On the recommendation of the night porter from check-in at the Crowne Plaza Madrid Airport, we took a taxi into the centre of town to the Intercontinental for our next night’s stay. I was really impressed with the taxi service which displayed a fare list in the window.
It was 2.40EUR for pick up and 1.05EUR/km. The driver said it would be about 22EUR but that is was all done on the meter – in the end we were just a fraction under 20EUR and at the InterContinental in about 20 minutes.
I was expecting that we would be able to drop our bags off at the InterContinental and check in later, but when we arrived at 11am they were ready for us. I was greeted as an Ambassador member and given load of information. Most pertinent was the upgrade to the twin room we had booked. I asked about Club access, which was, unfortunately, not part of our rate, but it was offered at 65EUR. I jumped on this and was very happy to pay. Working out at £27 each, I knew that this would give us morning coffee (we were too late for breakfast), canapes and drinks in the evening and breakfast the next day*.
We dropped our bags in our room; it was a funny kind of junior suite, I think. It had a vestibule and a sitting room, with a bedroom off with twin beds. The bathroom was spacious and came with up-market toiletries.
We went to the Club and had coffee and water before heading into town. We walked down to Plaza del Sol before heading west towards Plaza Major. Just off, to the south, we found a little tapas bar offering a tapas plate and a 1l jug of sangria for 23Eur. We obliged and, despite my current pescetarian state, I was able to eat 85% of the offering.
We then pottered through the old town towards the Royal Palace, stopping in at the cathedral on the way. The entry was 11EUR each which was good value, but with hindsight we should have splashed another 3 for the audio guide. After a very reasonably priced coffee and soft drink in the palace cafe, we walked back through Plaza del Sol, past the Strawberry Tree and Bear, to the Retiro Park. It was a lovely walk, punctuated by several interesting statues.
At around 1730, we got onto the Metro for the ride back to the hotel. The ticket machine had an option in English, and whilst I have been able to use my (15 year old) Spanish to some effect, it was helpful. The journey involved 2 changes but was easy, quick and only cost 1.50EUR each.
At the hotel, we went straight to the Club lounge for drinks and canapes. There was a wide selection of snacks, spirits and wines, and plenty of space to enjoy it. We had been told that there was “Cocktail Hour” between 1700 and 1900, so the plan had been to take advantage of that, and then freshen up before heading out somewhere local for something to eat. In the end, we decided against it. Whilst they put away the spirits at 7pm, the wine, cava and beer was still available, as were the snacks.
As it had been a very hot day and we weren’t that hungry, we decided to skip dinner and spend the time in the lounge, using the complimentary wifi and, sadly, keeping abreast of the terrible situation in Munich on the TV.
At about 2230, when the lounge was closing up, we headed downstairs to the bar where we had a beer and a coffee on the house, thanks to the little voucher given to us on check-in.
Back in the room, the beds had been turned down, and a fruit platter and welcome gift left on the lounge coffee table. Another great feature was a USB plug-in the wall with a Bluetooth adaptor which allowed you to stream your music. There was a volume control in the bathroom meaning that you could listen to your favourite tunes in the shower.
Another excellent night’s sleep and we woke up at around 9am. We opted for breakfast in the Club Lounge, although would have been able to have it in the main restaurant if we wanted. The waiter offered water and orange juice, and took our orders for poached eggs on toast. There was also a large buffet section with cold meats, cheese, fruit and pastries.
We checked out at 1130 and got a taxi to the airport from the hotel lobby. The fixed fare of 30EUR was displayed on the meter and the journey took less than 15 minutes door to door. I accept that it was a Saturday and the traffic was light, but I was very impressed.
The hotel was brilliant – at the time of booking it, I think I paid about £120 which was by far the most expensive hotel night on our trip. It represented excellent value for money and was enhanced by the benefits of being a Platinum Member. It is experiences like this, and previous stays in the InterContinentals in Paris and Washington, D.C., that make me a keen and loyal member.
* My value from the Club Lounge:
7 EUR – Morning coffee and mineral water
20 EUR – Pre-dinner drinks
40 EUR – Dinner snack and coffee
40 EUR – Breakfast
So, over 100EUR in value for 65EUR plus tax, and the added convenience, which you can’t really put a price on, of having a quiet place to relax. Mum also used the business centre to print off our boarding passes for the LAN flight to Frankfurt.
You can follow the whole journey here: