Nothing beats being greeted in a strange city by a friendly face. That was my first thought when we arrived at our new apartment building after traveling for over 15 hours from Guatemala to Madrid, Spain.
It has been over 20 years since I’ve been to Europe, this time I brought my kids along. When I traveled this part of the world I was traveling solo and hosteling it most of the time. Now traveling with the kids is a whole new world, and one thing I learned from our extensive travels – staying in apartments (homes away from home) is the best way to go.
Using Only-Apartments to Find a Place to Stay in Madrid
Madrid is a huge city! Huge.
Before arriving I knew a few things that I wanted no matter what:
1. I wanted to stay in an apartment
2. I wanted to be central, yet on a quiet street
3. Walking distance from all the cool spots, restaurants, and neighborhoods
If you start reading about all the different places where to stay, your head will burst. One of my good friends just got back from Spain (not Madrid) and used Only-Apartments service for her family’s stay and recommended I contact them. She told me they would be a great source and they have a large selection of apartments.
Lucia was my contact person. And honestly, because of her help and expertise (she’s a madrileña) we ended up in one of the best choices for locations and apartments ever.
As they say, it never hurts to ask. And in this case, I gave her my prerequisites, and we landed in the heart of Los Austrias neighborhood of Madrid.
Fernando, the owner, was waiting for us when we arrived with our way-too-many bags. And you know what, after staying in his place, I feel spoiled and will expect way too much from my other places.
He greeted us with a grand welcome:
1. A large platter of Iberian Jamons (now that I have been in Spain for a while, I can contest that this is an expensive treat, especially the quality of meat he had for us).
2. Chocolate – I didn’t know this, but Spain is huge on Chocolate
3. Wine – Wine is drank (almost) like water here. But it was a lovely gesture to have it waiting for us upon arrival.
The Location – Los Austrias, Madrid
Los Austrias is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Madrid, and is packed with tiny plazas, cervecerias, tapas bars, tons and tons of shops, pedestrian streets and so much action it was so fun.
Everywhere we went there was something interesting to see, do and taste.
Proximity to it All
Once you arrive here you will immediately find out what is must do’s and sees.
1. Metro – this is a great feature to have close by, we were literally half a block. However, the location was so central, that we barely used it. There was little need for it, everything was within five – ten minutes walk.
2. Puerto del Sol – this is the very heart of it all. It’s actually said that all distances in Spain are measured from this area. And there is a good reason for it. It’s sooo alive. Street performers, shops, restaurants, bars, people watching, the list goes on and on. We made an effort to end up here at least once per day just to get revved up.
3. Attractions – Madrid is full of things to see. So me naming the main ones for our family might be totally different for yours. Either way, they were all super close.
The Apartments Layout – Unique and Decorative
The apartment is huge. If we were to ever live in this city, this is probably the size of the apartment we would look for to live in.
What makes it different is the unique layout of the place. You enter into a large living room with tons of french doors that open up to the fun street below with small balconies so you can look down on it.
The living room was where my kids spent most of the time, while I enjoyed the office overlooking our neighborhood or in the kitchen making endless food for the boys.
To the left is still part of the living room, but blocked off into a bedroom with a queen sized bed and office space.
To the right of the living room turning into a separate room is the dining room which is connected to the kitchen.
The kitchen is modern and looks like it has been recently redone.
Off the kitchen is the first of two bathrooms.
Once you leave the kitchen, in a completely separate area is the main master bedroom with a large master bath with a bathtub.
There is also huge walk in closet and a washing machine – an absolute must have when traveling with kids.
There was plenty of privacy for everyone. If the kids wanted to sleep in, they didn’t have any one bothering them while I was able to do my stuff in the mornings.
The same for us, when we needed to chill out, relax the kids were in the living room with the television.
More Facts About Our Apartment
- Capacity: 6 people
- Surface: 90m2
- Rooms: 2
- Beds: 3
- Bathrooms: 2
- Wifi Available
- On the 4th floor
- Location: Downtown Madrid, the oldest part of the city, Calle del Postigo de San Martín
- Sofa bed in the living room
- Wooden floors
- 3 Balconies
- Remodeled by a famous architect in Spain named Manuel Ocaña
- 100% equipped
- Only Apartments was founded in 2003 by Elisabet and Alon who decided to rent their apartments in a different way.
- The idea is to rent apartments for short stays as an alternative to hotels.
- By the end of the first year they already had 40 apartments on their listings, most of them in Barcelona.
- They went international in 2005 by listing an apartment in Paris.
- They are currently working with up to 30 thousand apartments located in over 106 countries.