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  1. #21
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    Mine was Hotel Lloret :

    Hotel Lloret Ramblas
    Rambla de Canaletes, 125
    08002 Barcelona, Spain
    933 17 33 66
    hlloret.com‎


    The problem was the noise if your room is on the street. But my room was not on the street and it was just perfect. Not very expensive, perfect place, very nice.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by mila19 View Post
    Yes Jenya, tell us about the fantasies you have with regards to Madrid
    .. you’re right… I did phrase my question rather oddly….

    I saw the first hotel Jenya reserved. That was quite up-north from Gran Via… If Jenya is willing to stay that high up north, then I would like to make another recommendation. Much closer to Gran Via, but still long 5-6 blocks north. I stay at this hotel as my first choice (even when not on budget and more central hotels available).

    Gran Hotel Conde Duque (rooms start at $ 80 USD, if available)
    http://www.granhotelcondeduque.com/

    Fotos: http://www.granhotelcondeduque.com/fotos.htm)

    They allow travelers with pets - good reason for me to support them, but not the only reason. The hotel itself is wonderful for the price.
    http://www.granhotelcondeduque.com/s...mascotas_1.jpg

    “It’s in upscale residential area, faces a 4-sided court-yard, with benches, small square-park, dog-park, flower beds, old ladies coming out to chat and gossip, dog owners tip their hats as they pass each other, in summer time the park’s central fountain is turned on, and people gather around it… Safe charming “real life” neighborhood.

    Metro is right there at the end of the block.
    Few fotos:
    http://www.jpmoser.com/images/granho...ondeduque1.jpg
    (I don’t know why this says “classic Madrid”, because it is the front entrance into the hotel http://www.marbellas.com/wp-content/...belas-FHR1.jpg
    http://kotiweb.kotiportti.fi/~w41886...onde_duque.jpg


    Jenya’s 2nd hotel is RIGHT SMACK DAB in the middle of Gran Via! … Hotel Atlantico is not a bad choice..
    Location – proxim to attractions - 5*****
    Convenience – transport – 5*****
    Price vs. Quality - 4****
    Noise/Night & Day – 6***** (unless you ask for a room away from Gran Via AND AWAY from the elevators).

    My mother stayed at that hotel. She loved the location and the fact that there are people around almost 24 hours, no dark alleys, empty streets. But she asked me to relocate her after 2 days. One side of the hotel was under construction and it made a difference, and her rooms was facing Gran Via, and she could not sleep. It was not a constant noise (she said), but occasional yells and shrieks every 20-30 minutes coming from herds of youngsters, and squeaks from the cars and buses.

    There is a reason why such centrally located hotel, in such a beautiful elaborate building costs under $ 100 USD and has rooms available in the middle of Summer… And I am pretty sure its noise and flow of crowds at night… Other wise it is a great hotel!

    Petit Palace Mayor Plaza**** - in the “old town section”.
    http://www.hthoteles.com/en/hotel-pe...-plaza-madrid/
    So I moved my mother to this 4**** hotel, right next to Plaza Mayor and 3 short blocks from Puerta Del Sol Plaza and Metro. I stayed there once with associates from Russia, and they were thrilled about the location and “old world charm” of the area. I checked prices for end of July/early August. It’s under 110 USD.

    They even running several specials "early bookings", "3-night stay min rate", etc... all under 80 Euros per night.

    I don’t know if this is my “problem” but I hate staying in ANY hotels on Gran Via…. Gran Via is basically a “Market Street” or “Broadway”….. it’s full of cheap shops, crowds in the day time, and noisy teenagers at night…… not to mention NOISE FROM TRAFFIC…
    Last edited by Tinami Amori; 06-03-2012 at 07:01 PM.

  3. #23

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    Tinami, I am disappointed that your comments are not in Catalan.

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by bardtoob View Post
    Tinami, I am disappointed that your comments are not in Catalan.
    Perdoni…

    Que parla catala? Si?... bon! Com es diu en catala “wise ass”?

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenya View Post
    Tinami (and anyone else), do you recommend Toledo or Sevilla for a daytrip from Madrid? I was planning on Toledo but mila is convincing me that Sevilla would be better.
    For a day trip - 100% Toledo. Because a day trip is NOT enough to enjoy even 1/3 of Sevilla.

    My suggestion is at least 1 night in Sevilla! What I mean is: take a morning train (there is a speed train now, gets there in ~2 hrs from Madrid). Drop your stuff off at the hotel. Sightsee. SPEND THE NIGHT IN SEVILLA - night Sevilla is SPECIAL! and then use the next day to sightsee. You need at least 1.5 days to see "the best of Sevilla". Then at night take a train back to Madrid...

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenya View Post
    Tinami (and anyone else), do you recommend Toledo or Sevilla for a daytrip from Madrid? I was planning on Toledo but mila is convincing me that Sevilla would be better.
    Even taking a high-speed train, a day trip to Seville would be exhausting and probably wouldn't do the city justice. If you're looking for an alternative day trip from Madrid, you might consider going to Segovia, preferably combined with a stop at El Escorial.

    Save Seville for another trip.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinami Amori View Post
    Perdoni…

    Que parla catala? Si?... bon! Com es diu en catala “wise ass”?
    Una mica . . . No n'hi ha prou amb una llengua . . . torracollons
    Last edited by bardtoob; 06-03-2012 at 07:37 PM.

  8. #28

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    Thanks very much for all of the advice, everyone - this will be my first time in Spain, so I really appreciate it.

    I'm thinking I will save Sevilla for another trip - I only have 7 days in Spain before I head to Albania, so I think Madrid (+ day in Toledo) and Barcelona will be plenty.

    All other tips and advice about Madrid and Barcelona are welcome.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by bardtoob View Post
    Una mica . . . No n'hi ha prou amb una llengua . . . torracollons
    I think I know what torracollons mean wheee I love learning to swear in as many languages as possible

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by bardtoob View Post
    ...torracollons
    Neooo thank you! I don't use language like that in public for no reason.. I was thinking in line with "advenedizo"(SP) or "gra al cul"(CA)..

  11. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenya View Post
    All other tips and advice about Madrid and Barcelona are welcome.
    What have you outlined for yourself already? Maybe you've covered all the best items in the 3 days you'll spend in each place?

  12. #32
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    Go to FNAC and buy CD's Don't miss Park Guell or the market (La Boqueria). Eat calcots (a bit like leeks), grilled and served with Romescu sauce (unless you're allergic to nuts). (We had them at El Glop.) If you like red wine, you usually can't go wrong with Rioja tinto, and mineral water is well worth the price. (Vichy Catalan, for example, is wonderfully minerally: it doesn't taste like most of the stuff that's readily available in North America. I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to get a case home on the bus from Seattle next weekend.)

    You'll be a stone's throw from Casa Mila (La Pedrera) and Illa de la Discordia, four Modernista buildings next to each other, including Casa Battlo by Gaudi. Casa Mila can look hideous in photos, but although it's inland from the sea, in person, it looks like a malleable sea creature. Those are buildings you can walk by, and I think you can go inside the lobby of Casa Mila for free most hours.
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

  13. #33
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    Take a one-day cruise up the Costa Brava.

  14. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinami Amori View Post
    What have you outlined for yourself already? Maybe you've covered all the best items in the 3 days you'll spend in each place?
    I don't have any firm plans for either place and am open to suggestions. Also, which tickets should I buy in advance? (Prado, Sagrada Familia?)

    I have been trying to purchase my train ticket from Madrid to Barcelona on the RENFE site today and have not been having any luck - I keep getting an error message and have tried different browsers/credit cards. Does anyone have any tips or has anyone successfully used the site before?

  15. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenya View Post
    I don't have any firm plans for either place and am open to suggestions. Also, which tickets should I buy in advance? (Prado, Sagrada Familia?)

    I have been trying to purchase my train ticket from Madrid to Barcelona on the RENFE site today and have not been having any luck - I keep getting an error message and have tried different browsers/credit cards. Does anyone have any tips or has anyone successfully used the site before?
    I'll put together my set of Barcelona, Madrid, Toledo favorite tourist stuff this eve.

    Re RENFE tix. I'll just copy you last year's old recap that has been put together and posted on another travel website, its the same this year.
    ======

    1. Don't sweat working the website in Spanish or worry about trying to keep it in English. The site switches languages on you seemingly at will, and most of the terms are pretty easy to figure out even if you never took Spanish 101. When in doubt, consult the above tutorials for their lists of terms.

    2. If the site wipes out your search entries when you hit "continue", don't worry. Just do it again! You're probably in a different language again--or perhaps you are even in the homestretch of buying and you just didn't know it! It's sort of the "Mr Toad's Wild Ride" of internet purchasing.

    3. If the schedule isn't posted 62 days out yet, just keep checking in periodically. In early January, not even 31 days were loaded into the system but then suddenly, ta-duh!, I could see my dates in March. Use that time to get more familiar with the vagaries of the site and do a few dry-runs of ticket purchases with dates that are on the same days of the week as your future trip.

    4. Register for an account BEFORE you get your tickets. That way, you have the opportunity to get a confirmation from RENFE that you are part of the ordering system (just don't check the box for YES, I WANT EMAIL PROMOTIONS).
    and now...

    5. I'd like to recommend, "Call your credit card company and let then know you are buying online with the website" but that actually didn't work that well for me. . I hope you guys have better luck! Here's my saga, and maybe it will give you heart when you encounter a problem....

    I called my credit card company 10 minutes or more before I attempted my RENFE transaction with the EXACT specifics of my transaction. I then completed the info on the RENFE site, had my mastercard special verification code at the ready, entered that, and you guessed it--I got the GU001 error.

    I logged out of RENFE and signed in again, and looked for My Journeys. Nothing. I waited ten minutes to see if anything came through my email. Nothing. So I called the credit card company, and the first thing they did was give me an automated spiel about "an attempt has been made"...and I pressed the number that said I had authorized that transaction.

    I then spoke to an agent, who again asked me about this attempt on my account. I explained (and by this time, I was no longer sweetness and light) that not only had I authorized the transaction, but that I had CALLED the company beforehand to authorize it. She looked at the records and said, "Oh, I see that that transaction has gone through now." And I said, "But I don't have a confirm of that transaction and now I can't print my tickets unless I call Spain, and I don't understand why I have to spend extra cash for a phone call when I did everything right as a card holder."

    She put me on hold and I made sure to refresh my email in case anything surfaced without my knowing. Nope.

    When she finally got back on line, she said, "You'll have to repeat the transaction (so much for "that transaction has gone through"). "I won't be charged twice?" I asked. "No--and if there's a problem, just call us and we can remove any duplicate charges."

    I repeated my steps again (almost making the reservation for the wrong day), entered all the payment info again, and wonder of wonders, I received the confirmation screen AND a confirmation email almost simultaneously.

    In summary, RENFE actually wasn't that bad if one expects it to be goofy. And expect things not to go smoothly the first time with the credit card/bank dealings no matter what you do!"
    ==end of 2011 RENFE instructions from another board===

  16. #36
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    This isn't Barcelona hotels, but I thought people reading this thread would be interested in Barcelona.

    The Spanish Table, a great food- and wine-centric store in downtown Seattle -- take the elevator in Pike Place Market down to Western, and go left (South) a few storefronts down -- published this in their latest newsletter:

    Do you have friends or family in the midwest who would like a free trip to Spain? In exchange for receiving periodic offers about vacationing in Spain, Chicago's Tourist Office of Spain will send two people on a free trip to Barcelona! The offer unfortunately is limited to residents of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin. To enter, click on INeedSpainSweepstakes.com.
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

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