Subject: Re: Madrid Hotel recommendations?
Hi Joan,

We were just there a few weeks ago and really enjoyed an older hotel, just down the street from the Opera, called the Tryp Ambassador. It's not exactly small but it is less impersonal than the large chains and we liked the atmosphere. We lucked out on a suite (not sure why we were upgraded but ..we didn't complain!) and it was wonderful. But - *warning* - the fantastic breakfast buffet is not included in the hotel rate (at least ours wasn't ...but we were glad we didn't find out until the end because it was so good!).

We were lucky enough to have visited a friend in the south of Spain who is a travel writer just beforehand so he gave us some 'insider' suggestions for our few days in Madrid.

We weren't able to check out all of them (my husband was at a conference and there were a number of official functions he had to attend) but we were really grateful that he told us where the most authentic flamenco could be found. The Casa Patas (Canizares 10, Tel.91-369-0496, Metro: Anton Martin) is run by gypsies and I have never seen (or heard) anything like it - we were captivated. The show starts late (11pm) but you need to get there early to get a good table (might be worth phoning to make sure of the timing). He warned us that the food was not the best but we made the mistake of thinking that the show was in the main bar/restaurant and we couldn't get a seat unless we ordered food wasn't until later we realized that the show was in another room at the back. I recommend it highly (but not the food).

We also did a very small part of his recommended Tapas Crawl and I'd be happy to share some of the places we went (and those we didn't have time to go) with you if you'd like.

Also - we had a delightful evening at the Café d'Opera (on the corner of the street our hotel was on) where the food was excellent and the entertainment even better. The waiters and waitresses are all opera singers and they break out in song at intervals throughout the evening. We were invited there by someone else and never saw the prices (but I assume it was pretty expensive), however...if you like opera - I'd say it's well worth it!

Of can't miss the Prado and I very much enjoyed wandering through the Palace and a number of the smaller museums. Also...I found a day trip to El Escorial and Valle de Cuelgamuros was very interesting.

Have a great time - it's a fascinating city (that never seems to sleep)!

Cheers! Judy in Hong Kong