Well located for business travelers and the Real Madrid stadium
Most of the interiors updated from 2015 renovation
Spacious rooms with traditional or chic modern decor
Extensive breakfast buffet and three a la carte restaurants
Seasonal courtyard pool, big enough for swimming laps
The Level exclusive floor with free tapas and drinks
Extensive meeting and function facilities on-site
Spa with sauna and modern fitness room
Rooms with kid- and pet-friendly amenities available
Free fast Wi-Fi throughout
Large car park on-site (pricey daily fee)
Far from any tourist attractions
Some rooms showing signs of age
Breakfast not included as standard
The Melia Castilla is a '70s-era, business-oriented hotel set in the Cuzco financial district to the north of Madrid's center. Renovations completed in 2015 give this huge, 15-floor property a new lease of life in its public areas and many of its 915 rooms, though plenty remain in need of a makeover. The breakfast service is a particularly extensive spread (though it's not included in rates), and there are several good dining options on-site. A large outdoor pool is a rare addition, plus there's a spa for post-meeting pampering. Kid-friendly facilities mean it is also an options for families, though tourists will find themselves away from most attractions. Another nearby option to consider that draws corporate guests is the NH Collection Madrid Eurobuilding, featuring Michelin-starred dining and sleek contemporary rooms, though no pool.
Enormous landmark hotel with upscale business-oriented atmosphere
Whether seen as a monolithic eyesore or an exemplary piece of Modernist architecture, it's hard not to be impressed by the sheer size of the 15-story Melia Castilla. A sense of scale certainly doesn't diminish upon stepping in to the cavernous reception area, with polished steel, stone, and glass sparkling from a 2015 update and the sun that pours through prism skylights during the day. Clusters of elegant wingback chairs provide seating areas for the frequent meetings that take place in the lobby, while a long travertine check-in desk is manned with friendly, professional staff and includes a mini-check-in for kids. This landmark chain hotel, however, is principally business-oriented, with a smart, upscale atmosphere that continues through a deluxe spa, numerous function rooms, a swimming pool terrace, and the exclusive "The Level" floor aimed at executives.
Set in north Madrid's financial district away from the tourist attractions
This hotel is located amongst the office and apartment blocks of the business and financial quarter of Cuzco, part of north Madrid's Tetuán district. While busy and bustling during the day with plenty of dining in the immediate surrounds, it mostly quiets down in the evenings and weekends. It's less that ideal for tourists as it's relatively far from the city center with no obvious attractions nearby. Real Madrid soccer fans are a 15-minute walk of Santiago Bernabeu stadium, and it's also 15 minutes on foot to the city's Golden Mile of high-end outlets and the Moda shopping complex. The dramatic Plaza de Castilla is a 10-minute walk, while two Metro stations -- Cuzco and Valdeacederas -- are six and seven minutes on foot, respectively, and connect to the city center in 15 to 20 minutes. The Madrid-Barajas Airport is 15 minutes away by road, and taxis tend to congregate outside the hotel.
Mix of traditional and modern rooms, some with superb city views
The Melia Castilla has a whopping 915 guest rooms across a range of categories starting with the entry-level Classic, through Premium and Deluxe to Junior and Grand Suites. The smallest are a relatively roomy 280 square feet (26 square meters) with suites around double that. With so many rooms modernized, decor is being rolled out in phases; updated rooms are chic and contemporary with calm muted tones and stainless-steel accents, while more classic rooms have antique-style furnishings (some showing signs of age). Most rooms either overlook the street or pool, with the 15th-floor's signature The Level Rooms offering great views over the city.
Standard amenities include 32-inch flat-screen TVs (with pay-per-view movies, though limited English-speaking channels), well-stocked minibars, free Wi-Fi, and electronic safes. Pillow menus and black-out curtains are other helpful extras, especially for light sleepers. Pet and kid-friendly rooms are available with appropriate amenities in each. Higher-category The Level Rooms also add Nespresso machines, tea sets, and bathrobes/slippers. Bathrooms are mostly traditionally styled (though some are more contemporary) all with marble accents, shower/tub combos, and hairdryers; better rooms add separate showers and branded toiletries.
Large outdoor seasonal pool, plus on-site parking and buffet breakfast -- at a cost
As one might expect from a hotel of this size and caliber, the Melia Castilla offers an impressive range of facilities. To start the day, the morning breakfast buffet provides 120 dishes (including eggs to order) making it one of the largest in the city. However, it does cost an additional fee. There are three other a la carte restaurants on-site, the traditional L’Albufera, considered one of the best specialist rice restaurants in Madrid, chic El Pelícano with an alfresco terrace, and the minimalist Distrito 798 offering high-end fusion. L’Albufera also has a mini-club for kids on weekends and holidays, while the Lobby Café is a popular meeting spot. Guests with rooms in The Level category also get free tapas and drinks in the exclusive club lounge, free breakfast buffet, plus private check-in and check-out. Room service is available around the clock for all guests, too.
The hotel is no slouch on the leisure front either -- it's one of the few hotels in Madrid with an outdoor swimming pool, large enough for a swim with loungers and a poolside bar (though it's only open in summer). A small spa offers massage treatments and a sauna, and there's a modern fitness room. Business travelers can use the wide range of meeting and function rooms, and Wi-Fi is free and fast throughout. The hotel also has a large car park on-site (though parking is expensive).