I've just returned from two weeks in Spain and stayed at three hotels (two in Madrid, one in Barcelona). Each of them had good points, note was perfect. But all in all I was quite pleased. The Europe has several things going for it. First is its location, on the Puerta del Sol, which as anyone who has been to Madrid knows, is the literal center of Madrid. It's a large, mostly pedestrian square where there is never a shortage of taxis to whisk you to another section of town, and where there is also a major Metro station, named Sol...it's actually now named Vodaphone Sol (wonder why?), but it is a central stop on what I think of as an efficient and easy to use underground system.
You can get a great deal on Metro tickets by buying a card that gives you ten rides at a fine discount. But remaining on location, I must say that this 66 year old senior got almost everywhere he wanted to go by walking. Sol is only a few minutes from the elegant Plaza Mayor, and not much farther heading west down the pedestrianized Calle de Arenal to the Teatro Real (Royal Theatre) where you can see world class opera. Only one pretty park away from the opera house is the Royal Palace. If you were to go east instead of west you could easily walk to the Prado and other fine museums (and the Prado is a FINE museum -- don't miss it!), also to Atocha Station, where you can catch trains to other parts of Spain. The hop-on, hop-off city sightseeing bus also has a stop on Puerta del Sol. I took advantage of that for two days - as a senior I got a great discount, and of course if you're there for the first time as I was it gives a very good orientation to the city, with headphones explaining in English or your choice of several other languages what you're seeing.
I suspect that there could be noise problems in some of the rooms, but mine looked out on an inner courtyard, not on the square. My room itself was roomy, had a large safe where I could easily store not just my pasort but my 13 inch laptop, it was squeaky clean and air conditioned, and had a television that included CNN International, BBC News and a few other English-language channels so that if you're in need of a news fix in English, it's available.
Breakfast, if you wish to take it, is downstairs in the Europa Restaurant/Cafe. You have the choice of a continental breakfast, which I think consists of a good hard roll and an excellent croissant, plus fresh-squeezed orange juice and coffee (or tea I imagine, but the Spanish do coffee so strong and tasty, why not drink that?). I chose the Europe breakfast, which adds to the above your choice of eggs with ham or bacon (I'd recommend the ham, mixed in with eggs in a scramble).
I also found the restaurant's outdoor seating a great place to get a wine or beer and a bocadilla (a simple sandwich with Iberian ham or sausage or Manchego cheese, other choices as well, and to watch as the Madrilenos paraded by on their evening paseo. One night I ordered an excellent salad, with luscious red tomatoes, so super was solved as well for that evening.
My only carp is that, while Rick Steves recommends this hotel as very friendly, I found them rather perfunctory. Nothing wrong with that, it was just a little off-putting. Perhaps if I'd brought a camera crew along it would have been different.
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- Also Known As:
- Europa Hotel Madrid
- Hotel Europa Madrid