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Review: Marriott Madrid Airport Auditorium Hotel
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I had just one night in Madrid, as I was landing at around 2PM, and departing at 11PM the following night. Since this trip was in the middle of the week and my flights didn’t have wifi, I knew I’d be busy working while on the ground. I also spent some time in Madrid a few months ago, when I stayed at the Westin Palace Madrid.
Therefore I decided just to stay near the airport. I recently did a daytime transit in Madrid and stayed at the Hilton Madrid Airport, which was quite nice.
However, I wanted to try something new. After looking at options, I decided to book the Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel & Conference Center. It’s a bit of an odd hotel, since it’s not actually marketed as being an airport hotel, even though it has a free airport shuttle.
While I don’t have status with Marriott, I figured it would be cool to try out another Marriott property, given Marriott’s upcoming takeover of Starwood. The rate for a base room was 110EUR, and a club room was 150EUR. I decided to pay for a club room, since I wanted to compare their club lounge experience to what I’m used to at Starwood.
Upon exiting Terminal 4 I followed the signage towards hotel shuttle pick-up, which was just outside the terminal exit. I got outside at around 2:40PM, and called the hotel to see when the next shuttle would arrive. They said it would be there at around 3PM, and sure enough it was.
The bus had 19 seats and was fairly comfortable. It quickly filled up, with the other passengers mostly being Brits who seemed to be attending a convention at the hotel.
In theory it should have been a quick shuttle ride, though the bus made stops at three other shuttle pick-up areas, so the ride took over 20 minutes.
We eventually pulled up to the hotel, which has quite a nice exterior, with a wavy design and lots of glass.
The lobby was beautiful as well, with the reception to the left and the lobby bar to the right.
Overall the lobby area was inviting and well designed, so kudos to the Marriott design team for that.
The lobby was packed when I checked in, as I quickly realized there’s a reason this hotel is marketed as an “Auditorium & Conference Hotel” rather than as an airport hotel. The hotel is huge (with 850+ rooms), and I couldn’t even begin to wrap my head around the number of conferences which seemed to be going on, as the lobby had more people with conference name badges than a Las Vegas convention hall.
Fortunately I was quickly helped, and within a few minutes I was checked in. While I usually appreciate a quick check-in process, the guy helping me was sloppy. He said almost nothing and then handed me my key.
“Where is the club lounge located, and what hours is it open?”
“Oh, I don’t think you were upgraded to it.”
“Right, I paid for it…”
“Oh, well it’s open constantly.”
“So when are breakfast and the evening cocktails served?”
“Breakfast is anytime in the morning and then there’s food the rest of the day.”
The hotel consists of several “blocks,” so I walked down the long conference hall to the elevator in the block I was located in.
From there I took the elevator up to the third (top) floor, where my room was located.
I was assigned room 3234, which was really room #34 on the third floor in the second block.
The room itself was a decent size by European standards, and seemed to be recently renovated. It featured an entryway with the bathroom to the left and a closet to the right.
The room featured two twin beds which were pushed together. As I’ve explained before, I just don’t understand this system. If I want to sleep with someone, two beds pushed together won’t do the trick. If I don’t want to sleep with someone, why would I want to have the two beds pushed together?
Fortunately the beds were comfortable, so I actually got good sleep, despite it basically being a twin bed.
In the corner was a table with two chairs. While Marriotts seem to be eliminating desks from hotel rooms, this compromise works for me, where you basically have a dining table which can double as a desk.
There was also a TV across from the bed.
Back near the entrance was a kettle, along with instant coffee, which doesn’t do the trick for me.
There was also a minibar with some soft drinks and beer.
The bathroom was functional, and featured a sink, walk-in shower, toilet, and bidet.
The room faced the interior courtyard of the hotel, which was at least fairly nice. I believe my room was overlooking the roof of the conference center, but at least they put faux grass on it to make it look nicer. While it wasn’t much of a view, at least it was quiet, which is great for an airport overnight.
I should also note that the room had blackout shades. Like pitch black ones, in the sense that they could be lowered in daylight and you couldn’t see a thing. I love that.
Wifi quality in the hotel was good, and you didn’t even have to log-in. It connected automatically.
The executive lounge was located just down the hall from my room, and physically was a nice space. It featured two sides.
One side had couches, and sort of felt like a living room.
The living room side had a small business center with a computer and printer.
Meanwhile the other side had dining tables.
The lounge served breakfast daily from 7AM until 11AM, and then appetizers from 11AM until 10PM.
Mainly I like club lounges because they’re a nice place to sit and work during the day without being in your room. The lounge had a Nespresso machine, which I took full advantage of.
There were also soft drinks and beer available all day.
I was also impressed that they had a legitimate snack selection all day, including fresh fruit, cheese, salmon, sweets, etc.
However, I came back in the evening and asked when the evening appetizers would be available, and she explained that they had the same selection all day. So while it’s impressive that they have legitimate snacks available throughout the day, it’s extremely underwhelming for an international club lounge evening spread, in my opinion. There are almost always at least some hot options, but that wasn’t the case here.
So I’m not sure whether to be impressed or disappointed by the setup, as it was a gorgeous lounge physically.
In the morning I returned for breakfast.
The spread consisted of fresh fruit, cheese, cold cuts, juice, croissants, pastries, yogurt, bread, cereal, and an omelet station.
The friendly associate in the lounge proactively offered me a coffee.
Overall I thought it was a decent spread, though not great.
Now let me share something which really ticked me off about the hotel, since it is ultimately an airport hotel. I slept from about 8PM until 1AM, and then couldn’t sleep after that. I was quite hungry when I woke up, and found out that the hotel doesn’t have 24/7 room service. Instead it’s only open from 7AM until midnight. Personally I think 24/7 room service at an airport hotel should be a given, and if it’s not going to be 24/7, 7AM isn’t an early enough start.
The only thing the hotel did have at night were some vending machines with soft drinks, chips, cookies, etc.
The following day I asked about the possibility of paying for late check-out, though they informed me they were fully committed. So I checked out at noon, but then still hung around the hotel until 7PM getting caught up on work, before heading to the airport. After all, the lobby was a comfortable place from which to work, with fast wifi and good seating options.
I stopped by the lobby bar for lunch, where I had sparkling water and a pizza, which were great.
I can’t stress enough just how big of a conference hotel this is. I sat in the lobby quietly working all day, but I’ve never been in a lobby which was as loud as this one. There were several conferences which constantly seemed to have breaks, and no one seemed to have an inside voice.
Of course at this point I was basically just loitering in the hotel so I don’t have much of a leg to stand on, but be aware that the public spaces in this hotel aren’t especially relaxing.
I should also note that the hotel has a fairly small gym, though there was no one there when I used it (come to think of it, that might be because it was at 4AM). 😉
I took the shuttle back to Madrid Airport Terminal 1 that evening, where my flight was departing from.
Marriott Madrid Airport bottom line
Physically I thought the Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel was a nice enough hotel, from the public spaces to the rooms to the club lounge. Even though it’s marketed as a conference hotel, it’s also practical for those just looking for a quick overnight near Madrid Airport.
I was simultaneously impressed and underwhelmed by the club lounge. While it was physically beautiful and while the daytime spread was impressive, I was disappointed by the lack of an evening spread.
But my biggest takeaway is that this really feels like a conference hotel, and all the public spaces are constantly crowded and loud.
So while I might return once Marriott and Starwood merge (since I’d have top tier status then), in the meantime I’d return to the Hilton Madrid Airport, given that I have Hilton HHonors Diamond status.