I think I got something lost in translation. I am staying in Madrid starting next week in one of Tournights apartments, as is in Rick's guide, and got a message that the security deposit of 200 euro and 1269 for the rent to be due in cash on arrival before even seeing the place. I have tried to contact them but as their English isn't very good I'm guessing that I'm not going to get a response! So, does anyone have any experience with them? It's not exactly a good idea to carry that much cash around anywhere as it is and their suggestion is to get it at the ATM at the airport. Being that that much money can't be taken out at once I'm lead to believe that they mean they want the deposit in cash right away. I already gave them a deposit with a credit card so it's clear they do have access to that. I'm not stressing over this, it would just be nice to know in advance!
I wouldn't worry about not getting to see it first. I whould be inside with the key in hand before paying. If this is for a long stay, or the manager will be around again another day, ask about paying in two installments.
To be able to withdraw more cash in a short time, try these strategies: ask your bank(s) to raise the daily withdrawal limit on each debit card you have. Chase was willing to raise mine to $1000 recently, higher than other years. Not all Spanish ATMs will give out this much at one time, but it's fine to make multiple withdrawals to reach your daily limit. Deutsche Bank machines tend to have very generous limits and they're well represented in Madrid.
You can also get the cash from a bank at home, but they give you a less favorable exchange rate, regardless of whether they say "no fees."
In addition to Laura's suggestion of getting your bank to raise your daily withdrawal limit, you can also open a second account (at your bank or another bank). If you're traveling with someone else, you can each withdraw money.
It's very common for places in Europe to use a credit card for a deposit and to then want payment in cash. They pay higher fees for accepting credit cards than merchants in the US do. It's also common for apartments to want full payment on arrival.