Barbieri International Hostel is an old area of the city north of Grand Via. The area is full of charm, with many tapas bars and restaurants frequented by locals as well as the adventurous tourists. Therefore, if you want to "go native," this may be the area for you.
The small road seems rundown and on reaching the address, we were quite shocked, as the building looked abandoned and the old door is full of graffiti. We assumed that it had closed down, but upon checking the buzzers, we found the hostel name on the second floor, so we buzzed and got let in and the receptionist greeted us with English and a smile. All is well, except for the old and rundown environment.
Rooms and Bathrooms
We stayed in the front room with six sleeping bunks; it has high ceilings and broken tiled floors. There is a tiny balcony onto the street and AC for the hotter months. Along the corridor are the bathrooms that are shared -- they are adequate but of poor quality with too much wear for the price you are paying.
There is a good kitchen to rustle up food -- it's a good way to save money in expensive Madrid. The lounge area is a good size with sofas and tables. There is one large TV and loads of DVD on a bookshelf for anyone to watch. There were only girls staying there when we went and that may be because the environment is secure -- perhaps no one would want to come in! With twenty-four-hour security, that is a plus. There are full-size lockable lockers too.
Overall, we would not recommend this place for a stay, unless there is nowhere else available -- just because it is so dilapidated and surely is not worth the money being asked. It is a good fifteen-minute walk from Place dela Cibeles (the airport express bus stop).