For the last two days Cynthia and I have woken up an hour earlier in the morning so we can make overseas calls to Madrid, Seville and Granada to book hotels.
Yesterday we secured our hotel in Seville but there were no vacancies at Los Tilos in Granada. Not totally unexpected as we will be in Granada during Fiesta Nacional de EspaÃ±a or DÃa de la Hispanidad (aka: Spanish National Day; aka Hispanic Day) which is a Spanish national holiday commemorating the exact date when Christopher Columbus first set a foot in the Americas.
We went back online yesterday and did some more research and found Carmen de la Alcubilla del Caracol, a charming 7 room hotel on one of the slopes of the Alhambra. It’s rated #4 out of 132 hotels on Trip Advisor and all the reviews are quite glowing. We called them this morning and successfully made our reservations. I’m actually very excited about this hotel and am rather glad Los Tilos was unavailable as it lead to this discovery.
So far, not one of the hotels we have booked or tried to book have had any English speaking employees. This is not a problem since Cynthia speaks Spanish quite well, but it is something to consider if you are planning a trip to Spain. I am sure that any of the larger chain or luxury hotels can easily accommodate non-Spanish speaking guests, but getting a room in one of these smaller, private/family owned or “boutique” hotels could be a challenge if you don’t speak the language.
The proprietors of these places seem wary of non-Spanish speaking people seeking to make reservations, probably as a result of misunderstandings about rates, dates, services, etc. That’s understandable. The hotel in Madrid would not even take our reservation over the phone and will only work with us via e-mail. I am sure that is probably so there is a record of what has been agreed upon and way to avoid any misunderstandings that could be caused by the language barrier.
I have to say, it was pretty cool listening to Cynthia negotiate our reservations and doing it all in Spanish. I think her language skills are going to allow us to have an even better experience than we would if neither of us spoke the language.
Up next, finalizing Madrid hotel reservations, more research on Barcelona hotels, more research on rail passes and possibly booking a flight from Granada to Barcelona. No way I am taking a night train again.