Dreaming Big at the Madrid Marriott

To celebrate its relaunch after its extensive refurbishment, the Madrid Marriott Auditorium Hotel & Conference Center rolled out the red carpet in November, hosting a lavish party with a cinematic theme, including gala dinner for 700 people.

Graced by an all-star cast from some of Hollywood’s most iconic films including Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Pirates of the Caribbean and Casablanca, Audrey Hepburn provided the glamour, Johnny Depp the charm, and Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman the romance – or rather their film character lookalikes did.

‘Dream Big’ was the theme, reference not only to cinema’s capacity to transport and transform, but a symbol of the vision behind the hotel’s transformation.

And the Madrid Marriott has transformed from a dowdy family-run hotel to a real force for the MICE sector. Pablo Vila, the hotel’s general manager says the hotel’s owners had spoken to a number of potential investors including the likes of Sheraton and Novotel, before an agreement was reached with Marriott back in November 2013.

The hotel became part of the US hotel group’s portfolio (and its largest hotel in Europe) in November 2015, with refurbishment work beginning in April 2014 and completed in September 2016, having cost in excess of €40m. The hotel, is 10 minutes’ drive from Barajas airport and now focused firmly on the MICE segment. It boasts Madrid’s largest hotel auditorium (2,000 capacity), used every February for the Goyas, Spain’s Oscars. It has 56 meeting rooms 869 bedrooms and 1,000 parking places.

Management’s ability to ‘dream big’ seems to be paying off: RevPAR is up from €150 in 2015 to €200 this year and the pull of the Marriott brand has led to a significant increase in visitors, particularly from the UK and Germany.

Corporate bookings in the next 12 months include the accountancy group Mazars, which is bringing 900 people, IBM (1,300) and Novartis (750), with delegates staying for a minimum of two nights.

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