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Gay Pride in Madrid is fabulous; the whole city parties, not just the LGBT community. I normally stay at the Westin Palace Madrid on the Plaza de las Cortes because it’s at the center of the action, right on the parade path. But that also means that staying there during Pride can be hectic, chaotic, messy, loud and hot.
This year I wanted something a little different; I wanted to stay close to everything, but in a quieter neighborhood. And the AC Santo Mauro Madrid is exactly that – it is a gorgeous hidden gem in the Madrilenian district of Chamberi, near the Paseo de la Castellana.
I’d never even heard of this property until shortly before my stay, but ever since, readers and friends have come out of the woodwork to tell me it is their favorite property in Madrid. And since it’s a Marriott property, you can use Marriott Rewards; rates start at €200 ($218) or 40,000 points per night.
I stayed in a Junior Suite, which would have cost €390 ($430) per night in cash and required a redemption of 160,000 points for my four-night stay.
The AC Santo Mauro is the former 19th-century residence of the Duques of Santo Mauro. It became a hotel in 1989, and was renovated in 2002; it has 34 rooms and 17 suites. It’s important to note that although it’s called the AC Santo Mauro, it is an Autograph Collection property, not an AC, which in general is more in the budget category.
As far as design goes, this one is old and grand; you actually get a big key that you leave at the front desk whenever you exit, kind of like at a small bed and breakfast. And it definitely has that vibe; the whole time I felt like I was in a rich Spanish relative’s mansion.
The downside of this private, cozy feeling is that you are, in effect, sharing a stately residence with others. One night I had some friends come by to the lobby bar for drinks after dinner, about 11:45 pm – but there was no server to be found, and we had to kind of track them down.
Once served at the bar, although we weren’t loud, we were asked not to laugh (?!) because the people upstairs could hear us. So it’s not a hotel where you want to entertain, especially late at night. But obviously, there are enough places to go in Madrid that you don’t have to hang out at your hotel!
To get to my room I had to go through the lobby, down a small flight of stairs, and out to a separate house. Far from being an nuisance, it was a pleasant walk. Luckily, even though I was on the ground floor, it’s a quiet neighborhood and noise was never an issue.
The room itself was big and open, with ridiculously tall ceilings.
Beautiful furnishings and a comfortable bed made the room a real jewel.
The shower was a little bit tiny, but that’s Europe for you. The bathroom itself was stocked with amenities, including dental and sewing kits.
The room service menu is basic, and there’s not really breakfast; it’s more of a one-size-fits-all lunch menu for both day and night. The food was satisfactory at best, and with so many cheaper, more delicious places within walking distance I wouldn’t recommend wasting a meal on room service.
I didn’t eat at the restaurant on site, but I did have a couple glasses of wine on the terrace outside, where water misters that go off about every 30 seconds to keep the heat at bay.
For relaxing during the day, there’s an underground pool and a very small gym.
The staff was warm, professional and efficient. For example, though there was no iron or ironing board in the room (annoying), these things were, upon my request, brought to me both quickly and kindly.
Overall, the AC Santo Mauro Madrid is an interesting, attractive property. It had a friendly, cool vibe, and I would highly recommend staying here on your next trip to Madrid. Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.