3 Steps to Planning the Perfect Staycation

What is a staycation you ask? It's a chance to see your city from a new perspective: the eyes of a tourist. For example, when was the last time you took moment to stop, look around, and truly appreciate the sights, sounds, and smells of your (adopted) home? Often times, the day-to-day tasks distract us from the immense beauty that millions of people pay to see and experience every year. Madrid is one of the places so overwhelmingly beautiful, but also so busy that it's hard to take everything in. Also, I found myself wondering what the tourists were marveling at day after day on my crowded commute to the office every morning. I felt myself growing impatient, short, and even a bit numb to the wonders of this magnificent city! I don't ever want to take this place for granted, so I decided it was time to fall in love all over again with my adopted home. I needed a staycation. 

hotel H10 Villa de la Reina

hotel H10 Villa de la Reina

3 Steps to Planning the Perfect Staycation

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1. Encuentra un hotel donde siempre has querido quedarte y según la disponibilidad, haz una reserva! Nosotros elegimos al hotel H10 Villa de la Reina en la Gran Vía en Madrid. Es un boutique hotel súper mono en pleno centro de Madrid, ubicación inmejorable.   

2. Elige uno o dos restaurantes que te llaman la atención, y haz una reserva.  

3. Prueba una de esas actividades que bajo otras circunstancias es solo para turistas, pero te gustaría probar de todos modos aunque te parece muy cursi. 

                 

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1. Find a hotel that you've always wanted to stay in, and make a reservation! We chose hotel H10 Villa de la Reina on Gran Vía in Madrid. It's the cutest boutique hotel smack dab in the city center! 


2. Find one or two restaurants that you've been meaning to try, and make a reservation. 

3. Try one of those activities that you scoff at because that's "for tourists" and give it a try! (Even if it's corny!)              


view from the balcony on the 5th floor 

view from the balcony on the 5th floor 

lobby hotel H10 Villa de la Reina 

lobby hotel H10 Villa de la Reina 

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Primer Paso — El Hotel 

Yo trabajo al lado del hotel H10 Villa de la Reina y los días cuando voy muy pillado de tiempo, incluso los sitios tan bellos como el H10 Villa de la Reina desaparecen. Esto es lo bello del staycation: la oportunidad de ver tu ciudad desde una perspectiva fresca y nueva. Yo elegí a este hotel por varias razones: soy fan de los boutique hotels, y es obvio que sus diseñadores pasaron mucho tiempo trabajando cada detalle del hotel. Además, los jueves de las 19h hasta las 22h hacen una especia de aperitivo italiano. Si no tienes tiempo para ir a Italia, por qué  no aprovecharte de las cosas maravillosas que tienes aquí mismo? Los viernes hay música en directo de artistas locales que tocan jazz y soul. 

Desde el momento que llegué, me sentí una tranquilidad instantánea: hay una copa de cava bien fría que espera a cada huésped y una sonrisa del asistente que siempre está dispuesto a contestar cualquier pregunta o aclarar dudas. Mi habitación estaba en la quinta planta tenía vistas impresionantes de la Gran Vía. Increíble: la misma calle que camino todos los días parecía totalmente distinto desde arriba. Mi estrés y ansiedad de una semana de trabajo desaparecieron inmediatamente. Viendo Madrid desde esa perspectiva me recordó por qué decidí venir a Madrid a vivir.

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Step One — The Hotel

I work around the corner from hotel H10 Villa de la Reina,  and again, on the days when I'm super busy, even the cutest and prettiest places fall into the background. That's the beauty of the staycation: you get a chance to see your city with a fresh perspective. I chose this place for several reasons: I'm a fan of boutique hotels and it's very apparent that their designers spent a lot of time focusing on every single detail. Also, they host an Italian Aperitif every Thursday from 19h to 22h. Again, if you don't have time to travel to Italy, why not take full advantage of the amazing things right at home. On Friday evenings they have live music from local artists playing everything from jazz to soul music. 

From the moment I arrived, I felt an instant calm: there is a cold glass of cava waiting for each guest at check-in, and a smiling attendant ready to answer any and every question you may have. My room on the fifth floor had a breathtaking view of Gran Vía. It's incredible: the same street I charge down every day looked so different from above! My stress and anxiety from the workweek melted away almost instantly. Seeing Madrid from this perspective reminded me why I moved here in the first place. 

Lobby Hotel H10 Villa de la Reina

Lobby Hotel H10 Villa de la Reina

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The bar, aperitif and restaurant are not just for guests! No matter if you're staying in the hotel or not, you too can enjoy! They also have 3 spacious rooms for conferences and meetings that can be rented. So yes, it's a hotel, but its doors are open to guests and visitors alike: perfect for the staycationer!  For example, the Thursday Vermut de la Reina, or Italian aperitif costs 10 euros and includes your first drink  (beer, wine, soda, or vermut) as well as access to all the food they have on display ranging from individual portions couscous, pasta salad or delicious stuffed pasta; chicken wings, croquetas, and mini caprese salad. They also served tiramisu and fresh fruit for dessert. After your first drink at 10 euros, you can order your second (or third, or fourth) drink at regular price. I recommend the vermut cocktail with fresh orange juice, gin & tonic and of course Spanish vermut! 
 

Breakfast at H10 Villa de la Reina opens as early as 7 a.m. and costs 18 euros for a delicious buffet of cured meats, eggs, pastries, and fresh juices. There's an early bird breakfast in the reception for guests departing early that consists of pastries, coffee and tea. Their attention to detail goes as far as Nescafé instead of the traditional large cup of self-serve coffee. There's yogurt, cakes, fresh fruit and plenty of options open to both guests of the hotels or fans of breakfast! 

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El bar, el aperitivo y el restaurante no solamente son para los invitados!  Da igual si estás quedando en el hotel, tú también puedes disfrutar de todo lo que ofrecen en H10 Villa de la Reina. Hay 3 salas de reuniones que se puede alquilar. Entonces, sí es un hotel; sin embargo, sus puertas están abiertas a visitantes y huéspedes: perfecto para las personas haciendo un staycation. Por ejemplo, el jueves de Vermut de la Reina, o el aperitivo italiano cuesta 10 euros y incluye la primera bebida (cerveza, vino, vermut o refresco) y un bufet libre de tapas y pinxtos: porciones individuales de couscous, ensalada de pasta, ravioli, alitas de pollo, croquetas y ensalada de caprese. También había tiramisu y fruta fresca de postre.  Después de la primera bebida puedes la segunda (o tercera o cuarta) al precio normal. Recomiendo el coctel de vermut con zumo de naranja, gin y tonic y claro, vermut español. 


El desayuno del H10 Villa de la Reina abre a las 7 de la mañana y cuesta unos 18 euros para un bufet libre delicioso de embutidos, huevos, bollería y zumos frescos. Para los clientes que se van muy pronto  H10 Villa de la Reina ofrece un desayuno exprés con bollería, zumo, café y té. Su atención al detalle llega hasta el café: usan Nescafé, no el café genérico y típico. Hay yogures, bizcocho, fruta fresca y un mogollón de opciones para huéspedes del hotel y los aficionados del buen desayuno! 

 

vermut de la reina 

vermut de la reina 

vermut de la reina

vermut de la reina

vermut de la reina 

vermut de la reina 

Step Two: Choose a Restaurant / Elige un restaurante

La Gabinoteca -- Fusion tapas in the city center / tapas fusión en el centro de la ciudad

El Imparcial -- Beautiful and delicious on La Latina / bonito y delicioso en La Latina

El Perro y la Galleta -- Traditional with a twist / Platos tradicionales con un toque diferente

 

Step Three: Try Something New / Prueba algo nuevo

Beer bikes anyone?  You know it looks fun!

What about indoor wall climbing?

Ever wanted to paint your own ceramic pottery? Now you can! 

 

Why Should your next Holiday be a Staycation?

- Playing tourist for a weekend will remind you just how great your city is, and you'll get a fresh perspective on all its beauty and wonder that's so easy to overlook on the day-to-day grind. 

- Packing for a staycation is super easy! There are no baggage rules to follow or limitations on weight or liquids. 

- It's often times much cheaper, and convenient than traveling. You save money and travel time, and can fully take advantage of your holiday instead of spending 25% of your vacay in the airport or in transit. 

- We often put off the "cheesy touristy things" because we don't want to be well, a tourist. But, there's a reason that people travel far and wide to tour those landmarks in your city. Grab an audio guide, and even a fanny pack if you want to really play the part, and learn about your adopted home! 

- Everything looks better from above: take yourself off of the crowded streets and check out your city from a rooftop or balcony and watch how much more peaceful and stress free you'll feel. You don't have to travel far to feel like you've come a long way from home. 

Breakfast at H10 Villa de la Reina

Breakfast at H10 Villa de la Reina

Breakfast at H10 Villa de la Reina

Breakfast at H10 Villa de la Reina


Danni, Community + Content Director at Las Morenas de España, is a twenty-something, Chicago native currently residing in Madrid. Lover of language, words, and travel, she's managed to combine all of her passions through her work. In her free time, you can find her exploring the winding streets of Madrid, hunting down good flight deals, planning her next adventure and writing & researching for LMDES. Danni loves spicy food, natural hair, music and of course, her wonderful life partner. If you need to find her, she’s the girl with huge hair and her face buried in her Kindle.