Location:The hostal is on the fifth floor (reached by elevator) of Calle Magdalena 8, a major thoroughfare that connects Plaza Tirso de Molina (whose eponymous Metro station is a minute’s walk away) and Calle de Atocha. It also divides Central Madrid from the scruffy multinational neighborhood of Lavapiés, although the area around the hostal itself is quite safe and remarkably quiet. It’s approximately ten minutes by foot to the Plaza Mayor and fifteen minutes to the Puerta del Sol, both of which are slightly uphill. It’s a straightforward ten to fifteen minute stroll downhill to either the Prado or the Reina Sofia, and the restaurants of the characterful Huertas neighborhood and the Rastro (Madrid’s legendary Sunday flea market) are only about five minutes away. Personally, I couldn’t have been happier with the location.
Rooms: My single room, a bargain at €22, was small but not cramped, and furnished with a closet, small table, and writing desk, as well as a sink and mirror, all in excellent condition. The single bed was the most comfortable of its kind I encountered in equivalent lodgings elsewhere in Spain and amply furnished with blankets, an important consideration given Madrid’s interminable and cold winter, which had not fully dissipated at the time of my visit in April. The room itself was well-heated, although there was nothing to suggest it was air-conditioned in summer. The window was quite tiny – so while the room was comfortable I wouldn’t recommend it if you intend to spend much time inside (then again, if you are you’re missing one of Europe’s liveliest cities!)
Service: I’ve never seen anyone take more pride in keeping their guesthouse a clean and welcoming place than Lola and Ludmil, and its spotless halls and bathrooms were the result. They’re wonderful hosts, full of insights about Madrid and Spain, and as immigrants to the capital themselves take special care to welcome solo travelers, which I particularly appreciated. They also introduced me to others traveling alone and staying in the hostal. They’re incredibly responsive to questions submitted by email and pride themselves on replying quickly.
Madrid is a wonderful city, but one best appreciated if you can get into its rhythms. Staying at Hostal Numancia and Lola and Ludmil’s copious and helpful advice, as well as introductions, enabled me to do so. It’s in large part due to their hospitality that I look forward to returning to Madrid and (naturally) staying here again.
by Owen Lipsett
New York, New York
September 30, 2005
From journal Madrid: Spain's True Heart