Recently, Madrid has become one of the hottest European destinations. The city has something for everyone, whether you want to visit the Prado Museum, enjoy a cold bottle of Mahou beer in Plaza Mayor, see Picasso’s Guernica in the Reina Sofía Museum, or visit the disco bars until the sun comes up.
And yet, with the dollar weak against the euro, travelers need to squeeze every ounce of value out of the money they spend. Some do this by staying at low quality Madrid hotels, but that isn’t necessary. A few tips let you enjoy a luxury vacation on an economy budget.
How to pay less at luxurious Madrid hotels
There are a several ways you can save money at Madrid hotels.
Travel with a group of friends
A room for four isn’t much more expensive than a room for one, but each person pays far less than for a single. Visit off season, which is October through April. Although you may find fewer tourist-oriented special events during these times, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The locals still live their lives and the centuries of culture and art are there year round.
One secret many tourists don’t know is that Madrid hotels which cater to business clients are desperate for guests during the summer and on weekends. They will lower their price during these times, but often only if the guest asks for a deal.
Make your reservations a few days in advance. Having to book a room at the last minute due to a reservation mix up usually means you will pay a premium on the room price. Use a consumer-friendly agency such as EuroBookings.com that does not charge a reservation fee or a cancellation fee. This allows you to lock in the going rate, but get the current’ day’s best rate if it’s lower than the online price. Also, if you find a hotel you like better once there, you won’t pay big bucks to cancel your reservation or be forced to stay.
Save money on meals
It should come as no surprise that restaurants in Madrid hotels tend to be overpriced, just like American hotels. Get your meals from an outside restaurant instead. Avoid the places that cater to tourists and boast that they speak English. Look for local hangouts to get a taste of what real Spanish food tastes like.
Don’t be afraid to try local specialties. That’s why you’re traveling after all. Not only does this expose you to authentic Spanish cuisine, but also saves you from paying inflated tourist prices.
For tighter budgets, stock your hotel room with food from a local market. Packing a picnic lunch for your daytime tours is a good way to save big, while still allowing you to enjoy restaurant meals for lunch and dinner.
Do it yourself
The staff at Madrid hotels can be a great source for advice on local attractions, but they are often biased and may even be getting incentives to direct you to certain places. Don’t book tickets or other services through the hotel staff. Go to the source and do it yourself and you can probably save money. Plus you are more likely to avoid the glitzy tourist activities that don’t reflect real local culture.