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Review: the Grand Melia Fenix hotel in Madrid, on my Amex Platinum free night

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This is my review of the Grand Melia Fenix hotel in Madrid.

Back in June, Amex Platinum charge card holders received a leaflet in the post.  As I wrote here, it offered everyone a free night – no catches – at one of a number of Melia hotels, mainly in Spain.

(This offer is still available until 30th November, which is a good incentive to get yourself an Amex Platinum card if you don’t already have one.  You also get 30,000 Avios for signing-up.  Here is my full review of the card.)

The most attractive package was at the Grand Melia Fenix in Madrid.  This is because it is part of the American Express ‘Fine Hotels & Resorts’ programme, and agreed to honour those benefits for the free night.

This meant that, as well as your free night, you receive:

An upgrade (necessary here, as I had been warned that entry level rooms are very small)

Free breakfast for two

Free lunch or dinner for two

Guaranteed 4pm late check-out

This all seemed too good to miss, especially as I haven’t been to Madrid for 6-7 years.

I flew down in British Airways Club Europe, a standard CE flight.  Coming back, as I wrote yesterday, I got the brand new long-haul Iberia A330 with fully-flat seating!

The Fenix hotel is to the north of the historic centre, and about 6-7 minutes walk north of the Prado museum.  It is not a hugely attractive area, surrounded by 1960’s office towers, including a massive Barclays building opposite.

Grand Melia Fenix Madrid review

Check-in was courteous and effective, with reception booking my restaurant table for that evening and even giving me the menu in advance!  (Amex guests get a special tasting menu.)

The Fenix sells itself as a historic hotel, built in the 1850’s.  It was derelict for a long period in the 20th century, however, and reopened as a mid-market Tryp hotel in the 1980’s.  When Tryp became part of the Melia group, it was upgraded to a Grand Melia property.  It is a member of ‘Leading Hotels of the World’, although that is never a guarantee of much!

Whilst the building looks huge, it is surprisingly lacking in public areas.  This is partly because a lot of the ground floor has been sub-let to a Hard Rock Cafe.  What is impressive is the hotel bar, which is surprisingly funky compared to the rest of the property.

Here is my ‘premium’, upgraded room.  Nicely furnished, although in a fairly ‘heavy’ style.  Note that the bed has been made up as two single beds and not turned into a double, which was not exactly convenient (I was travelling alone).

Grand Melia Fenix Madrid bedroom review

Small bathroom, with no separate shower.  The light in the toilet at the back was broken.  Decent toiletries from Clarins.

Grand Melia Fenix Madrid bathroom review

My view!!

Grand Melia Fenix Madrid review

And here is a throwback to the 1980’s.  Anyone under 40 should show this photo to their parents and ask what it is:

Grand Melia Fenix Madrid review 3

I went to dinner at 10pm.  I have read a few reports of Amex free nights, and they always report that the restaurant was empty!  I am pleased to report that there were three other occupied tables when I visited.

The menu was (verbatim):

Parmesan croquettes

Summer traditional ‘Gazpacho’

Marinated sardines toast with red pepper gelee

Capon ans traditional meatballs

Vanilla and pineapple with coconut crème and corn flakes

Selection of waters and coffee

The food actually came as a standard three-course meal.  The first three small dishes came together, with a second plate of the meatballs (but no side dishes) followed by the dessert and coffee.

Everything was included except alcoholic drinks, so my total bill was €7 for a glass of wine.

Breakfast the next morning was a comprehensive buffet.  It was very much European focussed, with Special K as the only breakfast cereal on offer.  A good selection, though, and I didn’t need any lunch until I reached the Iberia airport lounge at about 2.30pm.

My verdict

This is a very generous offer by Melia especially as they include dinner and breakfast.  You are getting around €350 of value (the cheapest room without breakfast was €220 for the day I booked).

That said, I am not sure if I would stay here again.  There are plenty of good hotels directly in the historic centre, and I’ve had pleasant stays at Villa Real and the Urban before.  The Ritz, run by Starwood, also has amazing public areas (I’ve never stayed, but have visited it) and I’d recommend that as well purely for that reason.

Being in the historic centre, instead of the fringes, also makes it easier to go out in the evening.  El Corte Ingles, the main department store, opens until 10pm but I couldn’t face the walk down, especially in the dark.  From any of the hotels above it would have been a 5 minute stroll.

I fully recommend the Fenix if you are looking to use your Amex Platinum free night, though, purely because of the extra amenities.

How to get MeliaRewards Gold status from American Express

How to get MeliaRewards Gold status from American Express (December 2023)

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE MeliaRewards Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Hilton Honors Gold and Radisson Rewards Premium status.

We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

You can discover the benefits of MeliaRewards Gold status on the Melia website here. It includes three vouchers per year worth 20% off any booking.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Small business owners may want to consider American Express Business Platinum instead:

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (16)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • olybeast says:

    Selection of waters? Worth every penny

    • Rob says:

      I was never actually offered a selection!

      Forgot to say in the report that I got a free bottle of water and a box of sweets as a gift in the room.

  • Squiilion says:

    10pm was probably a bit too early to expect many in the restaurant. I often go out for dinner well after that: 11pm or midnight even, when everything is just getting going 😉

  • Squiilion says:

    No wonder it was emptyish then 😉

    When in Spain…

  • 2002ad says:

    Do you know if there was a vegetarian option for the menu?

    • Alan says:

      No it’s a set menu but I’m sure they’d be willing to swap out the meat items for something veggie – I found them pretty helpful.

  • Colin MacKinnon says:


    When we stayed my wife asked for something glutten-free.

    Can’t remember what it was, but it was nicer than cockerel’s balls!

  • Danksy says:

    Looking forward to my stay on Saturday! Thanks Amex!

  • Peter says:

    It is an even better deal if you ask for a further (paid) room upgrade: In the Gran Melia Rome, I redeemed the voucher for a normal room, then asked for an upgrade (proposal weekend).
    We ended up with a room with private terrace and Jacuzzi, with a view over the Vatican, free Spa access, free breakfast, 2 hours of open bar by the swimming pool, lounge access and lots of other perks for €650 instead of €1500…worth every penny!

  • Riaz Shah says:

    Are these Plat offers open to Centurion card holders?

    • Rob says:

      If you had a Centurion in June and didn’t get the mailshot, then probably not. You could double-check the Centurion website to be sure, as it is promoted on the Platinum site

      • del says:

        CTS told me that all Platinum offers are automatically available to Centurion holders. I phoned when I saw your original post (thanks again for your excellent site) and was able to book immediately) – going tomorrow.

        Don’t recall seeing it on the Centurion web site but could be wrong

        • Riaz Shah says:

          Brilliant – thanks!

          • Riaz Shah says:

            The London one was apparently sold out many months ago!

          • Alan says:

            Yep, Raffles previously reported on here it sold out within a week or two I believe. I’d recommend the Gran Melia Fenix in Madrid as you get FHR benefits there too 🙂

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