Boutique & Spacious: H10 Tribeca at Madrid [Review]

One of the most amazing thing about Madrid was how spacious everything was. One would expect a city that seemed to stop in its tracks in the 80s would be small and dreary, but no! H10 Tribeca is one good example of how the city can combine new with old, and yet does not compromise on ergonomics.

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Background

Like I mentioned in the other post, I took a SIN-MXP-MAD flight, as there were no direct, non-stop flights between Singapore and Madrid. And due to my work commitments, I was not able to take the SIN-MXP-BCN direct flight by SQ, and hence the arrangement.

As my stay was for a week, and my work location was near central Madrid (near where Santiago Bernabéu Stadium was), I was in a dilemma between choosing an established Holiday Inn Madrid – Bernabeu, which was very convenient, or the H10 Tribeca, which was much cheaper but required a 10 minute walk to work.

As history would have it, I ended up with H10 Tribeca, and I must say I did not regret taking such a leap of faith.

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It’s a real shelf of books!

What Is H10 Tribeca?

Although small, H10 hotels is a rather established chain of hotels in Spain. Why do I say that? If you do a search, you will find that they have presence in most major Spanish cities. That alone was assuring for me, who actually only heard of it for the first time.

It was touted as a boutique hotel, and every other hotel with the H10 brand had its own unique, “boutique”-ness. For H10 Tribeca, it was its chic restaurant and bar, and an impressive library at its library.

Considering the price I had, I was worried that those were just gimmicks. Yes, you can have a funky restaurant with impressive bookshelves (I’m a book-geek, by the way), but were those their ways to mask the fact that the rooms were lousy? Overcoming this bugging thought was what I meant when I said I took a leap of faith in choosing this hotel!

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Room

Despite being a boutique hotel, it had none of the smallness of boutique hotels we are used to seeing in Singapore. The Double Deluxe room I stayed in was even larger than your typical double room. Compared to the Superior Deluxe room, the decor was older, harking back to the days of mid-2000s, which to me was “not too bad”.

The number o power outlets was adequate, though there was only 1 at the bedside, which meant that couple-travelers may find it hard to reconcile their mobile-charging needs at night. The table at the TV was not wide and there was no mirror – there was only sufficient space for doing simple work for business trips. And speaking of work, the WiFi was good, even for video streaming (ermmm… Yes, I was video-binging to de-stress from work).

 

The spaciousness extended to the wardrobe area; they split a typical hotel wardrobe into 2, framing a counter meant for your luggage (which was on top of that expandable and portable frame for small luggage). However, there was plenty of space in front of the wardrobe, so there was plenty of space for me to parade in front of the full-length mirror that was hung on the wall opposite the wardrobe. The safe could also be found in the wardrobe.

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Bathroom

Space wise, the bathroom did not disappoint too. The wash basin counter was spacious at about 2m wide. It was framed by an equally wide mirror, with a smaller one that had a magnifying capability. The lighting was also great (perhaps enhanced by the mirror), which would make this a better place for ladies to apply their makeup (and hence explained the limited space beside the TV, which was the usual place hotels allocate for “dressing up”).

Opposite the wash basin was the shower area (sorry, no bath tub there), which shared the length of the wash basin counter. The shower’s strength was powerful and there was space for one’s toiletries.

 

Tucked in a little corner was the WC; it was partially cordoned off from the shower/basin area, but if you are looking to complete privacy, then too bad, travelers sharing a room must use the bathroom separately. The toilet bowl and a corresponding wash basin sat on opposite ends of the little space.

Overall, the bathroom seemed like the newest part of the room. I quite liked its black-tiles theme that looked elegant without seeming drab.

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Service

I had heard about the warm nature of Spanish people, and that warm hospitality extended to the service staff. During check in, I was a bit skeptical of the hotel; the reception was tucked away in a corner of the lobby space and looked cramp and untidy. That outlook changed when the staff came out to greet me. In fact, they always greeted me when I walked past the reception.

On a side note, the lobby area was split into 2: the waiting area that was decorated into a library-themed space, and a cafe/bar. The appeal of the library-themed decor was apparent in the presence of people lounging there at all times of the day!

The cafe/bar followed a rather minimalist theme, which complemented with the full length windows that allowed the sunshine into an otherwise dimly-lit lobby. I will write a more detailed article on the cafe, just because it deserved one on its own!

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Room Service

All business travellers would be interested to know about the quality of in-room dining, what with the hectic work schedule that leaves little time for leisure! One night, I decided to order room service after realising I had not had dinner.

I didn’t order “authentic” Spanish food. Instead, since the menu was “international”, I decided to try their “Asian” option – Fried Noodle – and “Western” option – Seafood.

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Again, the chef was rather liberal with the salt. I didn’t expect the “Asian” noodles to be good in a western country, since the trick of making yummy noodles Asian style is complicated and often lost in translation. That was not the worst “Asian” noodles I had – the noodles were amazingly not soggy, and there was a slight layering to the taste, most likely due to the fact that the chef stir-fried the vegetables and prawns together with the noodles. Smell-wise, I wouldn’t say it was heavenly; somehow western chefs are oblivious to the existence of sesame oil lol

The seafood (I really forgot the name!) fared much better, since it required less processing and was prepared in western style. I must say the seafood was fresh and chewy. When I opened the cover, I was so glad that I ordered the noodle too, since the portion of the seafood seemed to be meant for ladies on a diet!

In conclusion, I think the in-room dining was not bad. The Asian option could not be compared to the ones we get in Asia itself, but it was already good enough!

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Neighbourhood

The hotel sat equidistance to 2 stations of 2 different lines; although it meant a good 10-minute slow walk to either of the stations, it also translated to convenience to reaching different parts of the city. In one direction, you would reach the Santiago Bernabéu metro station situated along the famed Paseo de la Castellena boulevard – the main arterial road of the city.

If you walk to the other direction to Estrecho station, you will pass by a charming church, Parroquia Santa María Micaela, tucked away in a quaint residential neighbourhood. In other words, there was this old charming church without the hustle and bustle of the tourists greeting you on the way to the station! I really liked it as I stood in the plaza in front of the church, soaking in the sense of tranquility in an otherwise busy city!

 

If it wasn’t apparent in my prior description, the hotel is actually in a residential neighbourhood. On my evening walks back from work, I would walk past parks and playgrounds that would be filled with children’s laughters, while their mothers gathered to discuss their day’s experiences.

The funny thing is that despite being a residential zone, there were still pubs (and a big Irish one too!) in the area. I had mixed feelings walking back from the metro station after dark; the streets were not desolated, and yet the presence of an occasional drunk dude made me all alert and paranoid (I am after all a small-sized Asian guy…)

Last, but not least, grocery (how can I write a hotel review without tips on getting grocery conveniently?!). This was where Google Maps failed an inexperience traveler like me.

I couldn’t really find the grocery stores that were just beside my hotel; they looked more like a small provision shop and they were always closed when I walked past. On my first day, when I had to do my compulsory grocery shopping which happened on a Sunday when the whole town was dead, I got panicky when I could not find a supermarket that was opened. After wandering for 30 minutes, I found Aldi which was a 5-minute walk away, located off Paseo de la Castellena. It was very well-stocked, but it was a tad too far for me.

I found out a few days later, after a bit of off-map exploring, that there was another supermarket just across the park beside H10. It was smaller, yet functional. The only downside was that the staff spoke little to none English at all, so I had to guess what they were trying to tell me based on my usual grocery shopping experience (like… “Card or cash?”).

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The supermarket is just around the corner from the hotel.

Other than the cafe in-hotel, there was a small bakery just beside the main door, which served great pastry and coffee! There was also a Starbucks opposite the hotel. Initially, I was worried I could not get breakfast in a foreign place (I heard that Europeans dined in all the time), so boy was I glad when I found those 2 cafes!

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Security

The neighbourhood was good in general, so it explained the not-so-thorough security features. I mean, there was no card access at the main door or the lift, nor there was a dedicated security personnel. However, that was a small lobby, and there will always be a watchful eye from either the reception or the cafe staff. I knew it, because they always greeted me lol

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Verdict

The hotel did exceed my expectations! I was expecting cramped, dingy rooms given the price and the hippy advertising. What I got was a comfortable, spacious room that was also convenient to transportation and food.

One thing to note though, the photos in the hotel’s website were too bright. The hotel in actuality was dim and bordering on cosy and creepiness. In fact, my room was too big for single occupancy! My room’s windows also faced the rooftop of the neighbouring building, which looked like one could have BBQ on it. In fact, when I scouted the neighbourhood, I saw that there were ladders leading up to the said roof. In the end, not only did I not open my windows (yes, they could be opened!), my curtains were always drawn; I was usually in the room after dark and I would be damn spooked if I see a pair of eyes staring at me from outside!

If you are interested to read more about Madrid, I have another post about a whirlwind tour of Madrid in 3 hours, especially good for those who really have limited time for a leisure tour of Madrid, and yet do not want to miss out on seeing the best of the city.

Or if you are a hopeless foodie, you can check out this post where I introduce some of the food places that the local will eat (spoiler alert: Spaniards don’t just eat Spanish food!)

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H10 Tribeca

Calle de Pedro Teixeira, 5, 28020 Madrid, Spain

+34 915 97 15 68

h10hotels.com

Bonus!

As mentioned earlier, Holiday Inn was one of my considerations when I was researching for accommodation in Madrid, especially when it was recommended by my boss; he said that the room had iron and ironing board, which was a major plus for him on business trips. For me, the main appeal of the hotel was its proximity to my meeting location. When I ended up with H10 Tribeca, I still walked past Holiday Inn on my way to work. Therefore, even though I did not end up choosing it, I kept a look out for it whenever I walked past.

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I think the main confusion for anyone coming to Holiday Inn for the first time was the orientation of the hotel. On Google Maps, you can see that Holiday Inn was pinned in the middle of the block. It was actually part of a complex, which in turn was located in a block of land consisting of multiple buildings around an open plaza. If you based on Google Maps, it would seem that the lobby of the hotel opened to a road, or a slip road of some kind. In reality, that was a stretch of car tunnel.

In other words, the lobby of Holiday Inn opened to the plaza that it shared with other buildings. In order to get to the main entrance, you would have to drop off at the roadside and walk about 3 minutes. In my few days exploring the neighbourhood, I did not see any part of the hotel opening to the main road.

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When referencing with the hotel’s website, you would notice that there is no gym facilities in the hotel. Instead, there is Holiday Gym, housed in the same building, accessed from the outside of the hotel as it was opened to public. What you can do is to pop over to the gym and show your room key to get access to the gym facilities. The hotel does have a rooftop swimming pool that is opened in the summer. As the neighbourhood was made up mainly low-rise buildings, the view should be nothing short of spectacular.

Food wise, like I mentioned, the whole block is a group of buildings around a plaza. The buildings are mainly office blocks and shopping malls. Therefore, there is no shortage of shopping and dining options when you stay at Holiday Inn, though they may be on the expensive side since they serve mainly office workers. If you are willing to walk further, cheaper options like local bistros or fast food like Burger King is just a 5 – 10 minute walk away. If all else fails, just remember there is a Starbucks just across the plaza from the hotel lobby for you to have a quick breakfast.

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The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is a landmark in the area, and just beside the Metro station serving Holiday Inn.

The metro station is about a 5-minute walk away, on the other end of Moda Shopping Mall. The metro line serving Santiago Bernabéu does not connect to the Madrid-Barajas, but it does serve as a convenient mode of transport to the historic centre around Sol station, which is just a couple of stations away (with a change of line). If you walk the other way, albeit a longer walk, you will reach Alvarado metro station that connects directly to Opera.

Given the great convenience and location, why did I not choose Holiday Inn?

I’m not being hypocritical by upselling a hotel I chose not to stay; the advantages above meet the expectations of what most travellers, but I’m not normal.

Price was a big factor, and H10 Tribeca was about 70% of the price tag of Holiday Inn. Of course, I expected many of my colleagues from other organisations to be staying in and around Holiday Inn, so I wanted to avoid the awkwardness of having to hang out with them after work (I prefer to do my own exploration after work lol). Lastly, the photos on the website didn’t do the hotel much justice. I noticed that the furnishings were outdated, which made me wonder if it was a conscious choice, or it was because they had not changed their curtains/furniture/carpets for a long time. Although Holiday Inn is a generally respectable brand of hotel, I thought I would take my chances with a boutique hotel like H10 Tribeca, which was cheaper, but oh… There was no ironing facility in the room! XD

Holiday Inn Madrid – Bernabeu

Plaza de Carlos Trias Bertrán, 4, 28020 Madrid, Spain

https://www.ihg.com/holidayinn/hotels/us/en/madrid/tojsp/hoteldetail/amenities?cm_mmc=GoogleMaps-_-HI-_-ES-_-TOJSP#

+34 914 56 80 00

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