My wife and I stayed four nights at the Madrid AC Atocha hotel in May, primarily because we wanted to use up some Marriott points and because it is located 5-10 minutes from the AC Atocha train station and we were arriving at Atocha from Cordoba. The AC location is also good if one is going to take the train from Atocha to Toledo., which we later did. However, as some other reviewers have pointed out, AC Atocha is not in the best location as far as proximity to the main sites in Madrid nor are there good dining restaurants in the neighborhood. About the only sight that is within a 10-13 minute walk of AC Atocha is the Reina Sofia art museum (Starbucks nearby the museum). We used taxis to get to sites because they are hundreds around town and it was fairly reasonable.
We did not have the negative experiences that some recent posts describe, but we did feel that Marriot should address a few things, primarily the responsiveness of the front desk staff. When we arrived, the gentleman at the front desk was courteous, but seemed distracted or stressed, and when we later asked about calling a taxi, he said we would end up waiting for 15 minutes if a taxi were called and that we should just walk up to the train station to get a taxi. Well it takes almost 15 minutes to walk up to the train station which we did because it was a nice afternoon, but the whole time we were walking, we questioned the accuracy about the wait time. The next day there was a woman at the front desk. We asked her to call a taxi and it was evident that she did not want to be bothered calling a taxi and seemed “put out” that we asked and gave us the same lingo of “waiting 15 minutes”. I said firmly, ‘Please call us a taxi.” The taxi arrived in less than 5 minutes.
We also feel that another thing Marriott should address is the breakfast at this AC hotel. It was pretty basic and boring after 4 days and not worth 15.40 Euros each. Unfortunately, there were no neighborhood restaurants serving American style breakfasts. We did not eat evening dinner at the hotel restaurant, so cannot comment on it.
Some reviewers have described the confusion of finding their rooms especially if you are in the second building. I can identify somewhat with that because we were in the second building and the first time it took a few moments to figure it out how to use the elevator and how to get to the second building. However, I enjoy figuring things out so was not bothered by that. We have traveled in Europe a number of times, and go expecting to encounter challenges to what we are used to. When something unusual happens, we have learned to say, “Well isn’t that interesting!” It would help if the front staff provided a type of map or written explanations of what to do, but only brief verbal directions were given.
One positive note about the gentleman at the front desk occurred when we asked to change rooms after the first night. Our room (in the second building) faced the street, and it was noisy, primarily because there was a restaurant outside right below our third floor room. He was very nice and said that yes, we could have a room that faced the courtyard. So the next three nights were very quiet. As has been pointed out, the rooms have a very modern, chic design (mostly black). The hallways from the elevator to your room are dark because the walls are black, as are several areas in the room. It would have helped if there had been good lighting in the room, especially over the sink. As I am trying to shave, I say, “What were they thinking” , but then I calm down and say my usual, “Well isn’t that interesting.” Having a shower with glass walls almost in the middle of the room is also “interesting”.
If I had not been using Marriott points for our four nights, I probably would have considered a different hotel, primarily because the disadvantages of this AC hotel location outweigh the advantages of this location. I was certainly ok with using Marriott points and I was not expecting that an AC hotel would compare to regular Marriott’s.
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