Smacked in the Heart of Madrid

L1050804I couldn’t pick a better hotel for my first ever trip to Madrid. Hotel Atlantico (pictured above) is located right in the midst of the bustling Gran Via (akin to Singapore’s Orchard Road, London’s Oxford Street, et al) and within walking distance of the cinema/theatre/shopping/dining precincts as well as some of the top cultural attractions of the Spanish capital. Location in a foreign city while touring is extremely important if you are a person – like me – who can’t really walked that much and doesn’t really want to waste much time to doing unnecessary travelling.

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Sited right smacked in the middle of Gran Via, there are stores the likes of Zara and H&M just a stone’s throw away from the hotel, and a string of cinemas and show theatres (one even showing The Lion King) literally just round the corner. Add to that, the Metro Callao is but a minute away and this station is conveniently joined to the lines that can bring you up north to say Santiago Bernabau (home of Real Madrid) or to the west to Ventas (the classic bull ring Las de Toros) or even a simply stop down south to Opera which will bring you closer to top attractions such as the Grand Palace (below left, the Cathedral of Madrid (below right) and the Royal Theatre (above right).

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Having a hotel easily within reach and especially close to a metro has a lot of advantages: if you bought some heavy stuff at a nearby shop, you can simply popped back up to your room, dumped the buys and moved out to start another shopping spree with your hands free and easy. And in my recent case, after buying two pairs of shoes that cost more than 200euros and which technically enabled me as a tourist to claim back tax at El Corte Ingles (kinda like a Spanish Marks & Spencer) at a precinct three metro stops away, the lovely shoe salesman insisted that I returned to my hotel to get my passport to claim for the tax return form because “3 stops is not very far!” Well, he was right, it didn’t take me more than half an hour to go to my hotel and back to the store and eventually I managed to claim back 25euros which effectively paid for yet another pair of shoes! Yea!

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The bus-stops for the Madrid City Tour bus was also close by which provided me with another quick mode of transport. With a 2-day ticket, it allows me to travel around Madrid to the key attractions such as the museums (Prado with its Renaissance arts is highly recommended) or the busy squares such as Plaza Mayor (above left) and Puerta del Sol (above right) without walking even though the latter two are actually walkable.

Add to location, Hotel Atlantico itself was a brilliant hotel – with all the amenities I need and one of the best reception staff I ever have the pleasure to deal with. You can read my review of the hotel here at Trip Advisor:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g187514-d227459-r179667830-Hotel_Atlantico-Madrid.html#CHECK_RATES_CONT

Unless you are on a really tight budget, or just planning a quick one-night stay, having a good hotel at a good location is very important when touring as far as I’m concerned. Thanks be to God that I made the right choice for my maiden trip to Madrid!

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