Without a good bed a hotel loses its raison d’etre yet, even in the most luxurious hotels, a comfortable bed is not a given. I have stayed in many, many hotels, travelling far & wide as a fashion editor at The Wall Street Journal, and as an editor at Conde Nast Traveller. I have also been known to review hotels for The Sunday Times Travel section.
I believe I know my hotel beds.
There are the tolerable beds, the ones you don’t really notice. You get in, you sleep well, you get up. And yet…nothing really registers bar that you are pleased that your back doesn’t hurt the next morning.
Then there are the really glorious beds: with the right combination of mattress, height, linen and width. These are the exception not the rule. I could direct you to the heavenly marshmallow cloud of a bed at The Peninsula NewYork, the luxurious ease of the mattress at The Beverly Hills Hotel, or the cool, crisp sheets into which I slid post-clubbing at Malmaison London but the bed that I think of with love right now is the huge King size one (above) at Madrid’s very grown up & sophisticated Hotel InterContinental Madrid where I stayed for two nights a few weeks ago.
I had crawled off the red eye from New York a shadow of my normal ebullient travelling self, desperately sick, tired and longing for sleep. I wanted my bed with the same passion that King Charles called out for a horse.
So, imagine how it felt to arrive at what looked to be an 18th century palace in the heart of the city, check-in in seconds, be shown to a vast, perfectly appointed room, take a scalding hot, soapy shower in the luxurious marble bathroom, draw the heavy curtains, and then climb into a bed so comfortable, so supportive, so enveloping that I wanted to stay there for days, not hours.
There were SIX pillows (& a pillow menu should they not suit) enveloped in the softest cotton slips, white Frette linens, an enormous duvet of just the right weight for warmth without stifling, and enough space for at last three people to stretch out comfortably. (If that’s your thing.)
During my time at the InterCon I saw nothing of Madrid bar the luxurious antique-chic interior of the hotel, as I lacked the strength to go elsewhere. But I can’t think of a better place to hole up.
From the truly lovely & concerned room service gentleman who brought me delicious mushroom soup and offered me hot water bottles as I coughed all over him, to the fantastically efficient girls at the Club Intercontinental Lounge reception desk, no one could have been kinder, snappier, more generous, more charming.
Ah yes, the Club Intercontinental Lounge. This I recommend. With bells on. If you upgrade to a Club room, you don’t just get a larger bedroom, with a seating area and, most useful for sick insomniacs, tea & coffee makers, you get access to THE PRIVATE LOUNGE.
As equally useful for people like me who can’t facing leaving the cocooned luxury of the hotel, as it is for important people who wish to take meetings, check the internets or read the gratis daily newspapers, it provides not just freebie lunch, cocktail hour and dinner snacks, but what they euphemistically call a complimentary Buffet Breakfast, and I call a FEAST.
Imagine my joy as I fitfully lifted silver domes on various chafing dishes of bacon and eggs to discover that the confusingly-named Judas Beans at the very end were my beloved Heinz Baked Beans. Rarely, I think, can a hotel guest have been happier than I at that point. The acres of delectable Jamon de Serrano, interesting cheese, myriad breads & bowls of perfect fruit were all very well, but nothing, nothing beats baked beans on the freshest white bread when you are abroad & miserable.
Truly, I love this hotel.
The Hotel InterContinental Madrid
Paseo de la Castellana 49 • Madrid, 28046 • Spain
Tel: +34-91-7007300 •
LLG was a guest of the Hotel InterContinental Madrid