Sleeping and Socializing: Cats Hostel Madrid Lavapiés Review

Looking for the best 3 days in Madrid itinerary? I've got you! After living in Madrid for 4 months these are the BEST things to do in Madrid in a few days! | best things to do in Madrid in 3 days | best madrid itinerary | perfect madrid itinerary | madrid travel guide | madrid spain | madrid for the first time | madrid for first timers

Disclosure: I was given a complimentary stay in exchange for this review but as always, all opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links. 

As a solo traveler on a budget, I choose my travel accommodation very carefully. It needs to be affordable, well located, and social without feeling like spring break in Cabo. I’m no party animal, but I do like making friends (who doesn’t?), and hostels are one of the easiest ways to meet people on the road.

As some of you know, I often lean toward staying at Airbnbs when I can because I love being able to get a feel for local living. However, after a few people asked me about accommodation in Madrid, I knew it was time to buckle down and research some hostels. See how much I love you guys?

Enter Cats Hostel Madrid Lavapiés, one of Madrid’s coolest places to stay for budget travelers. When I first spoke with Daniela, the hostel manager, I told her I was looking for two things:

  1. A hostel for budget travelers, not backpackers. I’m willing to pay a little extra for comfortable accommodation. #NoLongerACollegeStudent
  2. A hostel that was social but NOT for partying. I like to leave the party at the door because I’m a grandma.

Read on to find out why Cats Hostel Madrid Lavapies is my #1 pick for accommodation in Madrid.


The location:

Mad Hostel is located on the north end of Lavapies, an ultra-hip up-and-coming neighborhood in the Madrid city center. It’s a 2-minute walk from the Anton Martin metro station, and a ten-minute walk from Madrid’s main central station, Sol. Mad’s convenient location meant that the only time I used the metro was to get to and from the airport and bus station. My lazy self got a good amount of steps in on this visit.

Note: Lavapies gets a bad rep from some of the older Spaniards, but I can assure you that I never once felt unsafe in this colorful neighborhood. It’s always lively and is filled with tons of cheap shops and amazing ethnic food.


The rooms:

I’m admittedly a bit of a princess when it comes to sharing my space with strangers – aka, I don’t like to do it. At Cats, I stayed in a twin private ensuite, but they also offer a variety of dorms that sleep between 4-6 people each.

All the rooms come with AC / heaters (a must in Madrid!), outlets, reading lamps, and of course, free WiFi. If you stay in a private room, you also get towels, toiletries, and hangers. The rooms are ultra-clean, comfortable and modern – mine would have easily fit another person.


The ambiance:

If I had to choose one thing to rave about, it would be the ambiance of Cats Hostel. I know I mentioned this earlier but I’ll repeat – party hostels are so NOT my jam. Cats is all about socializing, The social calendar was chock-full of activities including tapas tours, walking tours, karaoke nights, salsa classes and more! There’s also a rooftop terrace open from 6pm – 11pm daily where people can hang out, get a drink, and listen to music. There’s also plenty of space in the reception area to chill as well. Socializing made easy for the solo / social traveler is definitely an accommodation win in my book!


The price:

If you’re planning on staying in a shared room, the prices are excellent. Six person dorms (the largest rooms at Cats Hostel) start at €14 per night, which is a steal. I have to admit that since Cats doesn’t offer any single private rooms (only double rooms), the price for a solo traveler to stay in a private room is on the pricier side. However, if you come with a friend and split the bill, then you get amazing ambiance and privacy on a budget. The ambiance alone is definitely worth paying for.


The extras:

  • Free breakfast: Get your day started right with breakfast, the most important meal of the day. Mad offers a variety of cereals, pastries, and toast – totally on par with what you eat for breakfast in Spain. There’s also water, juice, and a fancy coffee machine that makes cappuccinos and other caffeinated drinks. Did I mention it’s free?
  • Activities: I know I briefly mentioned the activities above, but you can access a full overview of the activities here. A lot of those are free too, including the paella class, salsa class and walking tours.
  • Strong Wi-Fi: I spent more time working than I’d like to admit, but it did give me a good opportunity to test out the free Wi-Fi. It’s spectacular and works in every corner of the hostel.
  • Laundry: Laundry is never free, but at Mad it’s inexpensive AND conveniently located in the hostel itself. You can wash and dry your clothes without having to schlep them to some laundromat and guard them, which is a luxury for long-term travelers.


The (minor) shortcomings:

Visiting Madrid, Spain and looking for budget friendly accommodation? Stay at Mad Hostel Madrid for a social experience on a budget! |
The key struggle of 2016

No accommodation is perfect but I must say that the drawbacks at Cats are quite minimal. My main “complaint” was that the room didn’t have the AC control. It was controlled by the lobby, which meant a trip to the lobby every time I wanted the AC on or off. Not a deal breaker but a bit of a pain. It’s also worth adding that the door and key system is great for security since it’s complicated enough to confuse the average person, at least at the beginning. Once you get the hang of it it’s fine, but trying to get into my room the first day was comical, to say the least. Lastly, there’s no hook for the shower hose, which makes washing your hair an amusing experience. All these things are pretty minor in my book, but I’m a big believer in comprehensive reviews.

Mostly, I wish I’d had more time to spend socializing with people rather than working! But hey, can’t complain about doing the work I love, right?


Overall, I had an amazing stay at Cats Hostel and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a social place to stay in Madrid on a budget. You can book it HERE. The ambiance, cool activities, and comfortable amenities make it a hostel I would return to again and again. Side note: if you’re planning a trip to Madrid, don’t forget to check out my budget guide to the city!

P.S. If you find yourself looking for cool stuff around Lavapies, check out Habibi for fabulous Lebanese food and El Rastro Flea Market on Sundays for an extensive collection of knick-knacks and goodies.



Book your stay with this link!

Cats Hostel Madrid Lavapiés
C/ De la Cabeza, 24
Madrid, 28012
Telephone: +34 91 506 48 40

More Spain Resources

Planning a trip to Spain soon? Check out ALL my posts on Spain below:


Tell me: What makes a hostel a cool place to stay? Do you have any accommodation deal-breakers? Share in the comments below!

12 thoughts on “Sleeping and Socializing: Cats Hostel Madrid Lavapiés Review

  1. Claire says:

    This hostel looks great! I haven’t stayed in many hostels in Spain, last time I was in a Madrid I stayed in a hotel but would like to go back and explore properly – and stay here! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Sally E says:

      I know what you mean! I’ve stayed at Airbnbs in Madrid before but decided to change it up this time. I highly recommend a return trip and a stay here 🙂

  2. Candy says:

    I’m like you and tend be on the princess side when it comes to accommodations 🙂 But this place looks super nice and clean. I’ve never tried a hostel, but this one doesn’t seem like the type of hostel that I usually imagine them to be like.

    • Sally E says:

      I’m with you! It has been awhile since I’d stayed at a proper hostel but this one really blew me away! I’m finding that hostels nowadays are a lot more luxurious and clean! You should check one out if you get a chance 🙂

  3. Anne Slater-Brooks says:

    My backpacking days are well and truly behind me but I’m amazed at how backpacker places have come on in the last fifteen years. This looks so cool and clean which has been my gripe with some of the places I’ve stayed.

    • Sally E says:

      I know what you mean! They’ve really evolved a lot even in the last 5 years! I’m loving the slightly luxurious options I see nowadays. 🙂

  4. Patricia Steffy says:

    Hostels have definitely changed since my college days. This place looks amazing! And I’m with you, I don’t do roommates, but it would really work well if I was traveling with Andy. Love that there are social areas like the terrace, but that it isn’t party central. I also love how many activities you can join through Mad. It really does look like a fantastic budget option!

    • Sally E says:

      Hostels are getting so luxurious nowadays! It’s nice to see some good options when on a budget. And agreed with you – the “social not party” aspect is very ideal, as are all the activity options!

  5. Star Lengas | 87pages says:

    You had me at paella! This hostel seems much more my vibe, I’d definitely be willing to book the private suite if I’m traveling with my hubby … Although I’m wondering if they have a full bed. That would be nice! I haven’t stayed in a hostel in a long time but I wouldn’t mind checking this one out!

    • Sally E says:

      Right?! I’m not usually about the party hostel life but this place was really chill and perfect! I don’t recall if they have double beds or not unfortunately but they respond to emails quickly :). Happy travels!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *