Make no mistake. Madrid’s sprawling Marriott Auditorium Hotel & Conference Center is primarily a business hotel, located as it is near the Madrid-Barajas airport. But its proximity to the airport also makes it an excellent choice for travelers on holiday with early morning departures. It’s only a short taxi ride away. Even more convenient, free shuttles from the hotel run every 30 minutes to the airport—from 5 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.
As the name implies, this mammoth hotel (869 rooms, including suites) can be a bit overwhelming. Guests step inside a soaring atrium/lobby with a line up of English-proficient check-in desk clerks on one side, a “great room” and bar off to another side, and a huge cavernous hallway straightaway that leads to elevators, another bar, conference rooms and the auditorium that holds some 2,000 people (yes, there is a reason for the hotel’s name).
But even with this gi-normous business type air, I felt the service was personal while being efficient. Recently taken over by Marriott (I was there the day before it officially became a Marriott), the property has been going through a complete refurbishment—and it was approximately 80 per cent finished at the time I visited.
This meant that the Executive lounge access perk that went with my newly updated King Suite was not finished yet, so I couldn’t use it (complimentary food, beverages, etc.) But since I was not there for a week-long business meeting, I didn’t really miss it. My two- room suite was luxuriously spacious, with a sliding door dividing the bedroom and bath from the sitting room and desk area. Both the bedroom and sitting area have t.v.s, and behind the desk/work table that “floated” in front of shelves there was a coffee maker, complimentary bottled water, and mini bar.
The bed was comfy, linens nice, and I also like when windows can actually be opened if you want fresh air (you can open these), but are also soundproofed when closed to keep the room quiet. For the record, I did not hear any airport or traffic noise.
The bathroom had double sinks, plenty of counter space, a lighted makeup mirror and combination tub/shower. Robes and slippers are also provided.
Two restaurants include the contemporary and stylish Kalma serving up Mediterrean-inspired cuisine for lunch and dinner. The Greatroom offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Two bars include Champion’s Bar (a sport concept space that I walked past—it did not look very busy nor inviting to me) and the Atrium Bar—a huge space on the main floor near the reception area. Seating is configured for different sized groups which breaks the huge expanse into more private sections. I found this especially appealing when I decided to meet a friend for a Gin & Tonic later in the evening.
A buffet breakfast is served in another immense room with numerous hot and cold stations, several serving lines and plenty of tables and chairs throughout. Fresh fruit, hot entrees, pastries and meat and salads are just some of the choices. I loved watching the chef cooking up eggs in olive oil—which were delicious by the way. For $16 I thought the meal was a great deal—especially if you’re a big breakfast eater—or even if you’re not. (It lasted me all day.) My advice: Get there early, or long lines can form.
An indoor swimming pool (not the easiest to find in this lodging metropolis), and fitness room are also on the property. Room rates start at a reasonable $107 for a standard premium (king, twin, or triple) and all rooms have ac and free wi-fi. For more information, or to make reservations, check the website. You can also make reservations through Travelocity or other booking sites.
Review and photos (except where noted) by Donna Tabbert Long who was a guest of the hotel.