This is not the place to stay in Madrid if you are seeking good-size rooms, spa facilities, in-house restaurants and a bar. However, should you merely require a small,clean, en-suite 'bolthole' situated in a superb central position close to the galleries, then look no further. My wife and I took the yellow Airport Express bus from outside of Terminal 1(collect luggage, turn right out of the exit doors,and walk about 150 yards to the yellow post) arriving some 25 minutes later at Plaza de Cibeles. The journey cost 5 Euros each and it was then a simple 7-10 minute direct walk to the hostal. This establishment shares with at least two other hostels but Gonzalo is situated on the third floor. The infamous lift is small, however I can happily report that there was not one occasion during our stay where the lift was not readily available.
Our room was street facing but we encountered very little noise during our four night stay. The room was sparse containing a double bed, a chair and small flatscreen TV (Spanish channels only). There was though ample storage space for clothes etc. There were no complimentary shampoos, shower gels etc. and we only had one plug for use in either the washbowl or bathtub, the latter being very much on the small side! The shower which was situated above the bath was of a good pressure and most of the time we had a good supply of hot water. My wife required the use of a hairdryer which was duly supplied by Javier and we were informed that we could keep it as long as it was required during the stay. There were no tea or coffee making facilities in the room.
This is a family run hotel and the balance between helpfulness and unobtrusiveness is in my view superb. There is no-one regularly sat at the reception desk, but wait a matter of a few seconds and someone will arrive to deal efficiently with your issue or request. We were continually provided with what can only be described as sound advice and recommendations depending on our specific requirements.
One of our requests was how best to get to the Real Madrid stadium. We were directed to the bus stop outside of the Prado (some 4-5 minutes walk away) and advised to take the Number 27 public bus which would take us straight to the stadium. This trip cost us 3 Euros (one way for 2 persons) and the bus drops you right outside the stadium. This cost effective 'tip' is worth knowing because the stadium tour, good as it is, then costs one about 18 Euros each.
As previous reviewers have reported, the hostal is situated in a really nice, 'off the beaten track' area of the city, despite being close to most of the main attractions. Plenty of welcoming bars and restaurants, but on the doorstep of The Prado, Reina Sofia etc. Breakfast is not served in the hostel, but again on recommendation we tried and settled on La Belle Bonbon Cafe in Las Huertas. This is a combined cafe and patisserie with the most delightful pastries. The bill for 2 pan con tomato, two large fresh orange juices and two pots of tea amounted to less than 10 Euros. It is only a 2 minute walk from the hostel (turn right out of the front door, first right again, and second right. The cafe is a short distance on the right side of the street).
There is a nice contemporary restaurant just along from the hostal called El Barril de las Letras, and which doubles as both a bar and restaurant. Menu is predominantly fish but we ate there on two occasions and each time found the food to be very fresh and tasty. The service was very welcoming and professional, although the restaurant doesn't start serving main meals until 8.30pm. Average price for our meal including wine was about 75 Euros.
On our final day, we had some time to kill before going back to the airport (again by the bus, but this time from the opposite side of the Plaza Cibiles to where we were dropped off on arrival). Having checked out of our room, It was no problem for the hostal to keep our luggage until our departure.
First time in Madrid, but we will be back and will have no hesitation whatsoever in staying again at this really well- run establishment .
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hostal Gonzalo is situated in a quiet street in the heart of the historical centre of Madrid, in a renovated building of the XIX century, 3 minutes walking from Prado Museum and Thyssen Gallery. Too you can reach easily by foot, Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Retiro Park...Comfortable rooms with private bathroom, TV, central heating,air conditiong and free wifi access. Free access 24 hours. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hostal Gonzalo Hotel Madrid