We have just come back to Asturias from four days in Madrid. The first night we stayed in the hostal Alhambra after having looked at their web site from the link on Madridmanīs site.
The pics looked good so we went ahead and booked for four nights...As soon as we arrived we thought "this could be a mistake"...and it was...
The lift up to the hostal didnīt work very well so we decided to use the stairs...they were wooden, very old and rotten in places, some steps even split as we walked on them. Paint was peeling from the walls in the stairwell and there were holes which looked suspiciously like those made by mice or rats (although I didnīt actually see any rodents to verify this!)...
When we entered the hostal the room was not at all like the pics on the web site...decoration was shabby and old and all the floors were tiled both in the hallway and the room, leading to a lot of noise as people walked on them during the night. The shower curtain was all mouldy at the bottom and we didnīt get a wink of sleep due to people talking and laughing in the corridoor all night..the walls were paper thin and sound proofing non existant.
There was also a certificate on the back of the room door claiming that the room had been chemically treated for several organisms and rodents dated 2000-2001...there were no emergency exit signs or fire extinguishers visible which confirmed our decision to leave after the first night.
We then went up the street to hostal Adriano, which had been recomended previously on this site (didnīt book there initially as they were full).
Luckily someone had cancelled and they had a room spare for the remaining three nights of our visit. I would highly recommend this hostal as it is bright, clean and "does exactly what it says on the tin" i.e. the pics of the rooms on the web site are accurate. Only drawback was the bathroom, in the room we had, was very small and you had to rest your forehead on the wall when sitting on the toilet! Also the radiator couldnīt be turned down in the room which didnīt pose too much of a problem as it got very cold at night in madrid. It was slightly more expensive at 60 euros a night but well worth it...
Breakfast was not included so you have to look around for somewhere to eat in the morning. The Spanish breakfast seems to consist of churros con chocolate, pinchos, coissants, coffee or you can get bacon and eggs but bacon is not like that of the UK and is just basically strips of fat. If you want muesli or cereals you will have to go to hipercor...:-)
This is the one disappointment with Spanish food as lunch and evening meals are fantastic and there are plenty of restaurants!!!
Other recommended places to eat are..Vips (pasta, pizza, salads, oriental, burgers etc.), pans and company (baguettes). During the day ask for "menu del dia" as you get three courses for 8-12 euros and drink is included (agua,cerveza or vino). Bear in mind that lunch is from 2-4pm in Spain!
Overall we had a great time...everything we wanted to see was easily reached on the metro station Sol which was within easy walking distance of hostel Adriano.
I would recommend buying a ten trip ticket for 6 euros on the metro as they are excellent value for money and you donīt need to use another trip from your ticket to change lines.
usual rules apply, however, when making your way in a big city...donīt leave valuables (cameras etc) in your room, keep your wallet in your front pocket not the back, keep hand bags or other bags hanging in front of you and not on your back if possible and beware of pickpockets in general... above all enjoy Madrid as it is a fanatstic (and very large) city!