Most of my trip reports are about airplane and hotel experiences, but for some variety, here is a quick review of the AVE high speed train that we took from Seville to Madrid. Plus, a little bit from our brief time in Madrid.
Thanks to booking somewhat late due to some uncertainty of our plans, we had to pay a slight premium. The cheapest ticket we could get was a hybrid ticket that was in the first class part of the train but only had second class service. It was more than we needed, but it was nice to have a little more space for our trip.
The train from Seville to Madrid took about 2 1/2 hours. It was quite easy. There was a restaurant car, but we didn’t bother for the short trip after an excellent meal at our hotel. We took a cab from the Hotel Alfonso to Santa Justa station. Once we arrived in Madrid, we just walked from the Atocha station to the Westin Palace. It was an easy 10-15 minute walk, the only hassle was dragging our bags across cobblestones and navigating crowds.
After our time in Seville, we spent one day in Madrid before heading home. I’ve visited Madrid before but it was a new city for my wife. Madrid is a great place to visit, but after the low key, slow pace of Andalusia, it didn’t take long to realize we were in a major city busy with traffic and crowds, etc.
Westin Palace Madrid
We stayed at the wonderful Westin Palace. I’m not going to do a detailed review, since Damian covered it so well, and our stay was brief. We did use the 3rd night of our free SPG nights that I earned, which was a good value for the relatively expensive category 5 city in a european capital.
Fortunately our Suite Night Award request did clear in advance into a junior suite. It wasn’t the Presidential Suite that Damian had, but it was quite nice, especially for our one night stay.
The lobby was beautiful, and breakfast is served under this dome, but our departure time was too early to take advantage of this, so we opted for points as our platinum amenity.
Exploring Madrid, food and views
From the hotel, we walked all over Madrid. We visited Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Palacio Real, which were nearby. The museum triangle, with several excellent museums including the Prado is also just a few steps from the Palace. After a day of exploring, I went for a run in Retiro Park, which was also close by.
After the run, my wife and I wanted to have one last tapas meal before leaving Spain. We went to a popular place just around the corner from the hotel. This was a fun spot, full of locals, and reasonably priced. I also enjoyed the classic beer bottle and stein collection all around the bar.
The next morning, we had an early cab ride to catch our flight to Frankfurt where were connecting onward to Vienna, for another quick visit before flying home on Austrian Airlines. We got there pretty early, but there was a decent lounge available due to my Star Alliance Gold status and that we were flying in Business Class. Lufthansa uses Terminal 2 at Madrid Barajas airport. We were given access to Puerta de Alcala lounge, which was very close to our gate.
Despite the park bench-like Recaro seats with a blocked middle, the business class service on Lufthansa was pretty nice. We flew from Madrid to Vienna via Frankfurt. It was a nice experience on Lufthansa A321s in business class. My next post will cover our short time in Vienna, and the Le Meridien where stayed.