Review: Marriott Madrid Airport Auditorium Hotel

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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.

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Madrid Airport hotel shuttle pick-up

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.

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Marriott Madrid Airport shuttle

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Marriott Madrid Airport shuttle

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.

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Marriott Madrid Airport exterior

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Marriott Madrid Airport entrance

The lobby was beautiful as well, with the reception to the left and the lobby bar to the right.

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Marriott Madrid Airport lobby

Overall the lobby area was inviting and well designed, so kudos to the Marriott design team for that.

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Marriott Madrid Airport lobby

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Marriott Madrid Airport lobby

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.

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Marriott Madrid Airport reception

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.”

Alrighty then…

The hotel consists of several “blocks,” so I walked down the long conference hall to the elevator in the block I was located in.

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Marriott Madrid Airport lobby

From there I took the elevator up to the third (top) floor, where my room was located.

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Marriott Madrid Airport atrium

I was assigned room 3234, which was really room #34 on the third floor in the second block.

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel club rooms

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel hallway

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel club room entrance

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.

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel club room entryway

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?

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel club room

Fortunately the beds were comfortable, so I actually got good sleep, despite it basically being a twin bed.

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel club room twin beds

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel club room

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.

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel club room sitting area

There was also a TV across from the bed.

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel club room sitting area & TV

Back near the entrance was a kettle, along with instant coffee, which doesn’t do the trick for me.

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel club coffee setup

There was also a minibar with some soft drinks and beer.

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel club room minibar

The bathroom was functional, and featured a sink, walk-in shower, toilet, and bidet.

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel club room bathroom

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel club room sink

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel club room toilet

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel club room shower

Toiletries are provided by Acca Kappa, which were quite nice. Certainly better than the toiletries offered by Sheraton and Hyatt.

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel club room toiletries

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.

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel club room view

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.

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel executive lounge

One side had couches, and sort of felt like a living room.

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel executive lounge

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel executive lounge

The living room side had a small business center with a computer and printer.

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel executive lounge business center

Meanwhile the other side had dining tables.

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel executive lounge

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel executive lounge

The lounge served breakfast daily from 7AM until 11AM, and then appetizers from 11AM until 10PM.

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel executive lounge hours

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.

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel executive lounge Nespresso coffee

There were also soft drinks and beer available all day.

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel executive lounge all day drinks

I was also impressed that they had a legitimate snack selection all day, including fresh fruit, cheese, salmon, sweets, etc.

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel executive lounge fruit selection

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel executive lounge appetizers

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel executive lounge appetizers

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel executive lounge appetizers

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.

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel executive lounge breakfast

The spread consisted of fresh fruit, cheese, cold cuts, juice, croissants, pastries, yogurt, bread, cereal, and an omelet station.

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel executive lounge breakfast

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel executive lounge breakfast

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel executive lounge breakfast

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel executive lounge breakfast

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel executive lounge breakfast

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel executive lounge breakfast

The friendly associate in the lounge proactively offered me a coffee.

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel executive lounge 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.

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel vending machine

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.

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel lobby bar nuts & sparkling water

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel lobby bar pizza

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). 😉

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel gym

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel gym

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Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel gym

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.

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Comments

  1. Would you recommend paying the 40 euro surcharge for the club room if you weren’t the points guy and it weren’t your job? Honest question, not trolling.

  2. I stayed at this hotel for a conference last year before it was rebranded. Wow – what a huge improvement!

    The one thing that really bothered me was how difficult it was to get into Madrid itself without going back to the airport. I had to cross the expressway next to the hotel, walk quite a ways to a bus stop, and then take a local bus to the end of one of the metro lines. All in it was 80 minutes to the city centre. Did you see any mention of a city shuttle?

  3. For a budget option the Ibis Madrid Barajas is perfectly fine, particularly if on a quick overnight – shuttle takes about the same amount of time as noted above, and I paid £39 booked in advance recently (ca. $50). Not a hotel to spend lots of time in but it’s quite new, beds are comfortable and I slept well.

  4. Ben, you could’ve worked all the day in the lounge instead of a lobby. Normally when hotels are not able to fulfil late check out requests they at least let you stay in/use to refresh when you come back a lounge. I experienced that dozens of times at various Marriott and Hilton properties. It’s never been an issue and in fact in most cases front desk staffs offered that themselves.

    Thanks for the review. I’m a Marriott Gold, but never stayed at this hotel. It looks indeed nice and the lounge is impressive (the spread is more than good by Hilton/Marriott standards in Europe). However I always find hard to justify paying 100-120+ eur rates for Marriott when there are Crowne Plaza MAD for 50-60 eur, Hilton for 70 eur and Melia for 50-60 eur around the airport.

  5. I guess the guy at check in, allthough he came off as rude, was telling you the truth about the food hours for the lounge. Very surprising they do it that way. Maybe cause it’s near the airport or has a lot of conferences.

  6. For loud big hotel: check out the Sheraton Macau when you are in HK next time.

    Like the review of this property. Still amazed how you manage to snap so many pics without any other people in it…

  7. The no room service 24/7 is what stands out to me if I was traveling like you it would be a must have, I imagine its a money thing for the hotel.I wasnt impressed with the rest of the hotel

  8. Hi Lucky

    You did not mention anything about the evening beverage service. Just beer and soft drinks or did they have a full bar service? If no dinner snack/meals I would guess they saw no reason to have wine and liquor either?

    Best ever executive lounge was the Prague Hilton which served meals all day and well into the night and all the international beverages you could possibly desire. This was a few years ago so it might have changed. Hope not!

  9. After re-reading your Hilton review, I’m curious you would return there over this, even given your status. Everything about the Marriott seems better than the Hilton other than perhaps the crowdedness. It really looks like a nicer hotel.

  10. Any restaurants or cafes in the hotel?

    “as I was landing at around 2PM, and departing at 11PM the following night”

    Well, that isn’t always the best schedule for airport hotels…maybe a day trip into the city is in order? How accessible is it to Madrid proper from the hotel?

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