you simply prefer to "go native" try one of the many hostals or pensions which offer excellent value for money. The better hostals often have facilities equal to or surpassing those of many one and two star hotels. You'll often find en suite bathrooms and in house restaurants serving excellent home cooked local dishes.

Pensions (pensiones in Spanish) are more basic, family run guest houses where you'll probably have to share a bathroom and go out to eat. But they're usually dead cheap and you get the feeling of staying in a traditional family environment.

The city also has three youth hostels for students and backpackers where dormitory accommodation and breakfast is provided for as little as £10 a night. They get packed though so book in advance if possible.