It was the unusual name of the hotel that first caught our eye when researching flights and accommodation on the Net. "Chic 'n' basic" sounded just what we were looking for – great value with comfort and style thrown in for good measure.
Evidently the Mayerling was originally a textile warehouse, located in the Habsburg district of Madrid. That meant little to us, never having visited the city before, but it looked pretty central and within easy reach of the main attractions. Plus the room rate of around 65-70 euros per night included breakfast, which wasn't the case with so many similarly-priced establishments.
It turned out to be pretty easy to get to – once we'd found the Metro station at Madrid airport! A couple of easy changes and we emerged just round the corner. The main problem was getting my suitcase caught in the automatic ticket barrier. Oh, the thrills of using public transport in foreign cities!
The hotel itself is sleek and modern, furnished in a minimalist monochrome style which isn't to everyone's taste but we found it a refreshing change. OK, there's the usual criticism of not enough drawer space, but most people can put up with that for a few nights. Most of the staff spoke good English and were quick to respond to our request for more coat hangers. Strange, isn't it, how most hotels – even some of the 4-star ones – seem to think 3 or 4 hangers per person is more than enough.
We thought the shower was very odd at first, since the door was plain glass and you had a superb view of whoever was in it! We eventually realised that there was a retractable screen built in to preserve our modesty.
In the morning, we were impressed with the "help yourself" breakfast bar, which offered a choice of breakfast cereals, fruit juices, yoghurts and pastries. Plus some of the best coffee we've encountered on our travels abroad. OK, there was only enough space for a few of us to be eating breakfast at the same time, but that didn't seem to be a problem while we were there. And you could help yourself to refreshments 24 hours per day.
Together with the free Wi-fi throughout the hotel and a laptop available in the reception area for the use of the guests, we couldn't have hoped for much more.
The location was every bit as good as we'd anticipated. We walked virtually everywhere, only taking the Metro for the trip from the airport. Plus the tourist sightseeing bus, of course – a great way of getting your bearings on the first afternoon.