Tour Madrid with MadridMan! BACK TO
MadridMan.com!
Sponsored Links

Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 >
Topic Options
#5050 - 01/24/03 08:05 PM Warning: Madrid's HOSTAL PLAYA
DanielleD Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/24/03
Posts: 3
Loc: Arkansas
Hello, my name is Danielle and I am a 19 year old college student that just got back from Spain a week ago. I spent two and a half weeks there traveling around for pleasure; one and a half weeks of that time was spent in Madrid. I traveled with two friends. This is a warning against the hostel we almost stayed in, Hostal Playa, which seemed to be a good value for the money and a good location (only a block off Puerta del Sol). However, it was a nightmare.
My friends and I arrived in Spain at 9 a.m., exhausted. I had the flu and a 103 temperature. We arrived at Hostal Playa hoping to get our room and some time to rest. We arrived and a large, extremely rude woman greeted us. She asked our name, and after shuffling through her papers for all of 3 seconds, informed us we had no reservations. We thought that quite strange since we had an email telling us our reservation had been confirmed (we made the reservations online through the website). So we asked her what the email meant, then. For literally a half hour, she YELLED at us, telling us we had no reservation, that the credit card number was incorrect, and that we could not stay there. She never bothered to check any more papers for our reservation or even bother to be polite to us—she simply kept yelling these silly excuses that were completely irrational as to why we did not have a room there. Finally we couldn’t put up with it anymore and left, 3 teenagers in a strange country without anywhere to stay. As we were leaving, can you guess what she did? She laughed at our being frustrated and upset! She was a complete witch.
We were lucky enough to find a hostal with very friendly and laid back people at Hostal Fuente Sol. Unfortunatley, though, that was not our last encounter with Hostal Playa. Despite the fact that the Hostal Hag yelled at us for a half hour telling us the credit card number had been correct, she somehow was able to charge my friends’ credit card for a night. Isn’t that interesting. So not only was she rude, but also a thief. And the charge wasn’t even from Hostal Playa, but from Hostal Cruz Sol, a place we had never even been to or heard of, but that was owned by the same person as Hostal Playa. So we had to go to Visa to dispute the charge, and still don’t know if we’ll get our money back. What a nightmare. If you’re planning on visiting Madrid, I’m sure there are many good hostals, but avoid Hostal Playa and Cruz Sol at any cost. I even saw one of their rooms and it was NOT like it looked on the website. It was really small and trashy. Thank you for reading, I really hope this is helpful to some people.

Top
#5051 - 01/24/03 09:13 PM Re: Warning: Madrid's HOSTAL PLAYA
MadridMan Offline


Executive Member

Registered: 05/06/00
Posts: 10011
Loc: Madrid, Spain (was Columbus, O...
eek Hi DanielleD. Welcome to our message board.

So sorry to hear of your experience. While I'm not defending them - I can't since I wasn't there - but only trying to be objective....

Was this entire "exchange" done in English? Spanish? If Spanish, do you or someone in your group understand Spanish?

You said she swore the credit card number was incorrect on your reservation. Did you show her the credit card itself to compare it to that on the reservation?

You said she was rude (sounds like she was REALLY rude) and yelling. Coming from Arkansas, our great southern region in the USA, I imagine people in New York City might seem rude and loud too. Maybe I'm wrong. But really, in general, people in Spain SEEM loud and rude to many "Americans" while to another Spaniard they might seem completely normal. Many many Spaniards raise their voices and even appear to be argumentative or aggressive (by "American" standards, that is) when they're really not..

You arrived in Spain at 9:00am but what time did you arrive at Hostal Playa? Almost never will hostels allow you to go to your room before, say, 1:00pm because they haven't been cleaned yet. They'll usually allow you to drop your luggage there but ask you to return after 1pm.

I hope you can get your money back from the credit card company. It's my guess that when they were doing their paperwork for reservations they found yours and since you didn't stay there or "officially" cancel more than 24 hours in advance, they charged your charge card. That person "doing the books" probably wasn't the same woman whom gave you your "Nightmare In Madrid". It's my guess that they were full and/or overbooked - this happens sometimes - and this was her way of "telling" you that there was no room at the inn. rolleyes Not the most diplomatic or polite thing to do in this kind of SERVICE business where reputation means everything.

Regarding the room you saw, which you say was "small and trashy", was probably a typical sized room. MOST hostel rooms are what we "Americans" would consider small (and the bathrooms too), even smaller than a Motel6 room (budget hotel chain in the USA). The room probably WAS "trashy" because you arrived in the morning, either the guests were still "checked in" and had their stuff lying around and/or the room hadn't yet been cleaned since, it seems to mean, all room-cleaning takes place somewhere between 10:00am and 1:00pm so maybe you saw sheets on the floor and chairs pushed away from the desk or things like this. I've "toured" MANY a hostel room -- even rooms which were "rented" but empty at the time -- and it's amazing to me how people can "live" in this way with their junk strewn about, KNOWING the cleaning person has to work around all that stuff.

Again, while it may sound I'm defening them, I'm not. I wasn't there. But I've heard many many stories like the one you're telling us now and knowing Spain as well (not VERY VERY well, mind you) and having visited & toured probably 100 hostels in Spain. Comparing what I know about Spaniard to what I know of the pampered "American" psyche, which is generally operating on an unrealistically high-and-demanding level, I can see or guess what might reasons/explanations for unpleasant situations or misunderstandings.

This reminds me of the "American" who went to a $20/night hostel and wrote me an angry email degrading them because no one carried their suitcase up the 2 flights of stairs to their room. And also the other "American" who complained because the waiter never came back ("never" probably equals 20 minutes) after serving the meal and forced the patron to actually SHOUT across the room to get the waiter's attention. Imagine the horror and shame being forced upon the patron by having to raise his voice! eek

Spain is definitely different from our own culture and customs. THANK GOD! This is why I tell everyone who asks, 'Keep an open mind, don't expect "them" to be like you, don't expect to have access to all the things you're used to having, don't expect it to be the USA but in Spanish.' Most people don't get this point. They can't hear it. They think that since they are Spain's "guest", spending their hard-earned money, that the world should be their oyster and that oyster had better have a pearl in it too, served on a silver platter with clean, white gloves worn by an ever-bothersome waiter.

Man! HOW DID I GET ON THIS LONG-WINDED.... rolleyes Sorry about that.

Once again, I have no doubt that the woman claimed NOT to have your reservation. No telling why what happened did happen. You had a bad experience. I'd like to think it was an isolated incident. Maybe not. But if not, word will spread fast and you can be sure they'll be hurting for clients in the near future. Most all hostel owners/managers/clerks have been very very friendly. But once in a while, you get one which never smiles, seems to be bothered by your presence (remember, I'm "judging" the clerk on what I'm used to in the USA -- all sappy smiling sweet and offering to lick your shoes if they have dog-dirt on them). Hey, I consider myself an unusually friendly and respectful person upon meeting new people but I don't suger-coat things or be anything more than "authentic" either.

You know, I think I'll end this right here. Sorry you had a bad experience with Hostal Playa, DanielleD. Glad to know the place you eventually chose was pleasant and that this didn't jade your impression of Madrid or Spain.

The more we travel the more our minds become open. As we learn more about other cultures, we also learn more about ourselves and our own culture. Travel and the world becomes smaller. We can then begin to appreciate the differences in customs, culture, people, and politics. Travel with no preconceived notions about how things should be. This last part can be difficult with all the hype in the tourism world because MONEY is involved.

OKAY! ENOUGH ALREADY!! Have a good weekend, Danielle, D. Hope you return to Spain someday soon.

Saludos, MadridMan smile
_________________________
Visit BarcelonaMan.com for Barcelona information, Transportation, Lodging, & much MUCH more!

Curious about what could POSSIBLY be inside the brain of MadridMan? Visit MadridMan's Madrid Blog

Top
#5052 - 01/25/03 01:54 AM Re: Warning: Madrid's HOSTAL PLAYA
Shawn Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 07/28/00
Posts: 313
Loc: mentally - Spain, Physically -...
Danielle,

I'm sorry to hear of you troubles with the hostal. I have never had any problems traveling around Spain, perhaps I was just lucky, but more likely you were just sadly unlucky. I hope your bad experience dosen't deter you from visiting this enchanted land.

MadridMan,

I believe you have just set the modern word-count record with your last post. wink I used to type similar efforts when I was a young university student. As a matter of fact, I think I smelled cheap flat beer and cold pizza sauce while I was digesting your tome. Although, I hope I am mistaken and that your "great American novel" is not the result of Meisterbrau and Dominos, but instead the inspiration came from a nice bottle of Ribera del Duero acompanied by a suculent plate of lechazo. laugh laugh

Remember, friends don't let friends drink and post!!! :p

Top
#5053 - 01/25/03 08:29 AM Re: Warning: Madrid's HOSTAL PLAYA
MadridMan Offline


Executive Member

Registered: 05/06/00
Posts: 10011
Loc: Madrid, Spain (was Columbus, O...
Hahaha.. Shawn, somtimes such "novels" ARE a result of Meisterbrau and Dominos but not this time. smile It was a 1.5 liter of water, actually. I NEW there was something in the water here in Columbus, Ohio!!!

I just got a flash of "The Ugly American Traveler" (NOT referring to DanielleD above, though) and felt compelled to "word-up" (the textual version of "speak-up" -- I just "MADE-that-up").

Saludos, MadridMan
_________________________
Visit BarcelonaMan.com for Barcelona information, Transportation, Lodging, & much MUCH more!

Curious about what could POSSIBLY be inside the brain of MadridMan? Visit MadridMan's Madrid Blog

Top
#5054 - 01/25/03 10:35 AM Re: Warning: Madrid's HOSTAL PLAYA
sel Offline
Member

Registered: 03/27/02
Posts: 459
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
Obviously an effort to keep warm in this deep freeze!! laugh
_________________________
sel

Top
#5055 - 01/25/03 04:39 PM Re: Warning: Madrid's HOSTAL PLAYA
DanielleD Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/24/03
Posts: 3
Loc: Arkansas
Dear MadridMan,
I understand in your reply you were trying to be helpful, and so I thank you; however, you really did nothing more than play off the ‘spoiled American traveler’ stereotype at my expense. I understand many Americans are unreasonable in their actions during their stays in other countries, and this is embarrassing, I agree; however, I am nothing like this, and was hoping only to provide a service to fellow travelers that hope to have a pleasant experience in their stay in Madrid. It seems I was unclear in my previous post: hopefully this will help clear up some discrepancies.

Yes, all the interactions in the hostal and everywhere else were spoken in very clear Spanish, and with the utmost politeness. This same feeling was returned to me in most places I went. You may think Americans are so much different than Europeans, but I beg to differ. I really don’t feel selfish in expecting the decency I use when talking to others returned to me, and have learned from my travels that politeness and civility is something you can find everywhere, as is rudeness. I didn’t find your stereotype of Madrilenos as rude people to be true at all. I found the employee at Hostal Playa to be incredibly bad mannered, and I really don’t think just saying “oh, well she’s Spanish” is a good excuse, as I feel it is an unfair judgment.

Additionally, I don’t feel my commenting on their hostal rooms as small and dirty to be a ‘spoiled American’ comment in the least. On their web page, Hostal Playa advertises their rooms with a picture showing a spacious, clean room with a balcony and full bathroom. However, the room I saw was small, darkly lit from a tiny window, had dirty floors and no bathroom. I felt this was false advertisement and accordingly warned against the cleanliness of their rooms in my original post. Again, I don’t feel selfish in my expectations of a room: I don’t care how large the room is--I simply want a clean bed to crash in at the end of the day. We arrived at the hostal after lunch, which I would imagine was plenty of time to clean the rooms. Also, the one I saw was unoccupied (but I am assuming reserved).
I’m sorry my letter reminded you of such embarrassing letters such as the person who wanted an employee to carry their suitcases or the person who yelled at the waiter, because I am nothing like that. I wasn’t expecting a pearl, nor did I expect everyone to bow down to me because I was spending my ‘hard earned money.’ Like most Americans who travel I was there to see the sights and experience the culture with an open mind. I think your ‘American psyche’ is just a little too used to stereotyping Americans as the bad guys.

I also found your comment about my living in Arkansas to also be in poor taste, and again, stereotypical. I am attending school here but am actually from New Jersey, and so am quite used to loud, speedy talkers. However, there is a difference between speaking loudly and speaking rudely, and I am not stupid—I can tell the difference. I am quite sure that your being from the bustling metropolis of Columbus, Ohio much better prepared you for the city ways of Madrid than I was being from Arkansas.

I loved Spain, and hope to go back very soon. However, I will do more research about hostels and make my reservations by telephone, so as to be more confident in my reservation (because an email saying “Your Reservation has been confirmed” apparently is insufficient) and so as to avoid another incident such as that. Running a hostal IS a business where service is key, and this woman was rude, I don’t care what excuses are made for her. Especially in comparison to the other three hostals I stayed at in Madrid and Sevilla, Hostal Playa had an incredibly rude employee and had falsely advertised their rooms. This was my original point—I’m sorry you felt the need to express your ignorant views of me and the majority of the “closed” minds of American travelers in your reply. Please be more aware in the future of your views of Americans vs. Spaniards, as you obviously in your mind have greatly demonized one and exalted the other, when you yourself said that we must keep open minds and not expect anything.

Top
#5056 - 01/25/03 05:05 PM Re: Warning: Madrid's HOSTAL PLAYA
MadridMan Offline


Executive Member

Registered: 05/06/00
Posts: 10011
Loc: Madrid, Spain (was Columbus, O...
Quote:
I’m sorry you felt the need to express your ignorant views of me and the majority of the “closed” minds of American travelers in your reply. Please be more aware in the future of your views of Americans vs. Spaniards, as you obviously in your mind have greatly demonized one and exalted the other, when you yourself said that we must keep open minds and not expect anything.
And I'm sorry you chose to label my views as ignorant. frown Your opinions and points of view are heard and accepted, DanielleB. I'm not one to debate nor trade time-wasting barbs so I won't start now for readers' entertainment. Thanks again for sharing and hopefully you'll also tell us about the other parts of your Spain experience.

Saludos, MadridMan smile
_________________________
Visit BarcelonaMan.com for Barcelona information, Transportation, Lodging, & much MUCH more!

Curious about what could POSSIBLY be inside the brain of MadridMan? Visit MadridMan's Madrid Blog

Top
#5057 - 01/25/03 07:11 PM Re: Warning: Madrid's HOSTAL PLAYA
Mongo Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 03/17/01
Posts: 582
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Not wanting to enter the fray, wink I will say that I stayed there a year or so ago and I would not go back.

The rooms could have been top notch, with nice bathrooms, in room safe, TV's and an elevator.The maintainence was sub-par. My Pta. del Sol side window would not close, was cracked and the shutters didn't work, which made sleeping in late difficult. The advertised TV channels weren't available (I like to have CNN). The room that was confimed wasn't what I got.

I am long since used to the mostly indifferent service in Europe, but the staff there bordered on aggressive. I saw a similar incident with 2 women who had reservations and were turned away. Most hostals would try to get you placed somewhere else.

My current favorite, Hostal Adriano, is about the same price and far superior(sin ascensor!). In addition, the staff is execeptional.

One hint-I always carry a printed copy of the e-mail confirmation.

Top
#5058 - 01/25/03 07:19 PM Re: Warning: Madrid's HOSTAL PLAYA
MadridMan Offline


Executive Member

Registered: 05/06/00
Posts: 10011
Loc: Madrid, Spain (was Columbus, O...
No fray here, Mongo. Thanks very much for your feedback of Hostal Playa AND Hostal Adriano. smile

Saludos, MadridMan
_________________________
Visit BarcelonaMan.com for Barcelona information, Transportation, Lodging, & much MUCH more!

Curious about what could POSSIBLY be inside the brain of MadridMan? Visit MadridMan's Madrid Blog

Top
#5059 - 01/25/03 07:28 PM Re: Warning: Madrid's HOSTAL PLAYA
Roe Offline
Member

Registered: 10/17/01
Posts: 176
Loc: california
About the charge on your credit card. Don´t worry.

One time I tried to buy an airline ticket from an online travel agency in Spain ($700). I never got an email confirmation and saw that my account in the US didn´t have enough money to cover the ticket(my bank just allowed me to overdraft my accoutn and charge me a fat fee). I figured that it didn´t go through and just went and took cash out of my Spanish bank and bought a regular ticket at a travel agent. The ticket I bought online arrived the next day. I tried calling the online ticket seller and they said that they couldn´t do anything. So next I called my credit card (Visa) and told them that I wanted to contest the charge. After mailing a few forms back and forth, I got the money returned.

I was suprised that they returned the money. It does show that the credit card companies will help you in the case of a erroneous charge. Just call and tell them that you didn´t stay there and that you don´t agree with that charge.

Top
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 >

Moderator:  MadridMan 
Welcome to the ALL SPAIN Message Board!
MadridMan's Live WebCam
Shout Box

Newest Members
zurra, Computist, ChrisJL3471, bong leal70, traveler2020
7775 Registered Users
Today's Birthdays
JUAN CARLOS66, kendra3713
Who's Online
0 registered (), 949 Guests and 4 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
MadridMan.com Base Menu

Other Martin Media Websites: BarcelonaMan.com MadridMan.com Puerta del Sol Plaza Santa Ana Madrid Tours Madrid Apartments