- Unattractive setting
- Poor sound insulation in rooms
- Few on-site facilities or common areas
Clean and contemporary no-frills hostel without the dorms
Although calling itself a hostel, the Hostal Gala is a far cry from dormitories stuffed with bunk beds and shared bathrooms of questionable cleanliness. While the property does occupy the third floor of a slightly grimy-looking 19th-century apartment block, once buzzed in throughout its handsome carved wooden doors (and having negotiated stairs to the elevator) visitors arrive to a clean, freshly renovated space decked out in a cool contemporary black-and-white color palette with fun and funky furnishings and lots of modern wall art. As a budget guesthouse, there's little in the way of common areas beyond a small lounge and an area with a pair of drinks-vending machines -- though this is plenty for most of the generally younger clientele who just want a good value room, though without having to share with strangers.
Not the prettiest setting in central Madrid but just two minutes from the Gran Vía
While the Plaza de Santo Domingo that the hotel is situated on isn't the most attractive in Madrid, the location is very central with plenty of the city's attractions and nightlife well within walking distance. In fact there are numerous bars and restaurant within a couple blocks, as well as three metro stations within a few minutes' walk. One of Spain's, if not Europe's, liveliest road -- Gran Vía -- is two minutes away on foot, while the more sedate Royal Palace of Madrid and Sabatini Gardens are just 10 minutes away.
Great shopping around Sol and Gran Via are an easy walk away, as is young nightlife in the Huertas neighborhood. La Latina, a tapas and al fresco dining and drinking hot spot, is a quick stroll away (cross beautiful Plaza Mayor to get there), and the Austrias area, with beautiful 17th-century architecture and cobblestone streets is just a few blocks from the hotel. Sol is the heart of Madrid, both geographically speaking and in a figurative sense. “Kilometer Zero” (where all roads in Spain are said to start), shopping, dining, nightlife, and major tourist attractions are all here. This means many tourists in Madrid never leave the neighborhood.
Basic but clean and contemporary rooms -- some with balconies, all with impressive showers
Hostal Gala has 22 rooms and apartments catering to everything from single travelers to groups of up to six people (spread between three bedrooms). Interiors are basic but all are air-conditioned with fresh, contemporary decor and funky wallpaper. Standard in-room amenities include free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs -- though channels are limited -- while bathrooms are nicely-finished with hydro-massage and tropical-rain showers. While single rooms can be very small, many rooms have French windows that open to small balconies, while apartments include well-equipped kitchens that include washing machines. Although management is planning to implement soundproofing in rooms, at the time of writing sound insulation both internal and external was poor -- though noise is generally not a problem.
Few facilities beyond muffin breakfast and drinks machines
There's very little going on at the Hostal Gala beyond the rooms, however a tray of muffins and pastries is left out by the drinks machines for those who need a quick breakfast (for a small charge). There is a TV in the lobby too, Wi-Fi is free throughout, and the reception desk is manned and available to offer assistance around the clock. Private parking is also available nearby (though pricey) and reception can arrange car and bike hire.