El Zaguan, an adult hostel in the historical area of Granada has a great deal to recommend it. The accomaditions are basic, but it may well be the cleanest place I have ever stayed: not even a hint of mold around the tub, no dirt in corners--just plain clean, with a capital "C." The cost is low, 48 euros for a double with a good bed and a private bath. The location is good: not far to the bus to the Alhambra and other areas easily reachable by bus, and lots of little local eateries scattered around, filled with locals, and very welcoming to strangers; they also have low prices. The first one we had two glasses of wine and some little sandwiches (a hearty tapas I assume) charged us a total of 5.1 euros. The little gelato shop is excellent, and also serves a good breakfast at 7:00 a.m., which isn't all that common in Granada.
The main reason for recommending El Zaguan, however, is the people. I can't imagine how people could be more helpful or friendlier. I had reserved our room through Booking.com so I had no previous contact with the hotel, but I discovered that it would not be possible to purchase tickets to The Alhambra on line for the date we had allotted for our visit--and it wasn't possible to change our plans. I decided to call the hostel because I had read that "nicer hotels can often arrange tickets." I knew our hostel didn't fit that description, but determined to try anyway. I called about midnight our time in order to reach someone at a reasonable hour in Granada. He tried with his extremely limited English, and I tried with my extremely limited Spanish. Finally, he said "call back at 12:00 noon; we have someone who speaks perfect English." so I set my alarm for 4:00 a.m. so I could call. "Perfect English" really isn't the right term, but a whole lot better than my Spanish. We both tried again, and achieved a sort of understanding. She said she didn't know how to buy the tickets, but "my boss does." With a great deal of difficulty, I managed to convey my email address (letters don't sound the same in Spanish as they do in English), and I awaited news. On some whim, I checked my spam folder, which I never do, and sure enough, two emails. He would buy the tickets for us. I wrote back with the date and asked for directions to the hotel----used on-line free translation to make my email comprehensible. He wrote back, and he had, this time, used the on-line translators, also. He had our tickets, and he sent detailed instructions for getting to the hotel. (There are MANY areas of Granada where non-locals can't drive, and the enforcement is by camera and a huge fine when you turn in the rental car, so he stressed the need to follow instructions.) He didn't ask for money.
When we arrived to check in, he opened his wallet; he had been carrying around our tickets for a month for us. We offered to pay for the room and/or the tickets and the response was "Oh, no.....later. After you are comfortable." We tried to pay later, only to be told again, "Oh, no....not now. Rest." Later that evening we discovered we had left the cord and transformer to the computer on board the cruise ship. DISASTER. He didn't quite understand what we needed, but he had a friend who spoke better English. He called in the friend. My husband and the two men discussed our need. Neither of them was sure what we needed, but they had a friend a few doors down that had a kind of "Used Shop," and they thought he might know. All of them walked down to the friend's establishment. The friend spoke no English, but did know what we needed, and began pulling cords out of drawers. He thought he might have something. He would bring it to the hostel in 30 minutes. We waited. In about 45 minutes, we were told to take the computer to the shop, so my husband left. In 3 or 4 minutes, he was back with a cord--20 euros, but had we been staying in the area, he would have rented it to us for 5 euros a month. I don't know how any people could have been more helpful and done any more to make us feel at home and make us have a good experience.
Hospederia El Zaguan, Neuva del Santisimo, 4 tell: 958 29 43 20 www.hospederiaelzaguan.com
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