Visit the Spanish capital as it begins to flourish again following a tough recession. The city’s renewed energy is evident in hotel openings and an exciting food scene. Alongside brilliant tapas restaurants, Madrid is home to 25 Michelin stars. Tina Nielsen has spent some time in the city and has come to agree with the local saying: de Madrid al cielo – from Madrid you head straight to heaven.
See the best places to stay in Madrid.
Standing right on the Paseo de Castellana, the city’s main avenue, and bordering the exclusive Salamanca area, Villa Magna is a popular choice for those who want something extraordinary. The 3,122 sq ft Suite Real features two bedrooms, two marble bathrooms, a living room with a grand piano, separate private dining room, a kitchen pantry, fitness and wellness areas with steam room as well as a study. The huge 1,292 sq ft terrace has expansive views of the city. Services include butler, transfers and use of them wellness center.
From $17,995 a night villamagna.es
Located in a tree-lined street of the exclusive Salamanca area, Hotel Único, converted from a 19th-century palace, offers a refined proposition. Behind the elegant, traditional facade a total transformation has taken place. In the Grand Suite expect modern design, the latest technology and a huge luxurious bathroom with giant Kaos bathtub (see above), complete with massage jets. The hotel’s calming courtyard garden is a rare green oasis in the middle of Madrid. Don’t miss the exceptional restaurant, overseen by two-Michelin starred chef Ramón Freixa.
From $915 a night unicohotelmadrid.com
Hotel Ritz, Madrid
Facing the renowned Museo del Prado and a short stroll from the Retiro park, the majestic Ritz offers old-world luxury and style in abundance – building protection orders mean much of the original structure and decorative touches are left. Inside the 1,765 sq ft Royal Suite you’ll find two bedrooms, two lounges and three bathrooms. Total discretion and the finest service means nothing is impossible to accommodate. As an extra bonus, repeat guests can leave items they need at the hotel, allowing them to travel light – so returning to the suite is like coming home.
From $4,259 a night mandarinoriental.es/ritzmadrid
NH Collection Madrid Eurobuilding
The hotel, located in Madrid’s financial center, had a makeover last year, which saw the entire 15th floor become the VIP level. The Presidential Suite is the top pick, offering stunning 360-degree views of the city and 1,614 sq ft across two floors. There’s a dedicated concierge, access to the best seats in neighboring Santiago Bernabéu stadium – the home of Real Madrid soccer club – and priority reservations at DiverXO, the only restaurant in town with three Michelin stars – and usually a tough place to book.
From $1,644 a night nhcollection.com
ME Madrid Reina Victoria
Located in the literary area of Madrid overlooking the picturesque Plaza Santa Ana, the ME Reina Victoria is popular with business leaders and celebrities. Suite ME occupies two floors and covers 1,614 sq ft. The top floor of the suite is located in the tower of the building. The large terrace features a chill out area, while the second terrace has a hot tub. Perks include a personal assistant to organize anything from in-room dinner parties and drinks to meetings or massage therapy. The ME Rooftop bar is among the top night spots in Madrid.
From $2,740 a night melia.com
OUT OF TOWN
FOR CULTURE: Toledo
The historic city of Toledo is a melting pot of cultures. Founded by the Romans, it is recognized as the city of three cultures and tolerance – for more than 400 years Muslims, Jews and Christians lived here in harmony. You’ll find traces of all three cultures as you explore the impressive monuments within the walled old city. Stay at the Hotel Fontecruz, the former palace of Empress Eugenia de Montijo.
FOR FOOD: Segovia
In a city where restaurants are principally known for cooking perfect roast suckling pig, young local chef Rubén Arnanz has shaken things up at Restaurant Villena. His tasting menu has won many plaudits, and his avant-garde cooking has regained the Michelin star that Villena lost when it closed down and its chef left before relocating in 2014. The restaurant is inside the city’s only five-star hotel, Eurostars Convento Capuchinos, a 400-year-old former monastery now converted into a boutique hotel.
FOR HISTORY: El Escorial
The main reason to head to San Lorenzo de El Escorial is to visit the imposing monastery, an important monument of the Spanish Renaissance, which has also been named a Unesco World Heritage Site. The lavish interiors of the buildings were decorated by distinguished 16th and 17th century artists and include works by El Greco and Claudio Coello. Enjoy dinner at the Michelin-starred Montia where the chefs base the menu on foraging and seasonal produce.