I go to Madrid frequently, but I do not stay in hotels as I live there in the suburbs where I do normal Madrileno things like go grocery shopping, to the movies or just out for an aperitivo. So this guide is not your typical tourist guide. Buen viaje!
When you Land
The Metro out of Barajas is really simple and reliable - from either T123 or the new T4 if you fly Iberia or any One World Alliance airline. An adult ticket is just 2 Euros and can be purchased from the automatic ticket machines (remember to buy the supplement). The Metro serves all of Madrid and should get you a walk or short cab ride away from your hotel.
I stayed at the Hotel Nuevo Madrid once, it was new, tidy but not really at the center. Good business hotel though - it happened to be very close to the BEA office.
I've not stayed at the hotel, but I have eaten at the restaurant and visited the rooftop bar of Hotel De Las Letras - reminded me of the Standard downtown LA.
Where to Eat and Drink
Mercado San Miguel at Plaza Oriente has to be a stop for gastro-types, grab a glass of wine and cruise around nibbling at delicious tapas
La Chata is old and traditional and good - Cava Baja off Plaza Mayor
Hotel de Las Letras rooftop bar great bar overlooking some bits of Madrid
La Bola - apparently the best Cocido in Madrid
Casa Mingo sideria, one of my favorite places - very old and traditional sort of ale-house feel, sawdust on the floor, get a chorizo and sidra
Meson Candido - very old and good restaurant in Segovia - situated under the aqueduct
Restaurante - St. James
Museo Nacional del Prado
Museo de Arte Thyssen-Bornemisza
Museo Nacional Reina Sofia
Topmadrid. Blog y Guia de Madrid
The Escape guide: Madrid for food loversThe Observer, 2006
Excursions from Madrid
Toledo - beautiful walled town an hour or so outside Madrid
El Escorial the austere palace of Charles XIV, very impressive
Manzanares El Real - tiny little village about an hour outside Madrid, small castle, good restaurants, nice hiking
Rascafria - mountain resort - good hiking, couple of hours outside Madrid
Aranjuez Beautiful royal city about 2 hours out of Madrid
Las Rozas Village
Zielo in Pozuelo
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