WELLINGTON HOTEL, MADRID
I have just returned from a four day stay in the Spanish capital of Madrid and there is no better place to stay when in this beautiful city than the centrally located 5 star Wellington Hotel. This classic and traditionally managed hotel has all you need for a comfortable and relaxing break and was an ideal place to celebrate my wife's birthday. This was our second stay at the Wellington and apart from a poor departure experience (more later), both my wife and I had a great time and we will certainly return again in the future, both to 'cultural' Madrid and to this hotel.
Returning for a second visit in four years, we knew what to expect – clean spacious rooms, crisp bed linen, large bathrooms and generally very responsive staff, particularly in the lounge and bar areas. I tipped the bar staff for some excellent service, serving good wines and regularly topping up the free crisps and nuts.
Although I did not request it, we were allocated a high floor room (#746) which faced into the centre of the hotel rather than onto the main road. Normally this would be very quiet, but currently there is refurbishment work taking place to some of the higher floor rooms and hammering began at 8am and continued until 7pm. A lie-in or a siesta was therefore out of the question! The room was well equipped with mini bar, TV, Wi-Fi, safe, complimentary slippers and bathrobes. The mini bar automatically records the removal of any bottles. Our bathroom had a shower, bath and double basins, with plenty of high quality complimentary bath products. The toilet was in a separate area from the bathroom. Bed linen and towels were changed daily and the wardrobe was well stocked with hangers, often a weakness in many quality hotels.
Two lifts gave speedy access to the public areas on the ground floor which are beautifully furnished in a traditional manner, with fresh flowers adding an extra sparkle. The bar or ‘Wellington Pub’ as it is called, is comfortable and all drinks reasonably priced for a five star hotel. We drank wine at 5 euros a glass. The lounges are well furnished with easy chairs and sofas and are regularly occupied by non-resident business people, taking advantage of the ambience for weekday twilight meetings. By 8pm, most have departed and residents have sole occupancy. There is a resident pianist playing in the lounge in the early evening, if you like slower versions of Abba hits. The hotel has a gymnasium, restaurant, outdoor swimming pool and roof garden.
Hotel Wellington is centrally situated in the Salamanca district of Madrid, close to all the designer shops, Retiro Park and a host of cosmopolitan restaurants. (We found an excellent bistro called 'Velazquez', almost opposite the hotel). You can walk into the centre of Madrid and Plaza Puerta del Sol in 20 minutes. I paid £170 sterling per night (room only) plus bar and minibar bills and tips.
Unfortunately, it appears that Hotel Wellington has a problem of clients leaving without paying their bill. Upon departure the hotel doorman delayed loading our luggage into our airport limousine, until he’d checked by radio, that our bill had been cleared. I found this experience quite disrespectful and rude, particularly as I had paid for our stay in advance. If bills are unpaid then the hotel management need to address this in a different way, rather than guests having to face an austere and unfriendly doorman looking at you as if you are a thief!