Where can I stay in Madrid and Barcelona?
September 23, 2011 6:32 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to Spain in November and desperately need hotel suggestions!

Ok I'm going to Spain in November for a week. The plan is to stay in Madrid for a few days and then Barcelona for a few days. I know absolutely nothing about Spain! I'm going to read through all the great questions already posted for restaurant and activity suggestions but... any advice on hotels?

I don't need anything fancy - just clean and quiet. I really don't want to go the hostel route, although I guess I will if I absolutely have to. Ideally a hotel would be $150 a night or less. Is that unreasonable?

I will have tons more questions for you in the future, but lets figure this one out first!
posted by silverstatue to Travel & Transportation around Spain (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you tried TripAdvisor? Here's Madrid.

In Madrid, specifically, I'd recommend a first-timer to stay in the Puerta del Sol area.
posted by vacapinta at 6:36 AM on September 23, 2011

When I've visited Barcelona, we've mostly rented apartments, which is the way to go if there's a few of you, but might not work if you are on your own.

The one time we stayed in a hotel, it was the Ayre Hotel Gran Vía, which we enjoyed. It meets your criteria including price, and is central (at the foot of Montjuic and a short Metro ride to the Sagradia Familia, Ramblas, etc).
posted by Infinite Jest at 6:48 AM on September 23, 2011

Specifically, last time I stayed at the Hotel Victoria 4 which I believe meets your criteria. Basic, central, about 100 euros a night.
posted by vacapinta at 6:54 AM on September 23, 2011

In Barcelona, I have stayed in the Hotel Colon, which is smack in the middle of the Barri Gotic, directly across from the cathedral, in the oldest part of Barcelona. Looks like their November rates are about 100 Euros per night. It's a few minutes' walk from the main shopping/walking street, Las Ramblas. It's a pretty hotel - make sure you get a room with a view of the cathedral and on Sundays, you can watch the locals dance in the cathedral square.
posted by Atrahasis at 7:01 AM on September 23, 2011

We stayed at Hotel Ganivet at Toledo, 111-113 in Madrid in Spring of 2010 and it was 59 Euro per night. It was clean, friendly and only two blocks to the Metro.
posted by soelo at 7:52 AM on September 23, 2011

You should look at Airbnb
posted by adamvasco at 8:20 AM on September 23, 2011

I went to Madrid and Barcelona earlier this year. In Madrid, we stayed at the Vincci Soho, located in the Huerta neighborhood, about midway between the Prado museum and the Plaza Mayor (basically in the heart of downtown); it's also pretty close to Atocha station and a number of metro stops. I think it went for about $150 a night, and was very nice, although since the hotel was created out of a bunch of older buildings, the rooms aren't really big. We were so close to everything we wanted to see that we didn't even bother with taking the metro to anything. Lots of restaurants, nightlife, and shops in the area, including a nice little pastry shop down the street. Also down the street is the Scientology center for Madrid, which had people handing out pamphlets at one point, but they weren't too bad.

In Barcelona, we stayed at the Barcelo Sants hotel, which is perched atop the Sants train station, which also has a couple metro lines running through it. Although the hotel is fairly close to the arts complex and fair center at the foot of Montjuic (including the magic fountain), it's a bit of a hike to get to the old section of town. Not a big deal though, because the Barcelona metro system is awesome, with spotless trains running every 2-5 minutes. Generally, it works pretty similar to the NYC subway system - you can get a multi-day card out of the machines in the stations. The hotel itself has taken an interesting approach to interior decoration - it's done up in a "2001" retro-futuristic style to make it like you're staying in a spaceship (it's not taken to extremes, but your keycard is labeled "Boarding Pass"). The train station below the hotel is sort of like Penn Station - lots of tourist service booths, ATMs, shops, cafes, a McDonalds, bookstores, and a convenience store that's a bit better stocked than your standard 7-11. There's a string of decent Middle Eastern restaurants in the neighborhood a block or two to the west. If you like Barcelo's thing, they're an international hotel chain, and probably have locations in Madrid as well, although I think the Barcelona one is the only spaceship.

Note that hotels in Spain (maybe just newer ones, but everyplace we stayed in Spain was like this) require you to put your keycard in a little slot by the door to activate the electricity in the room.
posted by LionIndex at 9:12 AM on September 23, 2011

Also: generally your price range allows for quite a nice hotel in Spain. We did a trip through most of the southern 2/3s of the country, and were able to stay at nice, decently located, 4-star hotels at every location for about $100 a night. Madrid and Barcelona were the only places we spent much more than that.
posted by LionIndex at 9:15 AM on September 23, 2011

I really don't want to go the hostel route, although I guess I will if I absolutely have to.

Not to derail, but may I ask why you are reluctant? Your profile page suggests you live in the USA, and in North America, knowledge of hostels is minimal and apparently heavily coloured by a series of torture porn movies.

Hostels in Europe have a much higher profile, and while I cannot speak for Barcelona and Madrid in particular (save to say that they both have quite a few hostels), generally private rooms are available with all the usual hotel fixings -- many hostels are converted hotels -- at a much lower price than hotels. Bear in mind that the image people have seems to be huge, shambolic dorms with dozens of beds, but that is a holdover from a generation ago. The shift in hostel accommodation was global, post baby-boomer. Boomers grew up with many siblings in small houses and often shared a room with yea many brothers and sisters while many Gen-X and later kids had their own room from childhood; consequently, guests these days have a much higher demand for private rooms, which hostels now provide. Shared rooms still exist, but I rarely see one larger than four beds these days.

As I say, I cannot speak for Spain, but just now I checked a half dozen cities where I have stayed in both hotels and hostels, and in every place I looked I can find private rooms with queen-sized beds, ensuite washrooms and usually TVs in the room in both places, but at about 60% of the cost in the hostels. I picked a few dates at random for Barcelona and Madrid and found private rooms in the 60-70 euro range (about $85 to $100 US). The difference in price comes because in some countries (yours and mine, for instance) the hostelling association is a not-for-profit, while in others (much of Europe) it is subsidized by the government.

The first trip I took overseas, I was staying in hotels the whole way until I realized I was paying twice as much for nothing at all. I bring this up just because you could make your trip last about 50% longer.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:17 AM on September 23, 2011

The last time I went to Spain, I used http://www.goletworld.com/en/ and had a very good experience. The site is basically people renting out apartments (and other properties) to tourists, business folks, etc. You'll have more room than a hotel, and a place to cook. (If that's important to you.) I ended up staying three nights for 250 euro total.
posted by lholladay at 9:23 AM on September 23, 2011

We were completely happy with Hotel Barcelona Universal both the location and everything about it. No complaints at all.
posted by haveanicesummer at 10:42 AM on September 23, 2011

Response by poster: Ricochet, I've had bad experiences in hostels before (nothing horror-movie worthy! just crowded and noisy and annoying) so I'd prefer to stay in a hotel. But if anyone can recommend a truly fantastic hostel that's quiet and clean and safe, then I would consider it.

Thanks for all the suggestions so far, everyone!
posted by silverstatue at 10:50 AM on September 23, 2011

I just posted in another travel thread about couchsurfing.org. Look into it. I have found that it's way more fun to do that than to stay in a hotel (and I have stayed in a billion swank hotels). Via CS, I've had adventures that would not have been possible had I just been ensconced in some hotel or other. You just have to choose your host wisely of course.
posted by telomere at 12:37 PM on September 23, 2011

Best answer: I think the Fashion House in Barcelona would suit you very well. It's central, reasonably priced, comfortable, quiet, and clean; the staff are friendly and helpful, and it's practically on top of a metro stop.

Most of the rooms have only a sink in them, and a shared bathroom down the hall. I personally do not mind this set-up, but YMMV. The shared bathrooms are clean and there always seems to be at least one available.

There is one suite that costs more; it's still very reasonable and has its own private bathroom.

We recommended it to a friend recently, and she had a very good experience.

Fashion House website
Trip Advisor page
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:35 PM on September 23, 2011

A late suggestion, but the 5 Rooms in Barcelona (Flash site, sorry) is the nicest hotel, both in terms of the people who run it and the building itself, I've ever stayed in. Peaceful, comfortable, very modern, and situated at the dead centre of the city.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 10:38 AM on September 24, 2011

We loved Hesperia Ramblas in Barcelona. A block off the Ramblas, yet totally quiet, in the back of the Boqueria, very modern ... and inexpensive. Note that we are low-maintenance; can't speak to a lot of amenities or their breakfast or anything, although God knows you should just be getting yourself ham on a baguette every morning.
posted by troywestfield at 6:37 AM on September 25, 2011

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