After my dad used cash and points for three nights at the Westin Valencia, I had to pick up the Madrid hotel and after researching the various options, I decided that the Radisson BLU Madrid Prado was the perfect nexus of quality, cost (free!) and location. I was excited, too, about staying at another Club Carlson Category 6 hotel because of our completely amazing stay at the Radisson BLU Amsterdam last year.
Happily, the Radisson BLU Prado was super.
Let’s get to location, and especially, location in terms of access to public transit, an underrated part of any hotel stay in Europe. The BLU Prado’s was impeccable – a six minute walk from the Estación de Madrid Atocha, the main railway station for Madrid. In fact, we were so close a cabbie told us that we should walk because he definitely would not drive us.
The hotel was also a four minute walk to the namesake museum, fifteen minutes both to the main square, or Plaza Mayor, and the chi-chi Salamanca district and a twenty minute walk to the Palacio Real de Madrid, the palace of Spain’s royal family
There’s absolutely no need to buy a metro pass if you are staying at the BLU Prado. The hotel’s neighborhood, Barrio de Las Letras, was also the focus of a recent NYT travel article, so you know it’s the coolest, raddest, dopest, hippest, marvelousest, artiest place in Spain (or not).
The hotel’s exterior was typically Spanish – stucco, farm colors and Juliet balconies – but the interior was all muted grays and blacks, very business-like. The surfaces looked and felt plush and deadened sound, entirely, it seemed, as I never heard any noise in the hallway or in the adjacent room. This was a definitively upscale hotel.
As Club Carlson Gold Elite members – due being Club Carlson credit cardholders – we were upgraded from a Single Room, or the base room you can book on points, to a Business-Class Room. As much as I love my dad, I didn’t want to share a bed, so I was happy our new room came with twin beds, even twin beds crowded together.
The room was smallish, but set up perfectly – we didn’t feel crowded. The room was decorated with a wall-to-wall graphic of the city and the lighting was from side soffits, making the room feel even, warm and enjoyable. We were also greeted with two, free bottles of water and a fruit plate, which I didn’t take any pictures of due to eating immediately.
I was also interested to see how the beds would compare to the Westin Valencia’s “Heavenly Beds,” and I was elated to find that we slept just as well, if not better, at the BLU Prado. In particular, my dad and I each had a three hour nap that featured past-REM levels of brain solitude.
The bathroom was American-, not European-style, in that the (rainforest!) showerhead was more than four feet off the ground, the bath products were plentiful and the towels were velvety.
Our fourth-floor balcony overlooked the small square outside the hotel and to the right, the Museo de Prado.
There was also a small gym in the basement along with a killer pool that we were just too exhausted to slip into at night.
Overall, this hotel was a 9/10. It’s just a fantastic, boutique-like hotel that is the perfect HQ for discovering the capital of Spain. At 25,000 points a night with the Club Carlson 2nd Night Free credit cardholder benefit, it’s an absolute steal and a hotel that I look forward to staying in again, someday.
Madrid’s an interesting city, less openly fantastic than Barcelona but still full of treasures, Where else can you order small-batch s’mores at a Japanese restaurant named for the master sword-crafter in Kill Bill Vol. 1?