Madrid’s accommodation used to be – how shall we put it? – unexciting, but not any more.A wave of chic minimalism and cutting-edge interpretations of traditional architecture is sweeping the city, with new hotels taking their place alongside the simple hostales(hostels) and grand old Madrid hotels that were once the city’s trademark.Travellers on a tight budget haven’t been left out of the revolution with some fine new hostales as well as many old favorites, where a touch of character elevates them above the rest. Unusually, apart from the dorms, you’ll often find private bathrooms and TVs in the rooms.Midrange accommodation is similarly diverse with hotels can encanto(hotels with charm, often housed in historic buildings) sharing the market with supremely stylish monuments to 21st-century fashions. Entirely devoid of stuffiness, hotels and hostales in this category enable you to feel pampered without the price tag.Madrid’s five-star hotels represent the ultimate in luxury, whether in stately palaces or in places that represent the height of innovation.Accommodation prices in Madrid vary with the not-always-discernible seasons. In general, most midrange and some top-end places have separate price structures for temporada alta(high season), temporada media(midseason) or temporada baja(low season), all usually displayed on a notice in reception or close by, but there’s little agreement among hoteliers about when the seasons actually begin and end. As such. accommodation prices in this book are a guide only and you should always check room charges before putting down your bags; and remember that prices can and do change with time. In the better places, booking ahead is always a good idea.Virtually all accommodation in Madrid prices are subject to 7% IVA (the Spanish version of value-added tax). This is often included in the quoted price at cheaper places, but less often atmore expensive ones. To check, ask: «Esta incluido el IVA?» («Is IVA included?»). In some cases you will be charged the IVA only if you ask for a receipt.Choosing where to stay in Madrid is not just about price. Each barrio has its own distinctive identity and where you decide to stay will play an important role in your experience of Madrid. To get an idea of where you’re most likely to feel at home, read the ‘Best of the Barrio’ boxed texts which correspond to each of Madrid’s neighbourhoods.One final thing: in Spain a habitacion doble(double room) usually indicates a room with two single beds. Cuddly couples should request a cama de matrimonio – literally a marriage bed – which is usually a queen-sized bed.
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