At Last ! – My Madrid Hotel: Full Story and I Share My Secret

Styling of Bathrobes not Seen Before by Me: Good Point

Styling of Bathrobes not Seen Before by Me: Good Point

Friday 23rd October 2009

 It’s disgraceful. I’ve been at the Hotel Villa Real, Madrid for two days. But we haven’t had criticism of the hotel. As you know, hotels are the throbbing heart of Poor Little Rich Gay life. They are any holiday’s main object; we like our homes to resemble hotels. Anthony Mottram’s museum-sized apartment in Prague has a hotel bedroom and bathroom within it. Smallmeal’s former London home was often assumed to be a hotel.

 If you’re wondering what I mean by ‘hotel’, remember Mrs Solomon Bung of California’s great saying: ‘Four Stars – hell. Five Stars – heaven’.

It follows naturally that criticism of the hotel is a highly developed skill of PLRGs. I’ve already mentioned, this Villa Real is awfully brown. When we arrived, the Gay Mother said, ‘You have that room, it’s more masculine.’(A bit much, as a remark, don’t you think?) But the only difference was that the brown bedspread in the supposedly more feminine room was temporarily absent. The next day she said, not with enthusiasm, ‘I’ve got a brown bedspread now.’

 We’ve got luxury wood flooring, walnut veneer furniture, a balustrade and steps down to the sitting area, red-brown leather sofa, dirty yellow rag-rolled walls, two splurgy paintings and three paper flowers sprouting out of poles about 5 foot high.

 It’s 5 star, you know.

  But really it might as well be my father’s office in the 1960s and that was old-fashioned then. He was a provincial solicitor – walls mushroom and woodwork choc gloss. Lino floor.

It’s drab.

 I picked up one of the wooden coat hangers and it dropped to pieces in my hands – wretched thing made of balsa wood and ineptly nailed together.

 But it’s 5 star.

 Now the bathroom I’ve got more time for. The ideal hotel bathroom should be as if hewn from a solid block of marble. This has that feeling but look – I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. Crud around the bath, staining of the marble, the floor tiles not aligned with the wall tiles (what would Bruce MacBain say?)

How could we build our holiday around a hotel like this?  On the other hand, (you’ll be astonished, I know), the Gay Mother and I have struck lucky, we have been blessed. This is my secret. I’ve had good fortune like this before. At the Hotel Raphael in Rome where the wires were sticking out of the shaving socket. You see, this Hotel Villa Real in Madrid (5 stars), it’s due for refurb, isn’t it? It’s delap, it’s had its day.

 You know what that means, don’t you?

 Yes!  Prices are slashed. We’re only paying 135 euros a night each (you get what you pay for, as the Multis would say).

 But it’s still 5 star. Who can deny it?

 So this is what you must do. Find a 5 star on its last legs and pile in.

Just one question: if the hotel was not to be our main occupation, how were we to pass the time? What on earth have we been doing in Madrid since Wednesday? Could there have been sightseeing? If you can wait until tomorrow, I’ll tell you.

Incorrect Tiling Module: What Would Bruce MacBain Say?

Incorrect Tiling Module: What Would Bruce MacBain Say?

Stained Marble in the Bathroom

Stained Marble in the Bathroom

5-star Bathroom Crud

5-star Bathroom Crud

Three Paper Flowers in Vase in Hotel Room

Three Paper Flowers in Vase in Hotel Room

Posted Friday, October 23, 2009 under Adrian Edge day by day.

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8 comments

  1. Olympia Thaniakionassios says:

    These remind me much about Savoy London (I think 5 stars too) before it close couple of years ago. No fun lying watching tv when all the time workmen came to fix blocked toilet, and afraid to put feet on the floor because of mouses.

  2. admin says:

    What is happening to our hotels! Even the Multis were crushed by the horror of the Gritti Palace, Venice at 700 euros a night

  3. Robert Nevil says:

    Not sure I like the sound of this hotel. It appears to have what a grand textile-restorer friend once described as ‘dirty protest decor’.
    On the other hand, a really dingy hotel can be charming. I once
    (c. 1984, strapped for cash) stayed at the Hotel Metropole in Lisbon which clearly hadn’t been decorated since the war. In spite of its name it was more like a pensione (or whatever they are called in Guese), with lovely low rates to match. Although the room was more of less dark, there was a spacious balcony looking out over a grand square for cocktails. I later and not entirely to my surprise discovered that Barbra Pym had stayed there in 1954 and written about it in her diary: imagine the thrill! imagine the furnishings!

  4. admin says:

    I do agree but where have all the dingy hotels gone? I had the same experience at the Hotel Campo dei Fiori in Rome in 1980. Spent a week in huge attic room with dusty brick floor, vast sagging bed. Imagined I was in La Boheme. What’s more, just turned up on spec in the height of summer. No booking.

  5. I can’t believe your experiences at the Savoy. And I bet you were paying a fortune!

  6. Robert Nevil says:

    Oh happy days of cheap holidays in Italia. Arriving with Adrian at a pensione in Rome – very central, somewhere near the Pantheon? – where the harridan in charge (no teeth, brindled red and grey hair unwashed since the war) took one look at us as barked “Matrimoniale?” – Italian, apparently, for double bed but more than a little suggestive. Perhaps Adrian was wearing those pink harem-trousers he affected in our carefree youth. And he probably had a copy of Firbank’s complete works tucked under one arm. I cannot now remember what arrangement we came to – separate beds or a bolster between? Whatever the case, it made one feel that even the humblest B&B in Rome was a deal more civilised than its equivalent in, say, Bournemouth.

  7. admin says:

    I think that must have been the same Hotel Campo dei Fiori I mentioned in reply to your last comment. But never again was that romantic room offered which I had in the summer of 1979. The other rooms were filth.

  8. Anthony Mottram says:

    I stayed at the Campo dei Fiori in the early 1980’s on Edge’s recommendation. I found it exactly as he’d left it, the bed unmade, Firbank graffiti on the bathroom walls, an empty bottle of Vidal Sassoon Conditioner and a large half-eaten box of Mozart Balls.

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