Review: Renfe AVE Preferente, Barcelona – Madrid
After several days in Barcelona, it was time to re-position back to Madrid for our return ticket back home to Canada. Instead of an internal flight, we stuck to the convenient and now tried and tested train trip from city centre to city centre. Spain does train travel right with comfortable Renfe AVE service, which led to an enjoyable transportation experience.
This post is one chapter in our Around the World in Star Alliance First Class via China, Thailand and Spain. This trip was booked using Air Canada Aeroplan miles. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
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Read more from this trip:
- Trip Introduction: Around the World in Star Alliance First Class via China, Thailand and Spain
- Air Canada Executive Class, Vancouver – Los Angeles
- Star Alliance Lounge, Tom Bradley International Terminal, Los Angeles
- Asiana Airlines First Class: Los Angeles – Seoul Incheon
- Asiana Airlines First Class Lounge, Seoul Incheon
- Asiana Airlines Business Class, Seoul Incheon – Shanghai Pu Dong
- Renaissance Shanghai Yu Gardens, Shanghai, China
- Shanghai, China
- Air China Domestic Business Lounge, Shanghai, China
- Air China, Shanghai – Beijing
- Swisshotel China Hong Kong Macau Center, Beijing, China
- Beijing, China
- Visiting the Great Wall of China at Miytanyu
- Air China Business Lounge, Beijing Capital Airport
- Air China, Beijing – Shanghai
- Riding the Shanghai Maglev at 430 km/h
- Shanghai Airlines Business Lounge, Shanghai, China
- Thai Airways Royal Silk, Shanghai – Bangkok
- Thai Airways Royal Silk Domestic Lounge, Bangkok
- Thai Airways, Bangkok – Phuket
- Le Meridien Khao Lak, Thailand
- Ko Phi Phi Don Islands, Thailand
- Thai Airways Royal Silk Domestic Lounge, Phuket
- Thai Airways, Phuket – Bangkok
- Le Meridien Bangkok
- Thirty Six Hours in Bangkok, Thailand
- Thai Airways Royal First Lounge, Bangkok
- Thai Airways Royal First Class, Bangkok – Madrid
- AC Hotel Carlton, Madrid
- Three Days in Madrid, Spain
- Day Tripping to Salamanca, Spain
- Renfe AVE Preferente Business, Madrid – Barcelona
- AC Hotel Barcelona Sants, Barcelona
- Exploring Barrio La Rambla in Barcelona
- Getting into Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain
- Renfe AVE Preferente Business, Barcelona – Madrid
- Puerta del Alicala VIP Lounge, Madrid, Spain
- Lufthansa Business Class, Madrid – Frankfurt
- Novotel Mainz, Germany
- Walking through Mainz, Germany
- Lufthansa First Class Terminal, Frankfurt, Germany
- Lufthansa First Class, Frankfurt – Seattle
- Air Canada, Seattle – Vancouver
Review: Renfe AVE Preferente Business, Barcelona Sants – Madrid Atocha
For our return train trip, we had the same routing, Barcelona Sants to Madrid Atocha. After checking out of the AC Hotel Barcelona Sants and our high risk roll of luggage across the Sants Train Station square, we sought seclusion and security in the much more impressive looking Renfe Sala Club in Barcelona Sants.
Inside the Renfe Sala Club at Barcelona Sants:
The entry was significantly better marked. It was also interesting to see that this particular lounge was before the security screening checkpoint, or on the public side, compared to the Madrid Atocha lounge which was on the secure side. Access today was provided courtesy of the business class status of our ticket.
Once inside, we were treated to a quiet room that was decorated in a manner similar to the BMI Lounge in London. A wild print was across the beverage wall, and a delicate curtain separated the seating and dining areas.
The usual snacks were on offer, in addition to canned olives. As in our Renfe Sala Club experience in Madrid, other than beer, there was no alcohol on offer.
Monitors were available to help you keep track of the time and the assigned train platforms.
Before we knew it, it was time to head down to the train platform for our trip from Barcelona to Madrid.
On Board Renfe AVE Barcelona to Madrid:
When it was time to depart, we descended into the dark basement of Barcelona Sants and boarded our train.
Barcelona Madrid (Barcelona Sants Zargoza Deli – Madrid Puerta de Atocha)
AVE 3152 Preferente Class (business 3 class train)
0:300 PM 5:45 PM
May 26, 2012
Cost: 88.25 (per pax)
I was curious to see what turista (economy) class was like so once I was on board, I took a little walk around. It was pretty packed to say the least. It was a slightly tighter seats in a 2-2 configuration, instead of a 1-2 configuration in Preferente. There were also lots of children being settled down before the big train ride. This was on a Saturday mid day which was likely a good time for families to travel.
We ended up returning to our Preferente Business Class seats. The seats were much like our trip down. They were comfortable without being over the top luxurious.
For a little orientation, I went to check out the Cafeteria car. It offered the usual take away snacks.
I returned to preferente where the menus were being handed out for the day. Todays lunch was a smoked salmon appetizer, gazpachio cold soup, and chicken breast with olive oil.
The ride back was pretty uneventful with similar scenery.
Before long, we arrived gracefully in Madrid’s Atocha Station. We self transferred to our hotel for the night.
Renfe AVE was a pleasant way to travel between the two cities. Unfortunately, this convenience does not come cheap! Our tickets Round Trip were 151€ each ($190 USD). We likely saved on taxi transfers by not having to travel out to the airport on each flight which offset the more expensive fares. Overall, our experiences on Renfe AVE Preferente Domestic were much better than our recent DB Bahn domestic First Class experiences in Germany. We would easily use them again on our journeys around domestic Spain.