AC Hotel Carleton (Marriott Branded Hotel):
Regular Rate 95€ / per night
We hopped a taxi to town as I had given up on navigating the subways with a broken handle suitcase. I had booked the AC Hotel Carleton for the simple reason that it was inexpensive, and close to Atocha train station; indeed it was only one block away. When it came time to booking a place, it was a Marriott vs Starwood situation and Marriott won, simply because they had eight properties available to choose from versus Starwood’s two properties.
My initial impression of the neighborhood was that it was shabby; graffiti through lots of the streets,, neglect through decay, and all that a run down neighbourhood entails. As we approached the hotel, further madness. I wondered who had designed the entranceway? The only access was through a step up, a small revolving door, and down two steps with not a ramp in sight. Hardly easy access for those with suitcases! The lobby was a little run down as well. It did not leave me with a great first impression.
On check in, we were given top floor corner room based on expired Marriot Silver Elite card. After a twenty minute wait, our room was made available at 10:30 AM. This was much appreciated after our 8 AM flight arrival into Barajas.
The rooms were decorated into a wood theme – traditional décor. It was recently refurbished with laminate flooring. The bathroom was large enough for two people to stand in.
The bed was slightly firm. The room itself was not inspiring to spend a lot of time in, however, both our bags were able to be on the luggage stand / chair and even with them open, there was room to move around the room comfortably, which was unusual for Europe.
The view was also nice from the top floor, with peak a boo views to the street.
One of the best features was a complimentary non-alcoholic mini bar containing tonic water, mineral water, Coca Cola, Fanta lemon, with additional room in the fridge to store a bottle of wine. It was a great feature to have after a hot day. There was also an “Open” Grocery store two blocks down the street where water, snacks and basic wine could be purchased.
We also happened to stay here for one additional night, prior to getting our flight back home to the Americas. On that stay, we ended up with a darker inside room. I took some photos but the room was virtually identical – just darker with less natural light. Our stay experience on the second day was identical.
Conveniently located to Atocha Train Station
Free wifi in lobby.
Difficult entry and exit
Location – no great restaurants or tapa bars in area. You’re walking about 10 minutes to get to decent food that is not in a local tavern.
I’d stay here again if I needed to, but would probably look elsewhere if given the opportunity. This was mostly because of the neighborhood. The hotel itself was perfectly function in a 3 star range.