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#5060 - 01/27/03 12:54 AM Re: Warning: Madrid's HOSTAL PLAYA
DanielleD Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/24/03
Posts: 3
Loc: Arkansas
Dear Roe,
Thank you for the peace of mind about the credit card! I haven't yet heard back from Visa, and even if the request is turned down it wasn't too much money lost, more like principle. But thanks for your message, it made me feel better.
Thank you also, Mongo! While I'm not glad to hear of their agressive employees and that other people have been treated in the same manner we were, I am glad to be backed up a little and to know we weren't the recieving end of some isolated incident or bad joke or something.
Thanks to both Roe and Mongo for sharing their helpful experiences!
smile Danielle

#5061 - 01/27/03 08:59 PM Re: Warning: Madrid's HOSTAL PLAYA
Carole Chiaro Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 01/29/01
Posts: 332
Loc: Danville, CA USA
You're right, Danielle. There's no excuse for rudeness, especially in a service-oriented industry. (But any rudeness.--read that period--infuriates me.)

I think that MadridMan intended to be helpful in his reply but it sounds like the place was a dump, staffed by a "bruja," and there's no defending that either. You're lucky that she didn't honor your reservation!!

And you will have no trouble with the credit card company. They are totally understanding in these situations. I would not want to see Hostal La Playa (or whoever they claim to be) get away with that charge. It is the principle here.

Spain IS a wonderful place but like everywhere, including Columbus, OH and Danville, CA, you can encounter someone who is less than kind/sympathetic/honest/etc. Fortunately, it did not jade your experience.

Thank you for your input. We all benefit by comments such as yours.


#5062 - 01/28/03 04:01 PM Re: Warning: Madrid's HOSTAL PLAYA
Antonio Offline

Executive Member

Registered: 05/07/00
Posts: 1176
Loc: Madrid (Spain)
[NOTE: I don't like to make comments on other hostels but I want to clarify some of the explanations Madridman has given.]

Unless they clearly stated that they would charge you in advance, I don't understand why they knew the credit card number was incorrect. How could they know it without actually trying to charge you?.

I asked my bank manager about he told me you have to ask your bank to refund that money. Then, Visa will request Hostal Cruz Sol to prove that the charge was authorised by you. As you didn't sign anything and you didn't even stayed at Cruz Sol, they shouldn't be able to keep the charge.

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.
Well, if the previous customers check out before, we clean the room and make the beds so that they can enter the room as soon as possible. I would never show an untidy room to a customer. Unless it is already clean and ready I tell them to wait.

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. Not the most diplomatic or polite thing to do in this kind of SERVICE business where reputation means everything.
As it was their fault, they should have tried to find you a place somewhere else. At least, this is what most hostels do. For us it's a lot easier to find a room since we know many places.
The best tips from your favourite hostal in Madrid.
Hostal Chelo at

#5063 - 01/28/03 11:41 PM Re: Warning: Madrid's HOSTAL PLAYA
lamar Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/14/00
Posts: 14
Loc: hillside, il usa
hi everybody!!!
sorry MM... you've really missed the boat on this one!! big time!!
First of all, let me tell you that i am american, born and raised, my father and grandparents are spaniards (mom is cuban) and my husband is a madrileno. i have many relatives still there and have spent nearly every summer of my existence in spain. also, my first language was spanish as that's what we speak at home, so i am completely fluent in both spanish and english. so, as you can see, i truly know spain and the spaniards VERY well, not just as a tourist. by the way, i've had my husband read this thread and he is in complete agreement with what i'm about to say.
there is absolutely NO EXCUSE for rudeness,ever, be it in spain, usa or china. what DanielleD experienced at Hostal Playa was inexcusable, boorish behavior, it doesn't matter what time she arrived or what language she spoke!! not to mention poor business practice, for God's sake!!
however, you keep talking about the " pampered american psyche" and how "spain is different" as if it were okay to expect less than civil behavior AND put up with it!! Absolutely not!!! i would much rather have a "sappy, smiling, sweet" clerk instead of a mean, grumpy one. let me give you an example of an incident that happened to me at a madrid hotel. on September 11, 2001, my 3 yo. daughter and i had the misfortune to be on an Iberia flight bound for
chicago from madrid. 5 hours into the flight, we were informed of 3 terrorist attacks in NYC and Wash.D.C. (thankfully, we were spared the scary specifics) and were returned to madrid. at Barajas, we were met by a representative of the US embassy who gave us all the horrific details and arranged for bus and hotel accomodations. upon arrival at the hotel, i asked the porter to please help me with my 2 suitcases, so i could carry my sleeping baby in one arm and try to put her in the stroller as well. he didn't seem too happy, but when he saw how heavy my bags were, he went ballistic,(must have been all that manchego cheese!) yelling and cursing and than he simply walked away and left me there trying to drag the bags,baby, etc.!! thank god for the 4 young college boys from texas who came to my rescue without me having to ask.
now, was i supposed to simply accept his behavior because Spain is different, or because i don't have an open mind or because i have a pampered american psyche??? NO, it was his job!!! i immediateley complained to the front desk and they apologized profusely, but the best part was the next day when the porter himself apologized for his behavior. he had obviously been reprimanded and i got to watch him grovel.
you know, my husband's family loves to visit us in chicago and they shop till they drop. they LOVE the attention they receive from the sales clerks and the fact that they don't have to worry about dirty looks and sullen stares if they decide not to buy something after trying on 10 items, and they love not waiting at the register while the clerks are chatting. they are the first ones to say that cusomer service in Spain is virtually non-existent, so does that mean that they have pampered spanish psyches, that they don't have open minds??
one more thing, POLITE spanish society would NEVER shout across a room to get the waiter's attention. My husband was mortified when he read that!!! Save the shouting for the bars, mesones, tascas, etc. NEVER do so in a proper restaurant bacause you will definitely be identified as "un guiri".
Yes, Spain is different from our culture and that's part of her "encanto" and why we love her dearly, however we must not be blinded by our passion and justify or accept unacceptable behavior.
i think i'll end it here. MM, you've done a great job with this site, keep up the good work!!

#5064 - 01/29/03 02:06 AM Re: Warning: Madrid's HOSTAL PLAYA
Mongo Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 03/17/01
Posts: 558
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
I can't understand why a business interested in making money and word of mouth would not follow up a wrong account number with an e-mail. I'm guessing a dud number is more likely a mistake than an attempt at fraud. It would make sense to check it out.

I am always surprised at tourist businesses that treat people as a one-off profit center. I love the look on peoples faces when they see me in their place for the second, third and fourth times! They know each time they see me, the spending begins!

Note to Antonio-
I have used the online system that some of the Madrid hostals (including Playa) provide for making reservations and it does warn that reservations will be cancelled if the number isn't valid. I know that the credit card machine we have in the place I work has a function for pre-authorizing charges. Whether they used that I don't know. I always confirm with a follow up e-mail to avoid this.

#5065 - 01/30/03 11:27 AM Re: Warning: Madrid's HOSTAL PLAYA
ERT Offline

Registered: 06/16/02
Posts: 51
I certainly believe that the recepcionist in Madrid's HOSTAL PLAYA is not a Spaniard but a Southamerican mestizo immigrant. I can hardly believe that a Spaniard yelled at you in bad manners or laughed at you in your frustation.

I really believe that many standards (in restaurants, hotels, hostals, ...) are lowering due to the immigrants that are occuping jobs in those areas. I personally have had some problems with some Southamerican waiters in some bars. They don't have the proper manners to do these kind of jobs but as the immigrants are willing to accept less salary than the Spaniards used to have the owners of the bars, hostels, restaurants prefer to contrat immigrants to Spaniards. I think this massive immigration in Spain and in specially in Madrid is going to cost us many problems, many more than what We really think. Just 3 or 4 years ago there weren't almost any immigrants. And in just 3 years We have like 600.000, 700.000 just in Madrid (like 15% of the total Madrid population). Many people from Madrid are upset about this issue but they don't want to say it in public.

#5066 - 01/30/03 02:17 PM Re: Warning: Madrid's HOSTAL PLAYA
nevado Offline

Registered: 06/11/00
Posts: 597
Are you for real, ERT?

#5067 - 01/30/03 04:08 PM Re: Warning: Madrid's HOSTAL PLAYA
replay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/00
Posts: 83
Loc: Madrid
Hello members,

This topic sounds to me a lot.

I was one week in Lisbon some months ago, apart from having a nice days in that lovely city, I could get a reservation in a good and cheap hotel, only 34,91 &#8364; / night including breakfast.

The reservation was made using, the web system informed me the next : "The reservation could not be done" . Bad I said, so I decided to reserve using the telephone of , finally I get a single room.

But once I was in the hotel I got very surprised because the hotel had three reservations of mine (yeah, all the web reservations were done without confirmation) and I had to cancel them.

My surprise came when I returned back to Madrid, I saw a 34,91 &#8364; charge in my Mastercard, so I inmediatly made a claim to and the Lisbon hotel, with no success. So I tried to talk with my bank, I gave to my bank the documents that demonstrates I payed the room in cash.

No problem, after two months the money was back in my credit card. Without your sign or electronic permission, nobody can charge your credit card.

#5068 - 01/30/03 08:33 PM Re: Warning: Madrid's HOSTAL PLAYA
miche_dup1 Offline

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 181
I know of a case, where a South American engineer went to Madrid and found a job as a mechanic. Having proved himself by improving the company's turnover, the Spanish boss didn't know what he could do to keep this innovative, hard working and trustworthy employee sweet, indeed, he considered his new employee as the bee's knees. So he gave him a large salary, apartment, (so he could bring his wife, sons and grandson over), living costs and vehicle to use as he so wished.
I hope someone is around to do the Heimlich manoeuvre on ERT. rolleyes

#5069 - 02/01/03 02:38 PM Re: Warning: Madrid's HOSTAL PLAYA
Booklady Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 08/19/01
Posts: 1664
Loc: U.S.A.
ERT writes:
I certainly believe that the recepcionist in Madrid's HOSTAL PLAYA is not a Spaniard but a Southamerican mestizo immigrant. I can hardly believe that a Spaniard yelled at you in bad manners or laughed at you in your frustation.

You are joking with us, right? frown

Or, do you personally know this large woman that was rude to DanielleD and her friends? Were you there? eek

If not, don't you think that this is a little implausible and far fetched? In what rational factors do you base your belief that the woman is as you described?

Granted I would agree that on the whole, Spaniards are generally polite people. They are a wonderful, and patient people. But even polite people have some bad days, when they are rude, and perhaps vent their distress, like most people in the planet? I personnally witnessed two ladies who worked at the Suecia being rude to each other, and these ladies were both white Madrileñas.

Do you think that race determines whether a person is rude or not? I have seen a lot of mean, rude, and bad white people, take Fidel Castro for example (his family is from El Ferrol, Spain btw)!

Do you think that national status determines whether a person is rude or not? Aren't there rude people in the other continents?

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
--St. Augustine (354-430)

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