Edited by: Jessica Merritt
& Keri Stooksbury
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After visiting Amsterdam and Barcelona, my springtime European tour continued in Madrid, the Spanish capital. I was traveling with my mom up until this point, and she went home from Barcelona and I continued my travels.
Madrid is a city I’ve visited many times and that I’m familiar with, so I was excited to return and enjoy the sunny spring weather with a tinto de verano and some tapas on any one of the city’s many terrazas.
Upgraded Points Content Contributor Lori Zaino is a longtime Madrid resident, and she was eager to show me what was new and different in the city.
But, I needed a place to stay. The hotel scene in Madrid has been on a tear lately, with numerous openings, high-profile restorations, and expansions happening over the last few years.
The most exciting for me was the opening of the Four Seasons Hotel Madrid after years of restoring and renovating a former bank building. However, the Four Seasons was not in the budget this time around, so I turned elsewhere.
As I’m a loyal Marriott guest, I hopped on the chain’s website to get an idea of what my options would be.
I saw that tried-and-true properties like The Westin Palace Madrid were available, but as I was scrolling through the list, one property, in particular, caught my eye — the JW Marriott Madrid. The hotel is Spain’s first JW Marriott property and signals the continued strength of demand for high-end properties in the capital.
At the time I was making plans for this trip, the hotel hadn’t even opened, though it quoted a “Spring 2023” opening and was taking reservations as of late March of this year, so I went ahead and booked a room for 3 nights, unsure if the hotel would even be open in time for my mid-April visit.
As the stay inched closer, I didn’t hear any communication from the hotel saying it wouldn’t be open, so I took that as a sign of confidence that it would be operational by the time I checked in.
Sure enough, when I arrived at the front door, it had been open for about 20 days, according to staff, and things seemed to be running well.
Read on to find out what my stay was like at this brand-new hotel and what you can expect if you book a stay for a future trip.
The JW Marriott Madrid is located in the heart of the city, in a little plaza called Plaza de Canalejas, practically next door to Puerta del Sol and the Plaza Mayor, 2 hubs of tourist activity in the city.
It’s just off Gran Via, considered by many to be the city’s main thoroughfare, and is within close walking proximity to major attractions like the aforementioned plazas and iconic Madrid sights like Parque del Buen Retiro and the Museo del Prado.
I arrived in Madrid via train at Atocha Station and took a taxi from there to the hotel. That ride took less than 10 minutes and cost €12 (~$13). On the way out of town, I took a taxi from the hotel to Madrid Barajas International Airport (MAD). The airport is only about 10 miles from the hotel and the taxi cost €25 (~$28).
I may have preferred to stay less in the heart of tourist activity in the city, but I didn’t have any problems with noise at night or crowds because it was always just a short walk away to one of the many quiet plazas that are found throughout the city.
And for any first-time visitors to Madrid, I believe the location is fantastic for experiencing everything there is to see and do.
Unfortunately, I ran my balance of Marriott Bonvoy points dry for a stay at the W Amsterdam, so I paid cash for this stay in mid-April.
I paid €390 (~$431) per night — certainly not cheap. But hotels across the city were pricey the weekend I was there and I wanted to stay in the center of town because I didn’t have a ton of time during my quick weekend. In total, the stay cost €1,287 (~$1,408).
In the summer, cash rates hover around €450 per night and can reach as high as around €850 per night.
Had I had Marriott Bonvoy points to use, I would have needed to use 183,000, which equates to 61,000 per night. We value Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.7 cents apiece, so 61,000 Bonvoy points are worth about $427, which means it was basically a wash in terms of value when considering points vs. cash.
I put my stay on my Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card to earn 6x Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent on purchases at the property. I earned 18,618 Bonvoy points for my stay, inclusive of bonuses for being a Platinum Elite member.
I arrived at around 2 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon and things were very calm in the lobby. I didn’t have to wait at all to see a front-desk agent, and the check-in process began right away.
The agent told me that there was a room ready for me and explained that because the hotel didn’t have an executive lounge, I’d receive an additional $10 food and beverage credit daily on top of the complimentary breakfast I’d receive daily in the hotel’s restaurant, Qú, thanks to my Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status.
As a Platinum Elite member, I was entitled to benefits including 50% bonus points on hotel purchases, room upgrades (subject to availability, and, unfortunately, there were no upgraded rooms available during my stay), a choice of a welcome gift (I chose the complimentary breakfast), lounge access (not available at this hotel, hence the additional $10 food and beverage credit), 4 p.m. late checkout, and more.
After just a few minutes I had my room keys in my hand and was heading to my room on the fourth floor.
I could tell this was a new hotel the moment I stepped into the elevator because the leather that covered the interior of it smelled like a brand-new car.
The JW Marriott may be brand-new, but the building it’s housed in is anything but — and thankfully, the hotel maintained much of its historical charm and beauty when converting it to a luxury hotel.
Dating back to the 19th century, the building used to be home to one of Madrid’s oldest perfumeries. The JW Marriott has nods to the building’s past in the lobby with elements like antique perfume bottles, books, and scents.
One of the most striking features of the lobby was the set of preserved wrought-iron columns that are original to the building. They’re beautiful and add an element of historical stateliness to otherwise modern spaces.
After entering the hotel, the check-in desks are tucked around a corner in the back of the space. The concierge desk is along the windows on the right next to beautiful, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves containing much of the decor that recalls the building’s history.
Immediately to the left of the entrance is a long lounge area with a gorgeous bar at the end.
I particularly loved the furniture, which was comfortable and stylish. It made me think of a sitting room in a high-end home. Along the wall fronting the street were columns constructed of stone that seemed original to the building. They added another historical touch to the space and blended beautifully with the modern decor elsewhere.
The bar is open on both sides, as one side is in the lobby lounge, while the other is within the restaurant, Qú.
The JW Marriott Madrid is a compact city-center hotel, so you shouldn’t go into a stay here expecting extensive resort-style amenities. That being said, here’s a look at what’s available.
The hotel’s fitness center was open 24/7 and located in the basement, on floor -1.
Predictably, the state-of-the-art Technogym equipment was brand-new, and the space was cool thanks to the exposed brick that I assume was original to the building.
There were no views to speak of, but it didn’t feel like a dungeon because of the cutouts along the wall that allowed natural light to stream in.
For a hotel with only 139 rooms and suites, the gym was a good size, with plenty of cardio and weight machines, along with a free weight area.
The JW Marriott Madrid offers a spa that just offers massages at the moment. Appointments are required. Just outside the spa and gym was an elegant — but small — sitting area with towels and fruit available for guests.
The JW Marriott Madrid welcomes your furry companions. You need to make the hotel aware that you’re traveling with a pet before you arrive, and you’ll be required to pay a non-refundable fee of €50 (~$55) per stay. Your pet must weigh 25 kilograms (~55 pounds) or less, and up to 2 pets are allowed per room.
Self-parking is available at the Parking Centro Canalejas located about 100 yards from the hotel. Otherwise, valet parking is available at a cost of €45 (~$50) per day.
I wouldn’t recommend having a car during a trip to Madrid, as the city’s public transportation system is excellent and it’s pretty compact, so you can walk to most places you need to go. And, of course, there are a number of rideshare services available at your fingertips and plenty of taxis plying the streets.
Wi-Fi is offered free of charge throughout the property. I had no problems getting or staying connected, and speeds were more than sufficient for anything I had to do, including working or streaming content.
I loved my room at the JW Marriott Madrid. It was gorgeously designed, plenty spacious, and had modern technology that would meet any traveler’s expectations today.
Here’s what it was like.
When I opened the door to room 420, I was met with rich, dark-wood cabinetry, light wood floors, and calming beige and gray tones on the walls, carpet, and furniture.
Immediately on the left side of the entry foyer was the room’s closet, which was plenty roomy. A portion held a number of shelves and drawers along with the room’s safe, a couple of shoehorns (an underrated perk!), and an iron.
The next portion was a large open space with hangers — there was plenty of space to store clothes and luggage for even an extended trip.
Further on the left was the room’s minibar unit. There was a rack on the top that housed a few glasses for cocktails and wine, as well as a couple of water glasses, snacks available for purchase, and a bottle of Spanish red wine for purchase.
In a drawer below was the room’s Nespresso machine and a selection of complimentary pods, a kettle, and a bottle of still water.
In the next drawer were some sweets and salty snacks available for purchase.
And finally, there was the room’s minifridge which was stocked with a selection of soft drinks and alcoholic beverages, including some high-end liquor like Macallan 12, Champagne, wine, and beer.
The ceilings were high and the windows were actually sets of doors that let in plenty of natural light and opened onto small Juliet balconies.
The large (but perhaps too firm) king-sized bed was the centerpiece of the space. Behind it was a beautiful headboard unit that stretched almost to the ceiling and encompassed each of the side tables.
Each one of them had a handsome lamp, but thankfully there wasn’t too much clutter to be found there.
Directly adjacent to the bed on either side were panels with Type C power outlets (common in the EU), USB outlets, and controls for the lighting, complete with a number of settings, including a night and “relax” function.
Across from the bed was a gigantic flat-screen TV. Below that was a bench for storage.
In the corner of the room next to the TV was an elegant sitting area with a chaise lounger, a white marble-topped table, and a small chair. It was situated beautifully in front of one of the balconies, making for an oh-so-European scene. At least, that’s what it seemed like in my mind.
In the other corner was an intricate floor lamp, and in between was almost an awkward amount of dead space.
There were great views of Madrid’s cityscape from the balconies, and I really enjoyed keeping the doors open to allow some of the beautiful spring air to stream into the room.
I found the room to be beautiful overall. The designers did a great job of taking an old space and making it look beautiful and new without sacrificing the original charm and character of the building.
I really liked the bathroom at this JW Marriott, even though it was on the small side.
There was a sliding door that separated it from the rest of the room, a nice change from my experience at the W Amsterdam and W Barcelona. Inside was a single vanity topped with clean white marble, along with 2 plush robes for use during the hotel stay.
There was a stand-up shower with 2 showerheads — 1 mounted overhead and 1 on the wall. Unfortunately, the pressure wasn’t very good, and the water would fluctuate in temperature rapidly and often.
There was also a separate water closet, and overall I really appreciated the privacy this bathroom provided.
Due to the compact nature of this property, there’s only 1 main restaurant, along with its accompanying bar.
However, on the back end of the hotel on street level, there was a space that was still under construction and looked like it could be a cafe of some sort in the future. I asked the front desk staff if they knew what was happening in the space, but they claimed to have no idea. So, we’ll see!
Here’s a look at what was available at the time of my stay.
Helmed by Chef Mario Sandoval who earned 2 Michelin stars at one of his other Madrid restaurants, Coque, Qú offers a high-end dining experience and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
As I had plans every night for dinner, I only ate my complimentary breakfast at Qú each morning, which was available from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on weekdays and until 11:30 a.m. on weekends.
Breakfast was an extravagant affair, with both ends of the bar used for provisions.
On the lobby side, there was a station set up with cereal, some other cold items like smoked salmon, a tortilla Española, fresh juices, and more.
The fresh fruit selection was especially appealing.
In the actual restaurant space, the bar was set up with a selection of pastries and sweet treats.
The fruit tarts were particularly delicious.
And just to the side of the bar was a carving station set up with a range of cured meats, with the highlight being freshly sliced jamón serrano, in addition to several types of cheeses.
My complimentary breakfast included the buffet as well as items from the à la carte menu. Each day I ordered an omelet with tons of veggies as well as a side of bacon, accompanied by a bowl of fresh fruit and a glass of orange juice. I snuck in a few pastries as well.
The restaurant itself was a gorgeous space, with more beautiful wrought-iron columns, attractive banquettes, and a beautiful deep-blue color on the walls.
I also loved the light fixtures used throughout the space. Together, it made the restaurant look and feel totally high-end, which I’m sure is exactly what this 5-star hotel wanted.
Technically a part of Qú, the lobby bar felt differentiated enough from the restaurant.
It offered a full bar including liquor, beer, wine, and Champagne. One afternoon, Lori and another friend came to meet me at the hotel for a drink before heading to dinner.
We had 2 glasses of rose (€11 or about $12) and 1 glass of albariño (€9 or about $10), which came with a selection of tapas to accompany them.
I did notice the bar getting fairly busy in the evening before dinnertime each night, and the twin bartenders from Romania, Lawrence and Leonard, were a delight. They were patient when we wanted to try different wines before settling on one and were eager to make conversation with us.
The service was great at the JW Marriott Madrid, especially when you consider the hotel had opened just weeks before I arrived. Interactions with staff were minimal, but I view that as a positive in this case — the last thing I’d want is to stay at a hotel suffering from new-property jitters and be constantly on the phone with the staff.
I really liked my stay at the brand-new JW Marriott Madrid. Designers did a tremendous job converting an old building into a luxury hotel. I really liked my room, I loved the look of the public areas on the first floor, and I found the service to be great across the board.
If the price is right, I can see myself staying at the JW Marriott Madrid many more times in the future.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® card, click here.
Yes, the JW Marriott Madrid participates in the Marriott Bonvoy program, which means you can earn and redeem Marriott Bonvoy points for stays at the property.
Prices vary by date, but you can expect to pay anywhere from around $350 to over $800 per night.
Yes, JW Marriott hotels are considered to be luxury properties.
Yes, there are valet and self-park options at the JW Marriott Madrid. However, it will likely be more convenient to explore the city without a car.
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