This is my second time round in Madrid and both experiences have been different which I think is partly to do with the hotel locations and the people I am traveling with. The first time we visited our hotel was in the heart of the tourist area which was constantly filled with people (at the end of this blog is the link to my other Madrid review with more shopping and sightseeing attractions). This time around we were in a quieter part of town located around the high end fashion shops.
We stayed at Hotel Melia Galgos - Madrid and my review of the hotel is at the end of this blog.
The location of the hotel is fine if you are wanting to shop for more high end fashion labels such at LV, Gucci, Prada, Dior etc etc etc....or if you want to sit down and enjoy a coffee watching the world go by. It's not however anywhere near the sights that most tourist visit when coming to Madrid. That being said it's only a short taxi ride away which will cost you about 8euros or if you are like me and like to walk and soak up the vibe of the city, then it's about a 45 min walk to the heart of the tourist area. Note that Sunday most of the shops are closed along this street so if you are planning a high end shop then Sunday isn't your day to shop!
For snacks and water there is a supermarket just around the corner that’s a 1 minute walk making it ultra-convenient in that aspect (note: they are not open on Sundays)
If you are like me and into eating organic and healthy food there is a Le Pain that's a 15 min walk down main shopping strip heading towards the tourist area. The staff are great, the food is fantastic and the ambiance there is really welcoming.
Is a pressed juice bar around the corner from the hotel for all your juicing needs. The staff are friendly and can help you translate as all the wording is in Spanish (of course since you are in Spain!).
I went and checked it out and as you can see I now know why people say get there early! It’s packed and I mean packed - there are people everywhere. There’s a variety of things on offer from clothes, kid’s toys, jewelry and other things. It all depends on what you are looking for. The surrounding streets have more antique style shops which are open on Sunday as well and there are people selling their wares in between the shops. It's more like what I would call trash and treasure, where someone’s trash is another person's treasure, is the only way I can describe it.
Other things to see and do and for other shopping locations please see my other review.
Would I recommend staying at this hotel? Well no not really. Why? It's more like a nightclub than a hotel. They insist on playing dance/house/nightclub music from 7am in the morning all the way through to 1am and all you hear is boom boom boom as the base pumps through the building. If you get allocated a room on the first floor then beware, they will only allow you to sleep between 1am to 7am in peace and quiet.
I called reception and then I went and spoke to reception and they say there is nothing they can do about the music as management has said they are not allowed to turn it down?!? I pointed out the fact that a hotel is designed for sleeping however they insisted there was nothing that could be done about the music and they can't turn the volume down as the 'controls' for the music are not on site.
They offered to upgrade us to the 6th floor however, I said no as I didn't think it was fair they inconvenience me and make me move because management insist on using this building more like a nightclub than a hotel. We were only there for 2 nights and that was enough!
For the record, this issue has been raised several times from various different people and still management think they know best! My husband's company was holding meetings there and they were all going insane sitting in the meeting rooms listening to the base override their discussions. Again this was raised with the staff who again said there is nothing that can be done about it. It was a good thing we only stayed there for two nights.
With all the music aside, the staff were friendly, the rooms are clean and a decent size. The beds are not that comfortable and the rooms are really hot! It's a Europe thing, in winter they turn off the aircons in some hotels in the rooms because it's already cold outside. The problem with this is the rooms get stuffy and hot during the night so I suggest opening a window for some fresh cold air to allow the room to cool off and freshen up.
My overview of Madrid
My view of Madrid, unfortunately, is tainted someone because it’s difficult not to compare it with Barcelona (which is one of my favourite cities!). Whereas I know other people who prefer Madrid. It’s the same as Australians comparing Melbourne to Sydney as it all depends on what you are looking for.
Madrid is easier to get around and there are less tourists there making it easier to see all the sights and eat out.
Note: remember to watch your valuables there are pick pockets around (just like in Barcelona) but with that being said the city is filled with really friendly Spaniards who are welcoming and helpful.
Until next time I travel, I see, I share... This is Character 32 doing her best to help you!