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#7163 - 07/29/04 01:28 PM Re: Madrid:info on Hostal Bianco II and suggestions
breezyhill Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/17/04
Posts: 1
Loc: Accord, New York
I'd just like to give a plug for Hostal Gonzalo on Calle Cervantes. I stayed there in late June and mid-July with a group of 6 students. It's a great location (near Huertas and the Prado), clean, helpful to everyone - just a nice place to stay.
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jsullivan

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#7164 - 08/26/04 06:40 AM Re: Madrid:info on Hostal Bianco II and suggestions
pablo80 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/30/04
Posts: 4
Loc: padova - Italy
I had in mind to write my own review but I realized that Sheryl described every aspect of the hostel so well that I can only recommend hostal Bianco II to everyone who planned to go to Madrid and is searching for a clean, modern, cheap(we payed 55 per night for a triple!!), spacious, central accomodation.. I only add that maybe if you arrive after dusk(like I did), calle de Echegaray could seem a little bit spooky.. just entering the hostel(one of the best I've been sleeping in) and going 'till the end of the street(it's incredibly full of bars, pubs, discopub and not far from Plaza de santa Ana, a really nice and lively square, crowded every night) will probably change your mind!!!
Thanx, Ciao
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Sono lunatico a pratico dove c...o mi pare!

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#7165 - 08/29/04 02:44 PM Re: Madrid:info on Hostal Bianco II and suggestions
Starprotected Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 28
Loc: Sarasota Florida
Hi Pablo
Thanks for your post. I will be there in October, but I am just a little confused on your post. You mentioned that Calle de Echegary is a little spooky, but then you go on to say that it has a lot of bars and is always crowded? Maybe I am reading it wrong. Please paint me a picture of this street. Thanks

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#7166 - 08/29/04 02:58 PM Re: Madrid:info on Hostal Bianco II and suggestions
robbieroy Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Scotland
Hi Starprotected
You will see from a previous post of mine that I will be staying at Bianco II in October as well. I'll be there from 17th - 20th October. If you are there, look out for me (the intermediate level Spanish spoken with a Scottish accent will be a give away eek )
I've not seen any other reports expressing concern about the Calle de Echegaray - most indicate it is quite busy with a few bars and other hostales/hoteles. I don't think you need be concerned.
If our dates do not coincide, have a great time.
Robbieroy
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RR


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#7167 - 08/31/04 06:48 AM Re: Madrid:info on Hostal Bianco II and suggestions
Starprotected Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 28
Loc: Sarasota Florida
Hi Robbieroy
I will be there from the 4th to the 7th. Sorry I will not get a chance to catch up with you. Enjoy and have a wonderful time. laugh

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#7168 - 09/01/04 11:39 AM Re: Madrid:info on Hostal Bianco II and suggestions
pablo80 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/30/04
Posts: 4
Loc: padova - Italy
DOn't worry Starprotected!
Yes, I said that the street could seem a little bit spooky, and that was actually my first impression when I turned from Calle San Jeronimo, which is much wider and lightened, to Echegaray.
If you're wondering about the security of the place as I meant we had no problems at all!
Bye
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Sono lunatico a pratico dove c...o mi pare!

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#7169 - 09/06/04 02:53 PM Re: Madrid:info on Hostal Bianco II and suggestions
robbieroy Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Scotland
Hi pablo80
Did you venture into any of the bars in Calle de Echegaray. Apparently there are one or two Flamenco bars there.
Would anyone who has been to Hostal Bianco II care to share any information on the bars/cafes/restaurants in Calle de Echegaray?
I would appreciate the information since I will be heading there on October.
In anticipation
Robbieroy
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RR


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#7170 - 10/13/04 04:07 PM Re: Madrid:info on Hostal Bianco II and suggestions
robbieroy Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Scotland
Well, the time has finally come to head off down to Malaga tomorrow (14th Oct) and then on to Madrid by train on Sunday.
As indicated in my previous posts in this thread, this will be my first visit to Madrid and I will be staying in the Hostal Bianco II in Calle de Echegaray. I have to say that I am looking forward to seeing the Tenis Masters de Madrid on Monday and Tuesday.
If any MMers are going to be in Bianco II, please say "Hola" to me.
I will give a report on the hostal and Calle de Echegaray on my return.
Robbieroy
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RR


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#7171 - 10/24/04 08:51 AM Re: Madrid:info on Hostal Bianco II and suggestions
robbieroy Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Scotland
As promised, here is my review of the Hostal Bianco II in Calle de Echegaray, Madrid, plus one or two other things.

If anyone intends to travel from the south of Spain (Costa del Sol) to Madrid and speed is not important, then I would suggest taking the train. I took the Talgo 200 from Malaga to Madrid (Atocha Renfe). The journey lasts approximately 4.5 hours, and costs 86 Euros return in Tourista (second) class, this included return transfer on the local Cercania train Fuengirola to Malaga. The train is very comfortable, with video in all the carriages and a cafeteria. The changing scenery is well worth seeing and part of the reason why I wanted to travel by train to Madrid. The Malaga to Cordoba leg is particularly spectacular with high mountains and lakes. I was especially impressed by the views near the village of El Chorro, which is in the mountains to the north west of Malaga. From the train, I saw a venta (typical roadside cafe) in El Chorro which had magnificent views of the mountains and a lake. On my next visit to the Malaga area, I intend to visit El Chorro for some tapas and to enjoy the magnificent view. Interestingly, in Cordoba, they change gauges so that the train can run on the AVE high-speed line from Cordoba to Madrid. Heading out of Cordoba, the scenery continues to be spectacular, with lots of mountain tunnels and, eventually giving way to acre upon acre of olive groves. Nearer Madrid, the scenery takes on a more general farmland feel but with less greenness and more red soil.

On arrival at Atocha ( RENFE ) Madrid, I took the Metro line (Line 1 direction Puerta del Castella) to Sol. This is a short journey of only 3 intermediate stops (Atocha RENFE > Atocha > Anton Martin > Tirso de Molina > Sol. I used the Metro a fair bit to go and see the Tennis Masters event at the Rockodromo in the Recintal Ferial of the Casa de Campo and would thoroughly recommend the purchase of a 10-journey Metrobus ticket. At just over 5 Euros, it is well worth it.

It is just a 5 or 6 minute walk from Puerta del Sol to the Hostal Bianco II.
I arrived at about 2.00pm on a Sunday afternoon. The reception was manned and after a short check in was given my set of three keys (external street door, internal hostal door and room door) and shown my room. For those of you who know the hostal, it was room 21, the one immediately on the left as you enter the hostal. I was very disappointed when I first saw it, as it was VERY small. Another disadvantage was that it had no window. However, it was clean and it did have an overhead fan, heating and private shower and toilet facilities, as well as a television. Some other friends were staying in the hostal at the same time. They had reported that on Friday and Saturday nights there a lot of noise from outside on Calle de Echegaray where there a several bars and clubs. A colleague had room 21 on those two nights and reported a lot of noise from the hostal door opening and closing, so much so that he asked to move rooms (hence I got his room!).
I should report that I was staying these on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights and had no problem with noise from the internal hostal door. The room was cleaned daily and used towels were replaced. The towels were a bit threadbare. Despite this, I quite enjoyed my stay. The hostal is in a great location for the centre of Madrid with many famous spots such as Sol and Plaza Mayor within a short walking distance. They did give the option of swapping rooms for the last night when another one became free, but since I had experienced no problems and had settled in, I kept the same room. The staff are friendly and helpful. Angel, the receptionist who was there most of the time was particularly helpful when a young American guest slipped and cut her head. He quickly telephoned for an ambulance to take her to the nearest hospital. I helped with a bit of translation and when I spoke to the American couple next day, they said they were will satisfied with the medical treatment that the young lady had received (it cost them $100 they told me).

There are some eating places on Calle de Echegaray itself and many more in the surrounding warren of streets. It is worth taking some time to walk around and find out what is there.
One particular favourite was a bar called Los Gabrieles, a few doors down from the hostal. As others have reported elsewhere in this forum, it is fabulously decked out in tiles depicting Andalucian scenes and flamenco music in playing most of the time. It has a certain ambience about it. If you are having a beer, it is fairly cheep but a spirit with a mixer and ca glass of white wine weighed in a 10 euros at night.

A couple of doors up from the hostal is a bar/restaurant called La Caserola. Although I only had one quick drink in there, the food looked good, with full meals as well as tapas and raciones. If I go back, I would like to try the restaurant La Caserola, it had a good feel about it. Given more time, I would have liked to have explored the surrounding streets more to find out what was available in terms of bars and restaurants. There are several places in the area where you can eat breakfast – varying from a croissant and coffee and churros and hot chocolate to a cooked breakfast. We use a modern eatery near the Sevilla metro stop called Faborit. For 1.95 euros you get a hot drink of your choice of toasted bread (baguette or brown) with a portion of olive oil and cut tomato to rub on top. For an extra 1 euro you can have freshly squeezed orange juice as well.

This was my first visit to Madrid and I enjoyed it. I have very little time to explore, since the main purpose of my visit was to see the tennis event. I did make some time to take the Madrid Vision tour bus round the monuments. This was interesting and the 10.60 euro ticked allows you to hop on and off their busses all day. The three routes cover historical Madrid, modern Madrid and monumental Madrid. Each tour lasts an hour but you can move between tours as and when you want. On first boarding the bus, you are issued with a map showing all the routes and places of interest. The audio commentary is available in several languages.

Finally, I would use the Hostal Bianco II again if I were to return to Madrid.
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RR


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#7172 - 10/24/04 12:21 PM Re: Madrid:info on Hostal Bianco II and suggestions
MadridMan Offline


Executive Member

Registered: 05/06/00
Posts: 10011
Loc: Madrid, Spain (was Columbus, O...
Thanks SO much for your review(s), robbieroy! They're MUCH appreciated.

You wrote:
Quote:
A colleague had room 21 on those two nights and reported a lot of noise from the hostal door opening and closing, so much so that he asked to move rooms (hence I got his room!).
That's why with "hostales" I ALWAYS request a room as FAR AWAY FROM THE RECEPTION AREA AND FRONT DOOR AS POSSIBLE. No matter the "hostal", people are always coming and going at all hours of the day and night that it can be bothersome. Also, the reception-desk phone rings, people standing around chatting/laughing, door slamming, buzzers buzzing, etcetera can be a bit much for that first or second room just off the entrance/reception area. Sometimes you only get what you get and can't request a particular room - this is usually the case in your reservation request to any "hostal" - but once you arrive, if you arrive early enough, you can CHOOSE your room.

Thanks again! Saludos, MadridMan
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