Getting there: Air Canada/Lufthansa there, Iberia/American on the return
Where dpr stayed: High Tech President Castellana – the good: great location in Salamanca (close to lots of restos, shops, and a short walk to the Gran Via shopping area and the Parque del Retiro, very friendly staff, good meeting facilities, the bad: I had zero luck with the wifi and when I plugged in for an internet connection I felt like someone was peddling it somewhere to keep it going – stupidly slow.
Fun: This was a super short trip, but dpr made the most out of one afternoon/evening off and another break of a few hours. There are lots of great shops around the hotel including the famous Spanish store El Corte Ingles and another great store called Bimba and Lola (actually there were 2 close to the hotel). Oh my – the bags and shoes! Too bad dpr’s budget didn’t match… It was also a 20 minute walk to the pedestrian-only Calle Fuencarral – lots of good shops and eats here. The food and coffee were, simply put, divine, including an amazing traditional Spanish tapas meal at Cafe Perico one night. And dpr was highly caffeinated the entire trip because of the delicious coffee served with warm milk every morning at the breakfast buffet that included churros and chocolate sauce – totally my kinda restaurant.
Tips: Foreigners don’t have to pay the tax here, so some stores actually recognize that when you make purchases, otherwise you can stop at the VAT Refund booth at the airport on your way out.