Well, I guess that's a "me three!" in regards to the Bancotel
checks being a very very good idea for travel in Spain. Used a single book for our just completed trip.
Our first night in Sevilla was at Hotel Pasarela
in Sevilla, putting us a block from Maria Luisa Park. Nice place, something like a Ramada (for US comparison). Bastard afternoon front desk manager, though (see below). Evening manager was much more helpful. One cheque.
Second night was in Marbella- at Hotel Pyr. Very nice- just off the most expensive part of Marbella, two block walk to the docks and restaurants. Excellent service, largish room, and great parking. Highly recommended, esp. for one cheque (a steal, I think).
Third night was in the upstairs bedroom of an older lady's house. I doubt she's ever heard of bancotel
. No heat and right next to (a very popular, evidently) tavern, but it was a place to stay out of the rain. Lesson: Make your reservations early in Cordoba, no matter what time of year it is . . .
Last night was in Madrid, at The Palace
. Umm, wow.
Everything you expect it to be, and clearly worth the three cheques. Just don't plant yourself in the Rotunda and order too many drinks- it could add up
Perfect place to walk from and explore central Madrid, esp. during the holiday. A truly unforgettable experience.
The only negative experience wrt to Bancotel was that there were no instructions at the first hotel to deliver a book of cheques to me. The front desk manager was as unhelpful as could be- wouldn't even give me the telephone number for Bancotel (really, I need to learn the spanish word for bastard, as I would have used it), and we weren't sure what we were going to do. But we'd just had a very long day (flight from DC to LaGuardia, taxi from LaGaurdia to JFK, flight from JFK to Madrid, Aerocity from airport to Atocha, AVE to Sevilla, and taxi to hotel), so I laid down the Amex, got the room, and took a nap (during which I dreamed up various nightmares of this trip costing 5x more than I'd intended).
A few hours later, as we were heading out to find a travel agency (from which I was hoping we could straighten this out- I'd originally made online purchase and delivery arrangements), we noticed a new front desk manager, and approached him. With my rapidly increasing proficiency in spanish (amazing what necessity will produce), we figured out that Bancotel had sent no authorization, he gave me the number, I called, they faxed an authorization, and he handed over the cheques (evidently most hotels keep a few new books on hand). Crisis (in my mind at least) averted.
So, in sum, what should others reading this post think of Bancotel? That they're a great value for money, they should be delivered to your home ahead of time if possible, but if not, don't worry, as even if there's a mixup at the hotel, you can just call and they'll fax an authorization. Considering the value we got out of it, I still consider the use of the cheques a ringing success.
(hope you don't mind my adding some of the hotel's URLs to your very informative posting)
[This message has been edited by MadridMan (edited 12-10-2000).]