Recent posts

Hotel review: Westin Palace Madrid (Spain)

Wednesday newsletters always feature a luxury hotel and/or flight review.

Today (September 14, 2015): Review of the Westin Palace Madrid (Spain).

Commissioned by King Alfonso XIII in 1912, the newly restored, 467 room Westin Palace Madrid is set near the Prado, historic monuments and some of the best tapas restaurants in town. It was ranked as one of the world’s best hotels by Condé Nast Traveler’s 2010 Gold List. More than a century after its construction, the Grand Dame of Madrid continues to reinvent itself to further build upon its legendary hospitality.

In this review (more info and photos below my Youtube clip and slideshow):

  • Pros & things I like
  • Cons & things to know
  • My verdict
  • Tips for future guests & save money
  • Best time to visit
  • How to get there

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

*** Follow me on TwitterInstagram and Facebook for a daily moment of travel inspiration ***


PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • The hotel enjoys a terrific location, one of the best, if not thé best in town. Situated in the city centre, at the charming Las Letras neighborhood, and within walking distance of the most prestigious museums of the city, such as Thyssen Museum or Prado Museum, the iconic “Palace” is the ideal hotel to explore the Spanish capital.
  • The elegant hotel is steeped in history. Located opposite the Spanish Parliament, the Palace was built at the initiative of King Alfonso XIII to accommodate travelers at the turn of the century. Built over a period of 18 months, it soon became the most modern hotel in Europe. 100 years later, after several refurbishments and respecting its Belle Époque essence, the building has now been declared a Site of Cultural Interest.
  • Since it was opened on the 12th of October 1912, the Palace has been the cosmopolitan refuge for artists, politicians, and businessmen. Celebrities such as Picasso, Dali, Albert Einstein or Madame Curie have all strolled along its corridors.
  • Its restful and comfortable 467 rooms & suites provide a relaxing atmosphere both for work or leisure. They are all nicely decorated with antique furnishings and original mahogany and plaster details. And when it comes to sleep, the Westin Heavenly Bed is a blissful sanctuary for a tranquil night.
  • With 20 versatile function rooms of almost 2,400 square meters with an abundance of natural light, the hotel has the most comprehensive banqueting & event facilities in Madrid downtown.
  • The lobby is sumptuous, and makes quite an impression when you enter the hotel for the first time.
  • Always in the center of Madrid’s scene, La Rotonda restaurant, under its beautiful glass dome, is the place to enjoy a memorable lunch or dinner and experience one of the best Sunday brunch in the Spanish capital. The hotel also has 2 other eateries: the refined Asia Gallery (considered one of Madrid’s best Asian restaurant), and The Palace Bar which offers a bistro menu.
  • WiFi is complimentary to all guests, as long as you have made your reservation on the official hotel or Starwood website.

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

The Spanish capital is somewhat lacking the presence of true luxury hotels, although some projects are currently under construction. The Westin is one of the better hotels in town. Nevertheless, despite the historic context, and despite the refurbishment, it feels more 4 than 5 stars: 

  • Not all rooms are great, partly to be forgiven given the architectural design of the original converted palace. During my stay, I was allocated in a rather dark, uninspiring room on the top floor, with very small windows (which was not worth the 400 euro price tag).
  • While service is good, I would not rate it as excellent. Especially during busy time, it’s very difficult to access the front-desk.
  • There are only 4 small elevators, located in two different corners of the building. This makes the waiting time for the elevators quite long, often above a tolerable limit.
  • This is not a modern hotel. The facilities are old, and the design feels tired in many areas.

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 8/10
  • Design: 7/10
  • Rooms: 6/10
  • Food: 6/10
  • Service: 7/10
  • Overall experience: mediocre: 6.8/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like the Westin Palace Madrid (and/or receive many free perks).
  • Save money: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily buffet breakfast, one complimentary lunch or dinner, early check-in, and late check-out).
  • Starwood Preferred Guests (SPG) with Gold or Platinum status are well treated, with – amongst other benefits – free WiFi, complementary room upgrade (when available), early check-in or late check-out  (when available), and free breakfast (SPG platinum). Click here to read our review of the SPG program (with pros & cons).
  • Book your room on the official hotel, Starwood or SPG website to receive complimentary WiFi.
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The best time to visit Madrid is in the fall (September to November) or spring (March to May), when balmy temps blow through the city, making it come alive. But if you don’t mind drab weather and a rather listless Madrid, visit in the winter when hotels reduce their rates. Peak tourist season is summer — despite nearly unbearable heat — but many Madrileños close up shop this time of year and take vacations themselves.


HOW TO GET THERE

Madrid can easily be reached by plane, train or car. For those coming by plane, the hotel is located a 40-minute cab ride from Madrid Barajas International Airport (MAD). Check the Wikipedia page of Madrid Barajas International Airport for the lasted updates on airlines that have direct flights to Madrid.

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL ENTRANCE

HOTEL ENTRANCE

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

HOTEL CORRIDOR

HOTEL CORRIDOR

HOTEL CORRIDOR

HOTEL CORRIDOR

VIEW FROM ROOM

VIEW FROM ROOM

ROOM

ROOM

ROOM

ROOM

ROOM

ROOM

ROOM

ROOM

BATHROOM AMENITIES

BATHROOM AMENITIES

BATHROOM

BATHROOM

BATHROOM

BATHROOM

1912 MUSEO BAR

1912 MUSEO BAR

LA ROTONDA RESTAURANT

LA ROTONDA RESTAURANT

LA ROTONDA RESTAURANT

LA ROTONDA RESTAURANT

LA ROTONDA RESTAURANT

LA ROTONDA RESTAURANT

LA ROTONDA RESTAURANT: DINNER

LA ROTONDA RESTAURANT: DINNER

LA ROTONDA RESTAURANT: DINNER

LA ROTONDA RESTAURANT: DINNER


*** Follow me on TwitterInstagram and Facebook for a daily moment of travel inspiration ***


Advertisements

4 Comments on Hotel review: Westin Palace Madrid (Spain)

  1. Reblogged this on The Luxe Lookbook and commented:
    Check out that stunning rotunda! Great review on the Westin Palace, Madrid by The Luxury Travel Expert.

    Like

  2. You really put the lipstick on this pig!

    Like

  3. Very helpful. Thanks!

    Like

  4. Hi there,

    I work in tourism in Madrid and I don’t agree about your “Best Time to Visit” section. Madrid is a region worth visiting any time of the year. SUMMER IS NOT OUR PEAK SEASON, peak times are Easter and October, aroun the national day of Spain (12 Oct.), lately also begining of December during a week where there are several national holidays.

    Nevertheless, visiting is great anytime of the year…

    Spring. Beautiful weather, nice to visit historical gardens in the city and the outskirts. Take a day trip to Aranjuez, San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Alcalá de Henares…

    Summer. Hot, but most people get their holidays during the Summer, reason why lately we get more visitors than we used to. During the hottest hours of the day, it is a good idea to visit museums (most schedule important exhibitions during the summer), go shopping in an elegant shopping mall or take a nap so that you can enjoy the Summer nights as madrileños do. Businesses in the city centre DO NOT CLOSE DURING THE SUMMER, this is more common in small family businesses in the outskirts. Shops are open 7 days a week, from 10am to 9-10pm, without stopping. Even a musical like The Lion King continues playing during the Summer. And, of course, there is the lively Veranos de la Villa cultural festival.

    Fall. Great to take a day trip around the city, discover some small village full of charm like Chinchón, Navalcarnero, Nuevo Baztán, Buitrago del Lozoya, Rascafría or Colmenar de Oreja. In Colmenar de Oreja, for example, you can visit a fantastic museum devoted to local painter Ulpiano Checa, take a walk in the village or in its natural surroundings, visit a winery to taste/buy wines. Fall is harvest time in the wine producing regions in the South of the region. Great time to enjoy a local festival or visit one of the wineries under the Designation of Origin Vinos de Madrid.

    Winter. Not so cold as in other parts of the country, or the countries in northern Europe. The city is very lively… people coming and going, sitting in rooftop or street level terraces under the sun, exhibitions, theatre plays and much more. If you like the snow, you can go to the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains. Great time to know Xmas and New Years traditions if you visit around that time.

    Like

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Travel Reviews | Travelguide

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: