We booked this hotel because of the novelty of the differently designed floors and the attraction of the various architects / designers. After a 27€ cab ride from the airport, we were first booked into a Norman Foster room which was very nice - all glass and marble, but 2nd floor at the back so a disappointing view. It also only had a shower and we prefer a bath, so we asked to move and they were very accommodating, putting us on the 6th floor in a Marc Newson room. This was full of high gloss surfaces, grey leather and wood, with a nice big bathtub and a wall that folded away so you could make the bath become part of the bedroom. The public areas on each floor were also impressive, particularly the Zaha Hadid. (There is apparently a tour of the hotel that we would have liked to take, but no one told us about it.)
However this is where it ended as far as a good impression goes and for the following reasons I would not recommend the hotel and would not return.
My husband and I are in our fifties but perfectly presentable, neither badly dressed nor hideous and our kids allow us out. However there was a distinct air of scorn from the painfully fashionable, younger staff and other clients (not necessarily residents) when we dared to set foot in the bar and pool areas.
The rooftop bar is hugely expensive. For 30€ a cocktail I would expect them to know how to make a dry martini. My husband had to go and show them after we had waited half an hour and then they arrived completely wrong. (We were erroneously charged for mineral water and champagne, however, after complaining at check out, these drinks as well as the doomed martinis, were removed from our bill.)
If you don't manage to bag a sought-after tall stool next to the window with the sky view, you are relegated to sagging pouffes which are roughly 1 foot from the ground. You can therefore see nothing but the knees of the gorgeous, but surly, waitresses as they flounce by and you should allow a good five minutes to be able to get up again. The walls and ceiling are of flapping plastic so the feeling is one of being in a very noisy marquee at a wedding at which no one is speaking to you. The music is unrelentingly deafening Europop - rather than sultry & atmospheric Buddha Bar.
We had a very nice dinner in the smaller restaurant, as the "gourmet" one was closed on Sunday nights, that menu being very interesting, but also hugely expensive. We ate foie gras, mushroom risotto, tuna tartare and a perfect little hamburger, followed by balsamic-marinated strawberries with cheese ice-cream. It was delicious.
The rooftop floor also houses the pool, which, on first visit is very confusing. You exit the lift , thinking, as in a bad dream, that you have just walked into the bar in your bathrobe. However, a girl whose job it is to usher confused guests into the spa, rushes out from her post to usher confused guests into the spa. This also causes much smirking and derision from all supercilious onlookers. The pool is dark and somewhat gloomy with only 4 beds around it. The steam room and showers are nice.
The weather was gorgeous and a rooftop terrace or balcony would make this area much more appealing. In fact, having come from an exhausting day in Madrid one afternoon and just wishing to relax in the sun for a while, we were reduced to lying on the grass verge alongside the 3 lane highway outside the hotel, surrounded by dog mess! We have just returned from a 5* resort in Mauritius and I know that, had they seen 2 guests wandering around obviously looking for somewhere to sunbathe, they would have run out proffering sun beds and drinks. The staff here just stood and looked bemused.
The lift is programmed not to stop at guest rooms at certain times to accommodate the non-resident bar customers, who all come to spend their free drink tokens. This information is kept a mystery to guests however, who can regularly be witnessed frantically waving their room key in front of the light in an attempt to exit the lift at their floor. Sadly all to no avail. This, of course, causes further amusement and is probably put in place to enhance the evening of, the aforesaid stylista clientele.
The location is half way between the airport and the centre of Madrid. It is not a particularly appealing area. When we first checked in, the hotel lift was full of local kids joy riding. This did not say much for the security - who were probably too preoccupied with their reflection in the glass doors to notice.
There is a Metro 5 minutes walk away and the train system is very efficient and cheap. However it does become wearing when you are out all day and then return for a bath and to get dressed up for dinner, knowing that you have to face the journey twice more that evening. I would recommend very comfortable shoes. The Metro to the airport is 2€ per person and easy.
We did have a great time - Madrid is wonderful - and a sense of humour as well as reasonably robust self images saw us through at the hotel.
I get the feeling that if you wish to go and experience it for yourselves, you should make it reasonably soon. Just go on a diet first, adopt a sneer, wear black and you should be fine.
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- Also Known As:
- Silken Puerta America Madrid