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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Free for one hour in the lobby, otherwise in-room access is 4 EUR/hour and 8 EUR for 24 hours.
I did not use the bar or dining facilities; however, I recall seeing signage for breakfast and lunch buffets for 15 EUR each.
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.