This place had its pluses and minuses.My husband and I were traveling with our twin girls, age 10, and we wanted accommodations near some key sites (e.g., the Prado) that were quiet and comfortable but not expensive. We found that at Pension Arcos, a five-bedroom apartment on the fifth floor of a secure building with an elevator. We had the room with the balcony, and the room behind it, and we also used the adjacent small lounge area and patio to have breakfast. There's a small, ancient refrigerator in the back hall you can use to store juice and yogurt or what have you, which is helpful in holding down costs with eating out.
It's the home of an elderly couple, as you'll read in earlier reviews, and they do their best to accommodate their guests, but I think it's fair to say that it's getting harder for them as time advances. They were overall cheerful and helpful, looking at maps with us and providing some history and navigation tips and whatnot. But they have a noisy TV on most of the time in their kitchen in the back, which was audible at bedtime in our room. The old rugs in the rooms and hallways need a thorough vacuuming, and the bathroom in the balcony room had hair and soap spatters from the previous occupant still lingering. The sheets and towels are old and thin, and the furnishings are a bit battered, but we had what we needed to sleep and take a shower and enjoy Madrid.
Madrid was our first stop in a four-city vacation, and we probably erred in getting a prepaid phone card at the airport -- next time I'd just get a prepaid mobile phone. At Pension Arcos, there's just the couple's phone, and Anuncia allowed me to use it once when I needed to call our bank in the U.S. -- but she really didn't understand that a prepaid card involves the use of a toll-free number, and she stood by as I made the call, getting increasingly anxious as I entered the phone menu numbers for customer service and my account number, etc. It became clear that she thought this call was going to appear on her bill, and she actually reached over and attempted to hang up the line just as I reached the agent I needed to speak to! My Spanish is okay, but I had difficulty reassuring her that there would be no fee on HER bill -- she was not convinced, and after I left this tense scene, she and her husband had a noisy argument on the matter. There's no computer or wi-fi on the premesis, so I ended up going out searching for an internet cafe where I could get the banking matter straightened out using our laptop.
So if you're looking for spotless accommodations with phone and computer service, you'll need to keep looking, but if you just need basic, secure rooms near the Plaza del Sol and La Gran Via, you'll get a great deal at Pension Arcos. Note that there are a couple other pensions in this same building, where I'm pretty sure we'd have found slightly more modern digs, and beds for our family of four in one room.
Ask for the balcony room! Plaza below is pedestrian only, and peaceful; back room is actually noisie...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC