It was at this moment that I realized that I could no longer relate to the song Never Been to Spain, which was a hit song written by Hoyt Axton for Three Dog Night back in 1971; and I have been to England, Las Vegas, Oklahoma and Arizona but I have not been to Needles — but I digress.
In what I have come to realize what seems to be typical for a gate which serves airplanes operated by Ryanair, if the aircraft must have taxied for at least 20 minutes, then that means that the walk from the gate to the exit will feel like the distance for a marathon, to which Kathy of Will Run For Miles and Charles Barkowski of Running With Miles might attest. It felt like it took forever until we finally approached the gate, which again was far away from the exit.
I do not mind walking long distances — in fact, I usually thrive on that — but it was late afternoon and I wanted to get to my hotel room to relax. The signage to the area where the shuttles stop to take guests to their respective hotels was easy enough to follow; so I sat on a bench and waited for the shuttle to take me to the AC Hotel Coslada Aeropuerto, which was close by and operated a free shuttle between the airport and the hotel.
In addition to the free shuttle, other reasons why I initially chose this hotel include its proximity to a station where trains on their way to Madrid stop; as well as the room rate of $93.56 per night, which included all taxes and fees — not too bad for a hotel room in Europe.
The Hotel Shuttle From the Airport
As the shuttles for other hotel properties came and went while I sat there, I thought to myself Great. I am having the same typical luck with the hotel shuttles here that I have with hotel and rental car shuttles elsewhere. If you ever want to find out about all of the shuttles which serve a particular airport, travel with me to an airport and witness them first-hand for yourself.
Then the shuttles started to repeat themselves by returning with an encore appearance. I whipped out my laptop computer and attempted to access the Internet; but the signal was weak at the outdoor stop for the hotel shuttles. I then went inside the terminal and was equally unsuccessful.
With frustration starting to set in, I waited a little longer for the shuttle to the hotel before I walked around the terminal in an attempt to find a courtesy telephone desk where one can call an airport hotel to find out when the shuttle will arrive — or, at least, let management at the hotel property know I had arrived — but with no luck.
After I waited greater than an hour for the hotel shuttle — which included the significant amount of time I spent trying to access the Internet and attempting to find that courtesy telephone — I found an information desk, from which the woman told me that the only way to communicate with personnel at a hotel property is to use a public telephone.
As I did not have a subscriber identity module — or SIM — card in my mobile telephone which would work in Spain, I dropped a euro into the pay telephone and called the hotel. After being put on hold — and hoping that the call did not end before having to place another euro into the telephone — I said that I had been waiting over an hour for a shuttle to arrive; but I was informed that the shuttle service was by appointment only.
“Well, I am here at the airport now. Could you please schedule a shuttle for me?”
“Yes,” said the man on the other end of the telephone call. “It will be there in 20 minutes.”
My mouth said “Okay.” My mind thought 20 minutes?!? You have got to be kidding me.
One hour and 45 minutes after I arrived at the stop for the hotel shuttles, a white van with the logo of the hotel finally arrived — it was nighttime, as the sun had already set and the van appeared significantly greater than 20 minutes after the telephone call — and the van appeared unimpressive when compared to many of the other hotel shuttle vehicles.
The First Room: Toilet Failure
We arrived at the hotel — I was the only passenger on the shuttle — and I checked in at the front desk, received my room key card, ascended in a slow elevator, walked down one of the darkest hallways I have ever seen in a hotel, and opened the door to my room.
This room is not bad, I thought to myself. Not great; but not bad. I took my camera out and started taking photographs of the room which was to become my home for the next three nights — the third night on which I had a flight scheduled to Amsterdam early in the morning the next day.
I then went into the bathroom, which appeared to be nice…
No tissues were provided anywhere in the room, which I thought was unusual.
I was greeted by a toilet which was not flushed by the last person who used it. I will spare you the gory details, but no big deal — I simply flushed the toilet…
…only for the water to not stop running in it. This was not acceptable. I did not want to stay in a room where my attempt to sleep had to compete with a noisy toilet.
I went back downstairs and voiced my concerns to the woman behind the front desk, who — like the rest of the staff, I have come to find out — seemed rather indifferent than helpful. After suggesting — no, not threatening, suggesting — that I was considering checking out of the hotel, I was given a larger room with complimentary access to the Internet. With that, I received a lecture — I suppose to demonstrate how fortunate I was pertaining to their generosity towards me — on how only members of the Marriott Rewards frequent guest loyalty program who have Gold elite level status and higher can receive complimentary Internet access…
…despite the fact that the hotel provided an option for free Internet access anyway — slow as it may have been. I was not going to debate that with her. I just wanted to relax and get to sleep.
She also offered me breakfast — if I wanted to pay at least 12 euros per night. I declined.
The Second Room: Larger
I retrieved my belongings and moved them from the first room to the second room, whose appearance was similar to the first room but was indeed larger.
The room itself looked good at first glance; but I needed to check the bathroom — especially the toilet, which operated properly.
The bathroom was exactly the same in both rooms — except that there was an extra tube of the gelatinous body wash.
I was tired; so after taking some photographs of the room, I prepared myself for bed and eventually went to sleep. The bed was reasonably comfortable.
Room With a View? Not Exactly…
I awoke the next morning to see the view out of the window of the room.
The hotel is located in an industrial area near the airport; so do not expect any good views or many places to go nearby.
I decided to take some more photographs inside of the room that morning with daylight entering the room…
…and I found a stain on the bed sheet — which fortunately was located on the opposite side of the bed from where I slept — and I did not even want to speculate how that stain got onto the sheet…
…and one of the towels was stained as well. The stains looked like blood stains.
I have no idea whether or not the stains simply did not wash out in the laundry — or if they were even laundered at all — but I made sure I did not sleep on that side of the bed.
Towels which I used were taken away each day I stayed in that room; but they were never replaced — meaning I had fewer towels each day. It was not like I originally had an abundant supply of towels to use.
I could have reported these additional issues to the front desk; but at that point I had already had enough of dealing with them. Members of the staff of this hotel property were not warm or friendly at all.
There were no peepholes on the doors of either room in which I stayed. That could potentially be a safety issue, I would think.
To top it all off, it appeared that I was overcharged for one night; but that was eventually reversed without my intervention.
Response From General Manager
I corresponded my concerns via e-mail message to Marriott Customer Care; and here is the response I received from the general manager of the hotel property…
Dear Mr. Cohen,
We would primarily like to thank you for choosing to stay at Ac Hotel Coslada Airport & we would want you to accept our best apologies in the name of AC hotels by Marriott.
Secondly, we would also want you to know that in AC Hotels we try every day very hard to give our customers the best service, offering and providing the highest possible customer satisfaction. Despite this fact, as any other company taking care of a service business, not every time our efforts matches customer expectations.
Regarding your comments about to use our shuttle service, as indicated in our web page, This Free service “On Request” is held from Monday to Friday and requires an advance booking. I regret any inconvenience we have caused, if I inform you that shuttle service offered by our hotel, as well information on our website is available upon reservation and availability of places.
In our web, hotel site , and fact sheet , you can see in diferents pages our services.
We send the screenshots of our website which gives details of this service.
This information is always visible on the website, from our hotel we do not have access to make changes.
On the other hand the service is always on request, so it is necessary to book in advance , if you no have reservation, we can not guarantee this free service.
The Front desk department, always informs that this service is subject to availability of places and times and always alert to all customers that this free service does not work on holidays, weekends and August.
Attached I send you the information of our Shuttle service which is available also on our website.
Also later , is noted in the reservations confirmations, if you review your email you can see
Free airport Shuttle, on request
From 7.30 am to 9.00 pm from Monday-Friday. Not available in August & weekends.
I Think before you make your reservation you can get enough information about the services offered or include in our hotel.
We can ensure that our wishes only seek to do the best work for the sole purpose of facilitating the stay to our customers and help on anything they might need.
I understand the hard time you waited for the airport and I really sorry for it, I´m sorry you Forced to spend one euro for a telephone call from a pay phone, but I communicate you that at Madrid International Airport Barajas there are many points of information and attention to passengers, and they also have information of nearby hotels and can directly contact us .
We are terribly sorry to hear about your perception of your stay in our establishment, we really had no notice at all, when we changed the room and made you an Up Grade, we though in this new room everything was right.
We understand that it could be a very few times some problems with any room, but this is really unusual and it’s because of this we changed you the room when you informed about your problems, after the check in, at the front desk.
In reference to internet connection, we work in every AC Hotels by Marriott in the same way and we personally think that it’s a good attencion for the our clients, so is very normal that the receptionist though that it was a good compensation when she saw you very disappointed. And it’s because of this, all Gold And Platinum members have free access as a privilege. And if you have any problem with your connection, we provide a support free telephone number with an English speaking people to help you directly to solve problem.
In reference to the towels, it depends on how many people are into the room, if there is only one, we put less towels and in AC Hotels by Marriott, as in our brand standard’s, we don’t use to put tissues, but if you ask for them at the front desk we give them to you without any problem and charge.
I regret the problems you had in your room but we were not really aware of anything else, that the problem with the Toilet. I would have been happy to assist you in person and to discuss with you the other problems you describe. But in that case you receive an internet connection & room Upgrade.
I’m sorry, but after contemplating the situation can we can’t refund any from the hotel, because I assure you that we don´t cheat any guest never, the information is always visible and clear on our website, which since the hotel not have accessibility and we can’t make any changes, all services offered by the hotel are described on the website.
On our property we are very aware of the Marriott rewards good customers and always try to treat them according to the procedures.
We appreciate your loyalty to Marriott and we hope you could hold it for a long time. I am sure that all Marriott’s brands, AC Hotels by Marriott too, are able to give you greats experiences. But each one accordingly with its service providing.
Nobody likes to hear complaints, but we are absolutely sure that feedbacks as this one helps us to improve and grow up.
We can’t fix the last trip, but we would like to be a good remember the next one.
Once more, all the staff apologize for the situation and we appreciate your comments, because they help us to improve in the future.
Our hotel is deeply sorry about any inconveniences that could have occurred to your reservation at AC Hotel Coslada Aeropuerto.
I remain at your disposal for any question that you need.
Thank you very much for choosing Ac Hotels By Marriott.
Regarding the airport shuttle, the general manager is correct: it is clearly stated on the Internet web site that the airport shuttle is available on request — complete with arrows which some fellow “bloggers” like to use liberally — and I take full responsibility for that…
…but that does not diminish the fact that watching shuttle vehicles from competing hotel properties while I was awaiting the shuttle vehicle caused me to wish that I was staying at one of them rather than at the AC Hotel Coslada Aeropuerto. For example, I would have rather stayed at the Hilton Madrid Airport — but there were no rooms available, as the hotel was sold out. That shuttle vehicle arrived at least three times while I was waiting. Next time, I will ensure that if I stay at a hotel property near an airport that it offers continual shuttle service.
Not that I needed the tissues; but I should not have to go to the front desk if I want tissues.
If this hotel property is indicative of what other properties under the AC Hotels brand is like, then I would rather not stay at one again — and that is a shame, as this stay could have been significantly better with little effort from members of the hotel staff.
Regardless, this hotel property is not convenient to much of anything nor is its shuttle service convenient; the staff is marginally helpful and offers a minimal amount of service but not what I consider friendly; and the quality assurance could use improvement. You are better off either staying at a hotel property either nearby or closer to Madrid.
I understand that one of the Holiday Inn airport properties nearby calls itself an airport hotel but offers no shuttle service; so things could be worse. Regardless, my advice to the staff of the AC Hotel Coslada Aeropuerto is to study your competition, as the service and product you offer needs significant improvement. If I waited for greater than 100 minutes for a shuttle vehicle, that means that no one else scheduled one, which meant that of the crowd with which I waited for hotel shuttle vehicles, no one else was going to the AC Hotel Coslada Aeropuerto; and the hotel did not exactly appear to be full of guests.
Although I have been an artist and creative person all of my life, I could not help but repeatedly think that design and style was too much of a priority over function and practicality. Marriott calls it European sophistication, apparently. This property looked decent enough; but they failed in striking a balance between style and functionality, in my opinion. I certainly would not call this hotel property — or my experience with it — sophisticated.
The one thing this hotel has in its favor is that it is less expensive than comparable hotel properties; but if you are simply looking for a place to sleep, there are less expensive options.
My conclusion is that I would not recommend staying at the AC Hotel Coslada Aeropuerto. Look elsewhere in Madrid for better, more convenient, or less expensive lodging options.
The nearest train station is San Fernando Henares; which is approximately a 15 minute walk away from the hotel; and the train — operated by Renfe Cercanías — is ironically slightly less expensive than the Metro to travel into Madrid due to no airport surcharge being imposed on this route. The train ride to Madrid is approximately 30 minutes.