Some cities you visit, others you fully experience.
Spain's central capital, Madrid is a city of elegant tree-lined boulevards and expansive, manicured parks. It holds fine European art, including works by Goya, Velázquez and other Spanish masters. The city invites relaxing in its enormous green spaces such as the Retiro Park and lesser-known yet equally charming El Capricho. For retail therapy, find luxury stores on the Golden Mile, vintage establishments in Fuencarral, designer markets such as the Mercado de Motores, and craft workshops and bookshops that date back 100 years. At dusk, seek out the city’s viewpoints and rooftop bars from which to take in the sunset – with an obligatory Sangria. The nightlife in Madrid is legendary with live music that will have you dancing until sunrise. As the home of famous football teams, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, soccer fans can opt to purchase tickets to watch their favourite teams play on home soil.
The BusinessClass.com guide to the best hotels in Madrid:
Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid – 9/10
Opulent and exclusive, the Mandarin Oriental, Ritz Madrid is in the elegant Jerónimos neighbourhood, where many members of the Spanish aristocracy had grand homes in the late 19th-century. Located in a Belle Époque palace that faces Paseo del Prado, for over 110 years the hotel has hosted royalty and dignitaries from around the world and had a big influence on the architecture of the area. There are 100 rooms and 53 spacious suites, each decorated with plus materials in a classic design that combines luxurious comfort with modern amenities.
Bringing his Mediterranean magic to Mandarin Oriental Ritz is Chef Quique Dacosta, who has five Michelin stars to his name in his native region of Valencia. He has developed and overseen the five bars and restaurants, each with its unique character and cuisine. Deessa is the signature Quique Dacosta restaurant, overlooking the hotel’s garden, and with a hidden Chef’s Table. The Ritz Garden is an oasis offering al fresco dining, while Pictura serves off a classic cocktail menu in elegant surroundings. Enjoy a drink at the Champagne Bar or under the spectacular glass canopy ceiling in the famous Palm Court. The Mandarin Oriental, Ritz Madrid has a wellness centre with an indoor swimming pool, a vitality pool, a steam room and a fully-equipped fitness centre.
Relais & Châteaux Hotel Orfila - 9/10
In the heart of Madrid, just five minutes from Museo del Prado, the Relais & Châteaux Hotel Orfila promises delights. A small palace built in 1886, it has the feel of an art gallery with period furniture, marble and a garden courtyard. In the 1920s, the hotel was made famous for the plays it staged. Today, the flowered patio invites guests to dine under the stars and there’s an English chic tea room. A member of the Relais & Châteaux stable, the family-owned boutique hotel has 32 rooms, 12 of which are suites. Although each is uniquely decorated, they all share the same traditional style and carry soft tones of rust, green and ivory with carpeted floors, upholstered headboards in floral prints, and 19th-century antique furniture.
There are also artworks from the owners’ collections. The turndown service includes sachets of soothing foot gel – a thoughtful touch for guests who’ve been traipsing around the city all day. Mario Sandoval, who has two Michelin stars at his nearby Coque restaurant, oversees Jardín de Orfila, which is open daily for lunch and dinner and has some of the prettiest terrace tables in Madrid.
Rosewood Villa Magna - 9/10
The elegant Rosewood Villa Magna is situated on the grand boulevard, Paseo de la Castellana. Originally opened in 1972, the hotel has been lovingly restored to fine modern standards and an elegant style. Reopening in 2021, guests are welcomed with thoughtful hospitality as though to a grand family home. Spanish architect Ramón de Arana led the remodelling of the building's striking façade, adding a sense of opulence to the arrival experience with the addition of a striking staircase and reflecting pools. Surrounded by lush gardens are the 154 guestrooms, 49 suites and four signature suites – said to be the biggest in the city. They are designed to balance the ambience of a contemporary Spanish villa with the aesthetics of the original hotel.
The property's Restaurante Villa Magna serves traditional cuisine with a modern twist. Tse Yang Restaurant classic Cantonese dishes and the elegant Magnum Bar and lounge cocktails, champagne and tapas. Flor Y Nata is an all-day cafe that elevates the morning coffee and light lunch experience. Las Brasas De Castellana has an elegant inside and an enchanting outside, with a comprehensive à la carte menu that includes dishes from the grill. Home to one of the premier spas in Madrid and inspired by Madrid's Muslim origins is the indulgent Sense Spa and the state-of-the-art fitness centre. Be sure to meet Manuel Pizarro the Head Concierge, who has been working there for over 30 years.
Gran Hotel Inglés - 9/10
True luxury never goes out of style. The first hotel to be built in the city, Gran Hotel Inglés dates back to 1886. Completely restored and renovated under the artistic direction of the Rockwell Group, the boutique hotel is one of the finest properties in Madrid. The 43 rooms and 5 suites feature stylish décor in an original art-decó style. Hardwood floors, walls lined with padded leather panels, bronze furniture and glass complete the picture. Armchairs, fabrics and textures exclusively designed by David Rockwell for Gran Hotel Inglés further perfect the look. You’ll want to linger in the deep, free-standing baths with their bronze stands for soaps and scrubs.
The restaurant Casa Lobo is presided over by Madrid Chef Fernando Arellano, offers contemporary Madrid-style cuisine. Enjoy a meal at the cocktail-bar LobBy located in the hotel’s hall. Make use of the comprehensive fitness centre with top-end exercise equipment and a complete wellness area with a wide range of exclusive treatments and products. Member of the Leading Hotels of the World.
The five-star Santo Mauro, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Madrid is especially popular with celebrities who opt for discretion. The former palace complex of the Duke of Santo Mauro, an influential member of the Madrid elite at the turn of the century, the hotel is just outside the tourist area in Chamberí, where the leafy streets are lined with palatial residences and the neighbourhood is one of the best for tapas bars and restaurants. Comprising of three buildings, the main one is a neoclassical mansion that was built in 1894 featuring a marble staircase and elaborate cornices.
The 33 rooms and 16 suites are distributed between the palace, the former stables and an annexe building. Abstract art and wooden floors, spacious marble bathrooms with a generous supply of Natura Bissé products. With French-influenced design and architecture, the rooms are filled with toned down attention to detail and historical references. The renowned restaurant, La Biblioteca, occupies the elegant, oak-panelled library. The Gin Bar, in Art Decó style with a New York vibe, serves cocktails as well as a dangerous range of gins and other spirits. There is a gym, a sauna and a steam room. Massages and other treatments are available on request.
Relais & Châteaux Heritage Hotel is next to Paseo de la Castellana. Located in a 20th century listed building beautifully in one of the most elegant districts of the Spanish capital. The listed building was constructed at the beginning of the 20th century and decorated in a belle-époque style. The hotel’s interiors have been transformed by Lorenzo Castillo, one of Spain’s most respected designers. The 46 rooms and suites, some with terraces, are spacious and all slightly different. He was inspired by the hotel’s heritage and has used a blue and grey palette in some areas and soft greens in others, with geometric shapes and Asian patterns adding to the unique settings.
All rooms come with a private bathroom with high-end toiletries, bathrobe and slippers. Exquisite hand-painted silk panels decorate the walls, and antique vases stand on marble tables. From the owner’s collection, 18th and early 19th-century artwork can be appreciated throughout. In much the same way, two Michelin-starred executive chefs Mario Sandoval heads up Haroma Restaurant, whose philosophy is on the use of fresh, local ingredients. The conservatory-style bar, with soft floral fabrics and mirrors on the walls, is a great spot for afternoon tea. There is a roof-top sun terrace with a stylish lounge area to relax on.
A modernised 19th-century palace in the Habsburg district near the Royal Palace and Opera House is Palacio De Los Duques, a Gran Melia Hotel and member of the exclusive Leading Hotels of The World. The hotel was inspired by a masterpiece by famous artist Velázquez and combines two historic buildings – a 13th-century convent and a 19th-century Palace of Dukes of Granada de Ega. Behind the Elizabethan façade, Palacio de los Duques Gran Meliá blends vintage splendour with tasteful flair in the spacious rooms and luxurious suites, many of them well suited to families.
All the rooms feature the latest technology, memorable furniture and luxury bathrooms. The style sees clean lines and quality textiles used to create a classic elegance. Velvet touches, hardwood finishes and a butler await you in the Royal Suite RedLevel with its excellent views towards the city. The expansive gardens are a lush sanctuary and the soul of the hotel, with a relaxing solarium, cocktail bar and range of contemporary restaurants. A seasonal rooftop pool and whirlpool bathtub overlook the famous Austrias district, with a sundeck and cocktail bar. Indulge in dining in the three restaurants: Coroa, Montmartre and Dos Cielos Madrid.
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BLESS Hotel Madrid - 9/10
Located in the city’s sophisticated Salamanca neighbourhood, BLESS Hotel Madrid is a symbol of the city. Leading interior designer Lázaro Rosa-Violan drew inspiration from the traditional décor of the grand apartments found in this area, using shades of burgundy, blue, green and mustard throughout. There are many references to the building’s previous life as the Gran Hotel Velázquez, with artworks from the 1950s and a showpiece marble staircase. The hotel’s large rooms and suites are mid-century modern with Art Deco influences. The headboards are of the most striking features, with soothing patterns and forest scenes. Most rooms have fireplaces and the superior categories have a bath in the room, with large balconies overlooking Calle Velázquez.
Chef Martín Berasategui, who has an impressive 10 Michelin stars at his various restaurants, oversees the food. The Etxeko restaurant offers favourite dishes from the region. A wide range of food and drinks are available in the Versus lounge. In warm weather, the Picos Pardos Sky Lounge is ideal for a drink and has excellent views across Barrio de Salamanca. There’s an attractive spa area in the basement that’s centred around a hydromassage pool and offers a range of treatments. The gym has LifeFitness machines and a virtual training room. Also on the lower floor is Fetén, a cocktail bar with a bowling alley and a pole-dancing room for late-night revelling.
URSO Hotel & Spa - 9/10
The URSO Hotel & Spa is a chic five-star boutique hotel in a non-touristy part of Madrid between central Chamberí, Tribunal, and Chueca. The historic building constructed by José María Mendoza Ussía incorporates bourgeois architecture and characteristics of 20th-century Madrid, including towers and corner rooms with inviting balconies. Original features include a central patio, stained-glass windows, the library, marble floors and wood-panelled walls. Architect Antonio Obrador preserved many of these original features with the remodelling, including the tiled façade and fabulous mahogany lift.
There are 78 rooms and suites, all flooded with natural light from big windows and decorated in soothing teal and ivory shades. The rooms include antique photographs of Madrid, fine natural fabrics, period furniture and quality amenities including natural fibre quilts, Nespresso coffee machine, superior bathroom toiletries. Top-floor suites have large terraces. All have marble bathrooms, most with a separate bath and shower. The excellent Media Ración by Cuenllas restaurant is one of the most popular places to eat in Madrid – so do book ahead. You can also eat in the bar, where light meals are prepared using ingredients sourced from the Barceló market. The hotel spa has a soothing pool area, Hamman, treatments and a gym.
The Westin Palace, Madrid - 9/10
A recognisable landmark in the heart of Madrid, the historic building was originally commissioned by King Alfonso XIII in 1912. Located on The Art Walk only steps from some of Europe’s most prestigious museums and in an area that combines literature, a bohemian atmosphere and some of the best restaurants in the city, The Westin Palace, Madrid is iconic. With a distinct Belle Époque style, the 470 remodelled Premium and Executive rooms and suites are soothingly classic with pale yellow tones set against dark wooden furnishings and with walls adorned by original Spanish art. The corner rooms overlook the Plaza de Neptuno, all have large desks and comfortable armchairs.
The Westin Palace, Madrid has three restaurants. La Rotonda, with its spectacular stained-glass dome, is the main restaurant and the heart of the hotel. It offers delicious locally sourced market cuisine all day. Lovers of Asian food will appreciate dining at the Asia Gallery restaurant which offers superb Cantonese cuisine, and the Green T Sushi bar. Join the ever lively crowd for an aperitif before dinner at the 1912 Museo Bar – where Ernest Hemingway and Salvador Dalí once sipped cocktails
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