This is our review of Aloft on Madrid’s Gran Via.
It is the third and final hotel review in our tour of Barcelona and Madrid. You can read our review of the W Barcelona hotel here and our review of the EDITION Barcelona hotel here. Marriott provided us with the stays but we paid for all our other expenses, including flights.
This was my first stay at an Aloft and I was intrigued to see what they offered. Aloft is not really a brand you come across much in the UK. There are just four hotels – in Birmingham, Liverpool, Aberdeen and in London by the Excel centre. Anika reviewed Aloft Liverpool here albeit five years ago and Rob reviewed Aloft London Excel here.
Aloft was originally launched in 2008 as a sort of sister brand to the W Hotels which were operated by SPG at the time. The best way to think of them is as a slightly budget, select-service version of a W.
There is some overlap with the Moxy brand, which is also a design-led budget brand. Marriott inherited Aloft when it bought Starwood and already owned Moxy at that point. Both Aloft and Moxy have quite disinctively different styles, however, so it is easy to tell them apart.
Aloft Gran Via was the first Aloft to open in Spain in 2019. You can see the hotel website here.
As the name suggests, the Aloft is located just off the Gran Via, one of Madrid’s main thoroughfares and shopping districts:
Getting to the hotel by public transport is simple. It is just 100m from Callao metro station with access to Lines 3 and 4 (yellow and green). Line 2 (red) is available from Santo Domingo station which is just a little further.
Getting around Madrid is easy too – you are within a short walk of many attractions, including Chueca, with its many restaurants and gay bars and Banco de Espana, which is where the Retiro park and Thyssen and Prado art museums are located.
Check in at Aloft Gran Via Madrid
Before you can check in you need to take the lift to the third floor, which is where reception is located. (There is nothing on the ground floor.) There are three lifts including a very small one which would be a squeeze for more than two or three people. The hotel is in a converted building and certain features were inherited, it seems.
Once on the third floor you have reception:
I was able to check in immdiately and it seemed to be well staffed throughout the day.
The third floor also has a mixed use space that is used for breakfast in the mornings and can be used as a lounge throughout the rest of the day:
Plus a grab and go ‘Refuel Cafe’ as you find at most Aloft hotels:
Rooms at the Aloft Gran Via
There are 139 rooms in the hotel. I was given a top category room, which in this case is a king room with city view and private terrace.
Whilst the Aloft opened in 2019 I imagine it was already a hotel as some of the fittings (such as the doors) feel older.
As you enter you have quite a long hallway with an open wardrobe on your left:
This is then followed by the large bathroom:
The shower has dual heads:
The all-in-one shampoo and shower-gel dispensers are by Bliss which is also what the W used up until recently. The bar of soap seems to be a different generic brand:
As you can see, the style is very white – I was surprised at how white given the brand’s history. I was expecting something a little more like a Moxy where everything is styled but that obviously wasn’t the case.
Moving on to the bedroom, there is an empty mini fridge with a very convenient suitcase rack above it:
You then have the king-size bed:
…. as well as a small desk in the corner:
There is a 49″ TV on the wall opposite the bed.
Open the door and you can walk out onto a large rooftop terrace:
The rooftop WXYZ Bar and pool are actually multilevel and since I had an end room my terrace abbutted the pool loungers. For this reason it didn’t feel hugely private, and it would be nice to make a slightly larger divider between both the pool and my room as well as the other rooms:
There is a small rooftop plunge pool as well as a number of loungers. The pool is open from 1pm until 8pm daily – I thought it was a shame it wasn’t open earlier as I would’ve liked to have had a quick dip before check out given the temperatures in Madrid.
With only a grab and go offering on the third floor the only place you can really dine is the WXYZ Bar on the rooftop. This offers a range of seating both around the pool and bar:
It has some decent views including of the opera house and royal palace. It is a good spot to catch the sunset over Madrid and enjoy a couple of drinks before heading to the bars.
The menu is fairly basic with a handful of tapas as well as some burgers on offer. Don’t expect anything gourmet and you’ll be content – it is mostly poolside food.
I had the croquetas, chicken ‘fingers’ (coated in cornflakes!) and the salmorejo:
Breakfast at the Aloft Gran Via
Breakfast is served in the third floor lounge rather than the rooftop bar, which is a shame. It would have been nice to be able to sit outside and enjoy the views in the morning.
It is a small self-serve buffet with limited hot options. You get the basics, including a few different cereals, pastries, bread and yoghurt:
Hot options are limited to scrambled egg and some bacon:
There is also mushed tomatoes and avocado in little reusable glass pots which I appreciated:
I went for the traditional option and made myself some toast with tomatoes and jamon iberico.
The Aloft Gran Via isn’t quite what I was expecting. Having never been to an Aloft my expectations were that it would be a slightly different version of a Moxy.
In general the rooms feel slightly larger and appear to have a less intrusive style, with a big focus on white and light wood colours. Whilst there are some colourful brand elements these are far more subdued than in any Moxy I have stayed at.
The breakfast is slightly better at an Aloft vs a Moxy as well, with a self-serve buffet with mostly continental options.
If I am being honest, if I had a choice between a Moxy and an Aloft I would probably choose a Moxy. But I am aware that for many people Moxy is a bit too youthful and ‘in your face’. If that’s you then the Aloft is a better option. As an overall package, the styling, pool, rooftop bar and good sized rooms at Aloft Gran Via made it feel value for money.
The Aloft Madrid Gran Via is a Category 4 hotel in Marriott Bonvoy, which means you’ll need between 20,000 and 30,000 points per night depending on season.
Cash rates start at €135 for a weekday night in September. The room I had, with the private terrace, starts at around €220 for the same dates and if you like the idea of your own terrace overlooking the city I would be tempted to splurge for this.
You can book on the hotel website here.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (December 2022)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.
You can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:
- American Express Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Rewards Credit Card (10,000 bonus Amex points)
and for small business owners:
- American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Business Platinum (40,000 bonus Amex points)
The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.
(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.)