Walking up the busy pedestrian street, I barely noticed all the cool shops and restaurants on Fuencarral. After a gruelling overnight flight from Toronto to Madrid Adam and I were exhausted, and dirty. We had met up with my sister and her boyfriend Sean right after we landed for some early morning exploring before checking in. All was great until Adam fell asleep at a bar and a bird pooped on him: it was time to head to the hotel.
Then the words that no one who has travelled all night ever wants to hear.
“Your room isn’t ready yet.”
Dread. Sweaty tired dread.
“Oh wait,” she exclaimed in broken but friendly English, “my mistake, your room is ready.”
Hotel Sidorme Madrid Fuencarral 52 is smack right in the middle of Fuencarral Street, which is teeming with people all the time, and right off Gran Via making it the ideal homebase for sightseeing. It also straddles the trendy neighbourhoods of Chueca and Malasaña, where all Madrileños hipsters shop and drink.
The entrance is completely unassuming, with a keycard-only entrance right off the street. What I love about this hotel is that they didn’t waste space or money on a grand lobby (the check in area is tiny), but they provide much appreciated extras instead. For example, every morning a little breakfast fairy puts a bag full of fruit, pastries and juice on your door to enjoy in your room or on the terrace. Think boutique hotel chic meets hostel vibe; there were just as many young American backpackers as there were wealthy British retirees in the commons areas.
The design of the hotel is sleek, modern and clean, with an impressive staircase that makes up for the teeny tiny elevator (that has a cool view of the interior terrace’s living wall). The common area is on the penthouse floor with a large outdoor seating area, and there is a kitchen to prepare meals. Two giant espresso machines pump out caffeinated beverages 24/7 next to a never-empty bowl of fruit.
Our room was on the sixth floor, so we were lazy and rarely used the stairs. While our room is on the small side when compared to major chain hotel standards, it suited the needs of two people perfectly. The decor is clean, airy and modern, with really good air-conditioning, a necessity for travelling in Spain in the peak summer months.
The windows are really well soundproofed, a big bonus if your room overlooks the street as it is loud all night long with revellers strolling Fuencarral. The best part of this hotel room was the terrace which, granted, was an upgrade. But the Superior room that comes with either a balcony or a terrace was only about $10 more a night, and you get this:
With this view:
Rooms have a small fridge with just enough room to store some cold Cava and water. One strange thing was the location of the sink; it wasn’t in the bathroom. While this was super convenient for getting ready to go out in the evenings, it wasn’t conducive to washing one’s hands after using the toilet. (Pardon my wrinkly plane clothes in the photo below; how do professionals take pictures of mirrors without themselves in it?)
We spent two nights at this hotel and it was perfect. Because it was peak season, we spent around $140 per night which was a splurge for us, but Adam and I wanted to be in a central location (the rooms range from $70-$165 per night depending on the time of year and the room type). Hotel rooms along the Gran Via and its arteries can run anywhere from $100-$450 per night, especially in the summer months when tourists flock to the area. We saved money by staying a little off the main drag, but this also saved us from the throngs of foot traffic.
If we were staying in Madrid for longer I would have opted for an Airbnb to avail myself of a kitchen, but for the length of our stay it was perfect. I would recommend this to travelling couples, as a double room at any nearby hostel will run you at least $110 per night with fewer amenities and no fancy breakfast fairy. I think this was a bargain for the quiet rooms in an awesomely loud central location.
Where is your favourite spot to stay in Madrid?