Friday, April 22, 2016

Review: Madrid in April

Stunning location for a fairytale wedding. A wonderful happy day.

A fairy tale wedding in Madrid at the Casino de Madrid, fabulous fun with friends at Platea, tickets for the Real Madrid vs Villa Real match and a tour of the stadium. Lots of very enjoyable strolls, lunches and evenings with friends. 

Madrid is one of my favorite cities - no secret there [previous trip]. A few hiccups with hotel booking I had hoped we were staying in Vinnci's The Mint but fortunately I found out, just in time and by accident, that the hotel's double room doesn't allow an extra bed for my 12-year-old princess. Frantically had to last minute re-book, maybe it was just as well as communication with The Mint was fraught and almost impossible but managed to cancel before incurring a penalty. We did go to check out their rooftop bar whilst there which I had fallen in love with from the online photos - it was closed. Kismet. 

I booked us 6 nights at the 4* Maria Elena Palace, Calle Aduana 19, it came to a very reasonable KD 209 (breakfast not included but there is a Starbucks at the end of the road). The Maria Elena is undergoing some refurbishment but didn't bother us, staff were magnificent, get a quiet inside room as some on the street are noisy at weekends a friend told us, room was nice, really comfy bed, housekeeping superb, great location walking distance to Sol (Mercado San Miguel, Primark on Gran Via, Retiro Park), free good wifi but would have liked more English TV channels only found CNN but we weren't there to watch TV.

Madrid is lively, artsy, vibrant, friendly and incredibly cool. The weather was a little rainy
in April but didn't stop us enjoying the sights, tastes and sounds of this gorgeous
underrated city.
So don't knock the Primark mention. If you've ever been to Primark - and I tell you Madrid has the absolute best, most mind-blowing Primark store on the planet you still won't get how phenomenal it is, Madrid is worth a trip just to visit this store alone. 

Primark on Gran Via. A huge beautiful store spread over 4 floors with mobile phone recharge spots (take your recharge cable) you will need to recharge your phone as we were there for hours and lost each other a few times.

Madrid City Tour was a perfect thing to do on a rainy day just hop on and pay but make sure you can sit by the window as they do steam up and are better opened as long as rain is not coming in sideways. I could not manage to get my family into the Prado, Reina Sofia or the Thyssen museums but I had done them last trip and so was not forcing the issue. 

Mercado San Miguel is a lovely place for a casual lunch or supper, Platea at Plaza Colon is not to be missed especially on a Saturday night when they had a free show, which was truly amazing.

Platea's yummy seafood bar, there's also an oyster bar, jambon and cheeses,
tapas, hot kitchen and many more. The ground floor seating is more a non-booking 'mercado' type
set up so you find a table or sit at the bars and wander around and choose
whatever you would like to eat or drink. Upper floors have a la carte tables to reserve.

A must do, if you have a male of any age travelling with you, is the Santiago Bernabeu tour it's the home of Real Madrid FC. Takes 10 mins to get there by taxi from Gran Via/Sol, the self-tour is approx an hour and you can have lunch at one of the restaurants looking on to the iconic pitch. If you are lucky enough to be there when Real is playing then reasonably priced tickets can be bought online or at the stadium. My happy husband got to see Real Madrid beat Villa Real 3-0 and I got to see Ronaldo change his shirt. 

Loads and loads of things to do in Madrid; fabulous museums, shopping, food, parks, a good walking city but there are bikes for rent too. We did miss out on BBike beer bar tandem cycle and although it's touted as the healthiest beer one has to wonder if it's not a traffic hazard. Toledo and Segovia are ancient beautiful cities and are only a short train ride from Madrid.

After indulging for 6 days we then stocked up on healthy aloe drinks, honey and 9 bars from my friend Lucia's health food store, La Nodriza near the Palace. I really need to get a regular supplier because they are so delicious. Thank you my dear friend for the lovely evening at La Molette the teeny, tiny hidden gem of a restaurant with yummy home-made food. 

We love, love, love Madrid.


  1. Oh wow, I loved reading this. When I first started working, I was sent to Barcelona for a short project and as I had family in Madrid, I spent a weekend there. It was seriously one of the best times of my life. Just fell in love with the city, the people, oh, an amazing place to be a tourist right? would be amazing to have the chance to go back one day!

    1. Thank you I'm happy you liked it. Madrid is a very special city. We'll definitely be going back.


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