Off to Spain I go to See the Running of the Bulls
Review: Air France Business Class, IAD to CDG to BCN
Review: Four Points by Sheraton Barcelona Diagonal
Review: The Gran Hotel La Perla, Pamplona
The San Fermin Festival
The Running of the Bulls
Review: Renfe Alvia Train, Pamplona to Madrid
Review: Gran Melia Fenix, Madrid
Earlier in July, as many of you know, I took a trip to Spain to see the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain.
After seeing Barcelona and Pamplona, I wanted to see Madrid. Looking at the American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts website, I saw availability at the Gran Melia Fenix for about $150USD a night, including an early check-in, late check-out, room upgrade, breakfast, and complimentary dinner. Earlier in the Spring, Melia had a promotion whereby they would award 12,000 Melia points after account opening, for new members. Combining this earning with the American Express rates, I paid close to $300USD for a property that I now consider one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed at.
The hotel is very centrally located, and is situated just off of the main shopping district. Nearby, you’ll find the high-end brands of Gucci, Armani and more, so you can tell it is a wealthy district.
Approaching the hotel, you can tell it is very stately. It’s situated on one side along a very major road, however the main entrance is just off to the side on a side street, which makes it easily accessible without having to deal with a back-up of cars.
The main entrance was staffed by a set of doormen, and there were plenty of taxis available nearby for transport.
Check-in is off to the left, as you pass through a revolving set of doors.
I checked in, and was offered my room key and instructions on my American Express amenities. As soon as I arrived in my room, I received a call from the front desk advising that they forgot to upgrade me to a nicer room, due to my American Express booking, and advised that I should come to the front desk for a new room assignment. I was happy that I was being upgraded, and delightfully proceeded to get my new key.
After arriving in my new room, I was very very impressed. I honestly felt like I was in the First Class section of the Titanic.
Inside was a very well decorated room, that felt high-class.
The bathroom was appointed with marble and clean.
After exploring the room, I was chatting with my mom via Skype, when I received a knock on the door. After opening, I was surprised to see a bellman with a plate full of goodies, as well as a bottle of water…for free. This isn’t a normal perk of the Amex program, but I was delighted to see how well the hotel was treating me, even as a non-loyal guest.
Down the hall, there’s also a nice exercise room, complete with water, tea and fruit.
That night, I enjoyed a complimentary dinner inside the hotel’s restaurant. The main restaurant was being renovated, so this dinner was hosted in a temporary location in the back of the lobby. Without knowing of the renovation details, you wouldn’t have known about the temporary location which was great.
Service was excellent, and there wasn’t a moment that someone wasn’t refilling my water, offering additional bread, or asking how I was doing. It was terrific, especially for a free meal, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
The next morning, I awoke to breakfast on the downstairs floor. There was a nice spread of American-like breakfast foods, in addition to pastries, meats and cheeses.
Taking a look at the lobby, you really do feel like you are in a palace. It’s comfortable, clean and ornate.
Overall, I would highly recommend this hotel for staying in Madrid. I would rate it an 10 out of 10, and it would certainly remain on my list of places to stay at again. Sign up for Melia’s rewards program that way you can also accumulate reward points for your stay!
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