You only turn 21 once, and as I'd gone out to Madrid for the weekend of my lil sis Holly's, I wanted to do all I could to make it special.
Do you know what's pretty special?
A night in a four-star hotel. Particularly when you're a student. (No, not me, silly. Holly.)
Enter, the AC Hotel Recoletos.
Just a couple of minutes' walk from the gorgeous Retiro Park (more on that in an upcoming post, amigos), it's a great location, despite not being bang in the city centre.
The hotel is found in a pretty, quite quiet area, where you'll stumble upon unassuming but cute boutiques and restaurants.
As you can probably see from the photo at the top of this post, the hotel interior is modern, sleek and stylish. But despite that, the exterior of the building is delightfully classic.
The minimalist chic theme of the interior continued with our room, which was wonderfully huge.
When you live in a big shared house with eight (yes, eight!) other students, boy, do you appreciate cleanliness.
Happy birthday girl.
Safe to say we made ourselves at home pretty sharpish.
Other good, important things: the wifi was top notch, there were lots of sockets and functioning aircon (seriously necessary in a Madrid summer!). Our TV had a range of channels as well as radio, but we couldn't connect our iPhones to the speakers to play some tunes, which was a shame.
The beds were a literal dream. They were so comfy, and combined with the blackout curtains, it meant Holls and I both had the best night's sleep we'd had in a looooong time. I wanna have that night's sleep again.
There was a complimentary bottle of water, but just the one. I'd have thought they could've stretched to two given there were two guests, but oh well.
I was also dismayed to find a lack of tea-making facilities, but I suppose this is Spain, not the UK.
The bathroom was as spacious as the room:
We had the fluffiest of robes, towels in varying sizes AND slippers that were even big enough to fit my feet. They were probably meant for men again but I'll take it.
Pleasingly, we were provided with ALL the toiletries. I'm talking shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion, razor and shaving cream, and some very intriguing soap that looked like a golf ball. Our conclusion? We liked the golf ball soap. It's easier to grip.
The shower was wonderfully powerful and it was a pleasure rather than a chore to have to shower so many times because of the Madrid heat.
Now, let's talk about breakfast, which should arguably be the highlight of any hotel stay.
Hot dishes are made to order at AC Recoletos which I thought was good as who wants scrambled eggs that've been sitting around for an hour? No one, that's who.
Despite that, we stuck to the buffet as there was so much from which to choose!
There was a good selection of juices (peach nectar, anyone?) and fruits, both sliced and whole pieces, which I liked. It was all ripe and there were even bananas. Have you noticed that hotel breakfasts so rarely feature bananas? I have. What is that about? Anyway.
For vegans and the dairy averse, soya milk was on offer, and I was most pleasantly surprised to find that the tea was really genuinely good. Getting a decent cup of tea as a Brit abroad is usually hopeless so I was very impressed. There was a strong selection of different coffees too.
I was massively impressed by the pastry and cake selection...
There were lots of different breads and rolls too, although the end slices were inevitably a bit dry. Three different jams, honey and the Spanish equivalent of nutella were all available to complement the carbs of your choosing.
So let's dig in!
Mini pastries, hello. Not mind-blowing as pastries go, but they were still tasty.
I may have then had a seedy brown roll with nutella too - breakfast is the most important meal of the day, people!
It was great.
In fact, the whole stay had been great tbh. It was such a treat and a really nice hotel. Do check it out for your next trip to Madrid!
Holly and I were guests at the AC Hotel Recoletos but all opinions are my own. And Holly's. But mainly mine.