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Old Feb 27, 12, 9:51 am   #1
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: 神奈川県
Programs: Priority "IHG" Club Spiyah, JAL Valued Low-Revenue Customer
Posts: 504
Thumbs down Holiday Inn Madrid Pirámides

Note: Primary factors in this stay report are highlighted in blue.
Good: Decent location above the Pirámides Metro station (Line 5) and Cercanías commuter rail Pirámides station (lines C1, C7 & C10). Decent water pressure in rooms.

Bad: Old Rafaelhoteles group hotel rebranded as a Holiday Inn without renovation. Some rooms are in bad condition and all are too hot in the winter. No Platinum benefits offered and no upgrade given.

Overall: Rooms of varied quality and comfort combined with no Platinum benefits make this Holiday Inn one to avoid.
I was very interested in staying at this hotel when I saw it listed as a “new opening” and booked here for a February 2012 business trip as opposed to the other Holiday Inn Madrid near Santiago Bernabeu that I had stayed at before. Rate was 83 EUR/night for the Best Flex rate without breakfast. As it turned out, this is not at all a new property but a re-branded hotel.

Access: When arriving at this hotel via Metro, follow the signs for the Cercanías station and exit from there – that should be the closest exit from the hotel (some of the Metro exits are a block away downhill). Taxi drivers may not be familiar with this hotel yet, so it’s better to ask them to take you to Pirámides station lest you be driven to the Holiday Inn on the other side of town.

Reception: None of the front desk staff seems to speak English very well. This is, of course, a Spanish hotel in Spain, but many HI guests are English speakers and are used to HI staff being somewhat proficient in English. The lady who checked me in was polite and finished the process quickly, but when I asked if my room had been upgraded I was told “it’s a double bed.” OK. Some cheaper European hotels have only one room type. I didn’t argue and went to the room.

Rooms: The room was on the second floor and was in very bad shape. It reminded me of a Japanese business hotel room that was built in the 80’s and never remodeled. The carpet was old and worn, the fixtures were beat up, and the luggage rack (which was a wooden shelf between the minibar and desk) was sagging from a loose screw. The “ironing board” was an old table with a cloth surface. The view out the window was of the bottom of a dirty atrium. This room did not have a very effective curtain (there was no heavy curtain) and it may have been possible for rooms above to see inside. I was disappointed but needed to wake up early, so I decided to go to sleep and ask for another room in the morning. I had not asked about availability of other room types, but to me this appeared to be a “Platinum downgrade.”

The next morning I went to the front desk and asked for another room. I asked first if there were any rooms that were actually renovated and was told no. I was offered a room on the fourth floor and found it to be just as old but in better condition with a king-size bed. This room also had a view of the intersection in front of the hotel and the entrance to Pirámides station. Here there were two curtains for complete privacy. I moved into this one for my second and last night of the stay.

The beds in both rooms were fairly comfortable and both rooms had extra pillows available. Neither room indicated presence of bed bugs.

Bathrooms: The water pressure in the showers is strong and good for a quick shower. However, the first room had a slow drain and the use of max pressure can cause your feet to be underwater. The towels are very large (this seems to be the standard in Spanish hotels) and of decent quality. The shampoo appears to be low quality. I don’t have much hair to worry about, but other guests might want to bring their own shampoo. The bars of soap are small and cheap and ought to say “Rodeway Inn” instead of Holiday Inn on the wrapper.

Amenities: Small minibar with typical offerings (mostly non-alcoholic). Hot water pot with tea and instant coffee available.

Small flatscreen TVs (maybe 17 inch?) were mounted on arms in the corner by the window of each room. They were new but far smaller than any TV I have ever seen at a Holiday Inn (or any major hotel chain). In addition to several Spanish channels, channels were available in English (BBC World), French, and German.

The climate control, like most European hotels, is perfect for Vulcans: heater only in winter and even the lowest setting makes the room uncomfortably hot. There appeared to be an option to run the fan only, but even this pumped hot air into the room. If you have any trouble sleeping in a hot room, you may have to leave the window open – and be advised that the windows facing outside open onto a fairly busy intersection. If you go out for dinner and leave the window open, the room should be cool enough to sleep when you return – just don’t turn the heater on or you will be hot again by morning.

Wi-fi: Free for one hour in the lobby, otherwise in-room access is 4 EUR/hour and 8 EUR for 24 hours.

Restaurants/Bar: I did not use the bar or dining facilities; however, I recall seeing signage for breakfast and lunch buffets for 15 EUR each.

Summary: Finally, this stay posted on my PC account as a “Non-qualifying stay” with only the minibar charges accruing points. A call to PC got the expected points credited, but I can’t think of any reason why the points would be withheld – I was again booked under the Best Flexible rate and I have never heard of the Best Flex not accruing points. PC customer service could not tell me why the points did not post. Another reason for PC members to be wary of this hotel, unfortunately.

This is a hotel from a smallish Spanish chain (Rafaelhoteles) that does not seem to have yet grasped the fact that it carries an ICHG brand and is in theory supposed to act as an international hotel. It also does not seem to understand that Priority Club members, and especially Plats, should be considered valuable customers. While I know not every HI or CP is going to hook me up with free meals, free drink coupons, and an executive suite, I don’t expect to be “upgraded” into one of the worst rooms in the hotel. This is the only Rafaelhoteles property currently carrying an international hotel brand, although next week the Rafaelhoteles Bilbao Hotel will become a Holiday Inn. I hope ICHG hasn't made a bad decision there too.

The bottom line is this hotel represents an unnecessary and avoidable degradation of the Holiday Inn brand. There are already several threads on the main ICHG forum about “Holiday Inns from hell;” there’s no reason to make matters worse by adding an old hotel to the chain when ICHG is trying to improve HI’s lowbrow reputation.

This situation is made worse when you consider that the other Holiday Inn Madrid, while almost certainly an older property, has newer rooms and offers Plats free breakfast, free wi-fi, and upgrades to their executive floor. I did advise the front desk staff when I left of this and my concerns about the old rooms and asked them to pass my comments to the manager.

While Pirámides isn’t exactly in the city center, this hotel has a very good location for public transport (you can take the Cercanías to Atocha Station in about 12 minutes). With some room renovations and a little more attention on the part of the hotel staff to PC elites, this could be a competitive Holiday Inn. For now, however, I suggest the other Holiday Inn - or the centrally located InterContinental if price is not a major concern.

This hotel is passable as a cheap local business hotel. It is not passable, at this time, as a Holiday Inn.
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Old Feb 28, 12, 2:27 am   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2000
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I'm new to Platinum so other than some U.S. properties at SFO and DCA where I've been offered free snacks don't have much experience with that level yet so can't comment much.

I actually liked this property. I did 3 award nights last week (4th floor, courtyard view by choice, as they were preparing a street view room if I would wait 30 minutes on an 11am arrival), and last night a street view room on the 5th floor. I thought both rooms were fine and I slept just fine. On last night's stay there were some snacks on the desk when I arrived (gum, two bags of nuts, potato chips). Assuming complimentary? Only had the chips. No one said anything about them when I checked in so guess I'll find out if I get billed.

I never had a problem with English speaking counter staff and my Spanish is very minimal. I took photos of the first room and will try to get them up when home.

I'd readily stay here again. I have stayed at the property out by Real Madrid last year as a non-elite member and found it perfectly acceptable, too. A little shorter walk to the Metro here (like out the door and you're there). I did take the faster train out to the airport this morning and it was 35 minutes versus 50 minutes by Metro. It only runs every half hour, though, so you do have to watch the schedules.

Tom in the Iberia Lounge at MAD heading home
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Old Feb 29, 12, 4:30 pm   #3
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Let me followup that the breakfast buffet, which I didn't go to, is 13.50 Euros, and they had a lunch and dinner special posted in the elevators for 15 euros.

Here's the 4th floor courtyard view room photos:

A few more photos HERE.
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Old Mar 1, 12, 1:42 pm   #4
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: 神奈川県
Programs: Priority "IHG" Club Spiyah, JAL Valued Low-Revenue Customer
Posts: 504
Thanks for uploading the photos, tom911. Let me state that the second room I stayed in was of identical configuration to the one in the photos. If I had been given a room like this when I first checked in, my review would have been more favorable to the hotel.

I worked at a Holiday Inn 11 years ago. At the time, Bass Hotels released a training video depicting how two different customers, one an angry, stressed man, and one a happy and optimistic one, both stay at the same HI. The angry man is treated well upon check in, is given a room that meets his needs, enjoys using the restaurant and bar, and is able to go about his business in a efficient way. As a result, he enjoys his stay and forms a good impression of Holiday Inn. The initially happy man is delayed and inconvenienced at check-in, given a room with problems that the front desk does not correct, has poor experiences at all hotel facilities, and is furious by the time he checks out.

I can only say that this hotel failed in critical areas of customer service and quality control. I am pleased they gave me another (better) room without charging me, but believe me when I say their oldest rooms are not up to the HI standard. I hope the HI Pirámides management will work to improve the material condition of the hotel and I am pleased that they helped a highly experienced FlyerTalker like tom911 have a good stay. However, I cannot in good conscience recommend this hotel in its present condition. I'll probably be staying at the HI in Santiago Bernabeu next time -perhaps I'll check back with the HI Pirámides in a year or so.
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Old Mar 1, 12, 2:34 pm   #5
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Originally Posted by keihin_242 View Post
I am pleased they gave me another (better) room without charging me, but believe me when I say their oldest rooms are not up to the HI standard.
I don't doubt your assessment for a minute and thank you for posting about your experience here.
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Old Mar 10, 12, 12:44 pm   #6
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: JAPAN
Programs: UA 1K, IC PLAT AMB, HH Gold, Accor Plat, AVIS Pres, Hertz Gold
Posts: 4,696
FWIW, I stayed at this property a couple of weeks ago. As a Plat AMB I did receive a great upgrade to a two room suite, even had an enclosed lanai, and enjoyed my time there to the fullest. Sure, rooms are a bit dated and the two TVs were tiny, but the price was right. We are active travelers, so the location was more than perfect. Metro, Renfe and Bus station just in front of the hotel, downtown walking 20 minutes. Staff spoke pretty good English, but I speak Spanish, so that was not a point of contention. Certainly not a thumbs down from me, just the opposite, and that twice
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Old May 9, 16, 8:10 pm   #7
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: ATL
Programs: AA Gold, HH Diamond
Posts: 1,061
Nice Property for a Points Stay

Just had a 3 night stay using points (wife, 17 yr old son, and myself) and were very satisfied. We were upgraded to an Exec Suite, so the roll away bed was set up in the second room, which also had a small balcony overlooking the round about in front of the hotel. I'm Plat but no breakfast offered, which wasn't a big deal since two bakeries and a branch of Valor (for churros and hot chocolate for dipping) were about 3 blocks away, as well as a decent sized supermarket. In the opposite direction, downhill towards the river, there is a nice Peruvian Restaurant, Mis Tradiciones, also recommended.

Being virtually on top of the Metro station made getting to the main tourist attractions a breeze, with just one change of trains needed to reach any of them.

Front desk staff were all very outgoing and helpful. My wife needed medical attention when we arrived and they even made arrangements for us to get to a University Hospital ER by taxi.

This is not any kind of "aspirational" property, by any means, but if your purpose is to have a decent place to stay for a few days while running around Madrid, this is a good choice.
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