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Madrid Hotels

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
AC Palacio del Retiro
Calle Alfonso XII 14
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 915 237 460
Fax: 915 237 461
pretiro@ac-hotels.com
www.ac-hotels.com

The classy AC chain added this 50-room early-20th-century palace at the end of 2004, slightly competing with its own Santo Mauro—though this one's got the location. Opposite the Parque del Retiro, the hotel is a short walk from all the renovated art museums and is quite plush, without a hint of history-porn (despite the marble pillars, plaster moldings, and mahogany library); it sidesteps self-conscious "Look at me" design, too. It's understated, coolly modern, and deluxe, with all the Wi-Fi and plasma, robes, spa (a very good one), and service a picky guest could ask for. The Índice restaurant has a rising star chef, David Herranz, at the helm.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
AC Santo Mauro
36 Calle Zurbano
Madrid
Spain 28010
Tel: 34 91 319 6900
santo-mauro@ac-hotels.com
www.hotelacsantomauro.com

First appearances can be deceiving—51-room Santo Mauro is housed in a former Belle Époque palacete that suggests a conservative interior. But a renovation in 2000 introduced minimal furnishings; a color palette of black, white, and chocolate; and chill-out music in the common areas. Of special note are rooms 40, 41, and 42, which are situated on the ground floor and open onto a lush garden with full-grown palm trees and bubbling fountains. The garden serves as a bar by day, and at night in the summer months, guests can enjoy a candlelit dinner there. Meals are also served in the original library, which, fiber-optic chandeliers aside, retains much of its old-world charm. While the hotel is tucked away on a side street in Chamberi, one of the city's most elegant neighborhoods, it's within walking distance of Paseo de la Castellana and the Serrano shopping district.

Closed August.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Adler Hotel
33 Calle Velazquez
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 34 91 426 3220
reservas@hoteladler.es
www.adlermadrid.com

Set in a redone 19th-century building near the Plaza de Colón, in the trendy Salamanca district. The hotel's lobby, bar, and other public spaces have black and white checkered floors and light furniture and exude the airy charm of an old seaside resort updated for the 21st century. Rooms, designed by P. Ortega in calming beiges, browns, and warm oranges, have mood-stabilizing effects that rival lithium. Unfortunately, the pompous, overdressed restaurant falls short of the design standards of the rest of the Adler. But you're in Madrid—why would you dine in your hotel, anyway?

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Casa de Madrid
2 Arrieta, second floor
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 34 91 559 5791
infomadrid@casademadrid.com
www.casademadrid.com

As an aristocrat, art curator, and interior designer, Doña Marta Medina is perfect for the role of hostess of one of the most gorgeous small hotels in town. Her seven-room place—you could call it a B&B, except that conjures entirely the wrong image—is on the second floor of an 18th-century mansion opposite the Royal Opera House. Medina bought it in 2000 and spent three years meticulously renovating, using family antiques and an apparently effortless sense of style. The result is neither minimal nor overdesigned, and instead feels like an exquisite private home. It's not for everyone; those with a knee-jerk disdain for frills and lace, for instance. Services are on a need-to-have basis, but you quickly get the impression that your desires will not go unmet. Breakfast is included, as is the help-yourself bar in the parlor decorated with beautiful period murals.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Eurostars Madrid Tower Hotel
259 Paseo de la Castellana
Madrid
Spain 28046
Tel: 34 913 342 700
info@eurostarsmadridtower.com
www.eurostarsmadridtower.com

Opened in 2009 in a 775-foot-high tower shaped like a rounded triangle, the Eurostars hotel neighbors Sir Norman Foster's Lego-like Torre Caja Madrid and is all about the views. The 474-room property, which takes up 30 floors of the soaring building, is the capital's highest hotel. Located in the north of the city (on what was formerly Real Madrid's training ground but is now becoming a new financial district), Eurostars is just a five-minute taxi ride down La Castellana to the city center. The walnut furniture, leather-padded walls, and cool light fixtures in the contemporary guest rooms save the accommodations here from the charmless fate of many bland business hotels. Bathrooms are decked out in black marble and slate, with separate hydromassage showers and tubs. The small spa on the 29th floor includes the pool with the best views in town, and the 30th floor is another spot where you can take in the vista, at breakfast or come evening, at the innovative Basque/Asian restaurant (dishes include red mullet with wakame seaweed and sesame in dashi sauce). A ten-floor convention center is under construction on the northwest side of the hotel (to be completed in 2013), which will be good for business but bad for the outlook of any room below the 12th floor on that side. Opt for a city view—our favorite, anyway—and it won't be a problem.—Guy Fiorita

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hospes Madrid
3 Plaza de la Independencia
Madrid
Spain 280001
Tel: 34 914 322 911
hospes.madrid@fuenso.com
www.hospes.com/en/hotel-hospes-madrid/

With La Puerta de Alcalá (Madrid's Arc de Triomphe) on Plaza de la Independencia looming large in front of the 41-room hotel, the Retiro park just across the street, and the Golden Triangle of museums just down the block, Hospes's location is perfect. Inside, original 19th-century features such as ceiling moldings, window frames, and floors are combined with contemporary white and stainless-steel furnishings. Ask for a Deluxe Alcalá room or a suite, all of which have views of the plaza. Rooms below this category face the interior courtyard, which, despite its lion head fountains, is nowhere near as impressive (or light). Hospes hotels are known for their spas, and here the Bodyna Spa is divided over three floors with a small pool on one level and treatment rooms, a gym, and a hair salon on the others. The hotel's common areas include a rather dark bar in what was once the library—good for a quiet drink, bad if you're looking for a jumping scene—and a restaurant serving local cuisine in a cozy six-table room with wood-paneled walls and large windows opening out on the plaza. And, yes, those pockmarks you see on the Puerta de Alcalá really are bullet holes left from the Spanish Civil War.—Guy Fiorita

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Bauzá
79 Calle Goya
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 34 91 435 7545
info@hotelbauza.com
www.hotelbauza.com

The Bauzá is one of Virginia Figueras's two masterworks in Madrid; the other is the Hotel de las Letras. Located in hip Salamanca near the museums, the Bauzá innovates with airy citrus color schemes in its 170 rooms and suites, as well as in seven small, tasteful apartments decorated in light woods. The latter might be the best way to go, especially for families. The so-called "apart-hotel" concept is appearing in myriad places around the world, and for good reason. It's a great boon to be able to cook breakfast or entertain guests in your room, a privilege once reserved for visiting dignitaries or presidential-suitesters. Still, this concept is not about savings; it's about a different way to experience the city: Shop for jamón ibérico and torta del casar cheese in the market, and then throw a cocktail party for the Madrileños at "your place."

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Cardenal
Paseo de Recaredo 24
Toledo
Spain
Tel: 925 224 900
Fax: 925 222 991
cardenal@hostaldelcardenal.com
www.hostaldelcardenal.com

Once the 18th-century summer residence of the Cardenal Lorenzana, Archbishop of Toledo, this converted hostel is built on top of the old city and set within shady gardens. Guests can ride an escalator into town. There are just 27 delightful, though modest, rooms with vaguely Moorish wood furnishings, and they fill up quickly, so book well ahead. The Cardenal also features a celebrated restaurant.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel de las Letras H&R
Calle Gran Vía, 11
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 90 242 2482
www.hoteldelasletras.com

The talented designer Virginia Figueras was behind De Las Letras, located in the center of town on a typical curved-corner city block. Not overgimmicked, the 103 tricolor rooms have deep-rust walls, black chairs, and pure white bed linens, which suit the tastes of the hip young crowd who tend to stay here. Rooms on the upper floors are in the domes that crown the building, overlooked by a roof terrace. There's a spa and gym, plus a restaurant and bar, and comforts include a pillow menu. De Las Letras' popular sister, the Bauzá on Calle Goya, was also designed by Figueras.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Hesperia
57 Paseo de la Castellana
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 34 91 210 8800
hotel@hesperia-madrid.com
www.hesperia-madrid.com

The Hesperia's lobby is beautiful, done up in shades of warm orange with clean lattice work, lots of greenery, and wide-open spaces. You could sit for hours in the lobby lounge, just reading a book and soaking up the sunlight. Opt for a junior suite or a deluxe double rather than the entry-level rooms, which, though well-appointed and tastefully furnished, are surprisingly cramped. The Hesperia understands that extensive Scotch whiskey lists aren't just for grandfathers anymore, and its friendly, nonpompous bar offers the best selection in the city. Equally impressive is the basement restaurant, the famed Santceloni. This hotel is located in the quiet Salamanca neighborhood and you'll need to take a taxi or metro most places, but the metro stop is right across the street.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Meninas
7 Calle Campomanes
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 34 91 541 2805
reservas@hotelmeninas.com
www.hotelmeninas.com

Out of all the city's new design hotels, this is the one that most carefully blends old and new, keeping an eye on its architectural past while still creating an utterly modern guest experience. All 37 rooms are in chic shades of black and have DVD players and minimalist bathrooms in gray marble. Windows have been kept big, their shape unaltered from the original 1870 design. The Meninas' original hardwood staircases and landings are another beautiful reminder of what the building once was, and of how respectfully the building has been renovated. The location, near the Opera, is excellent. One downside: Wi-Fi only works in the lobby; rooms have cable Internet connections.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Orfila
6 Calle Orfila
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 34 91 702 7770
comercial@hotelorfila.com
www.hotelorfila.com

This classically styled Relais & Châteaux boutique hotel in an 1880s mansion, located in a quiet residential area near Colon Square, has a relentless dedication to serving the needs of those who wish the modern-design revolution had never taken place, that all the minimalist Deco lamps, rock sculptures, and recessed lighting fixtures would be ritually burned in a big bonfire, and that hotels would return to an age of ornate ballrooms full of crystal and flowers. The Orfila opened in the late 1990s, but even its gaudy gilded-wreath logo hearkens back to an earlier age. No expense has been spared on materials, maintenance, or service. The 32 plush rooms (12 of which are suites) come in tasteful stripes, low-key florals and with époque furniture. The restaurant, El Jardín de Orfila, caters to an older crowd and keeps with the classic theme: They wouldn't even think of placing your bottle of wine on the table, or of allowing you to manage your own napkin.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Puerta América
41 Avenida de América
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 34 91 744 5400
hotel.puertamerica@hoteles-silken.com
www.hoteles-silken.com/hpam

This hugely ambitious project, in which 19 of the most prestigious names in architecture and design collaborated on a Jean Nouvel building, finally opened in 2005. The resulting 362 rooms are so cutting-edge they should carry health warnings. Among others, David Chipperfield, Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid, John Pawson, Marc Newson, and Ron Arad have designed rooms—some all-white and minimal (duh); some all-scarlet and curvaceous; some (Hadid's) all-white or all-black and sculpted from LG Hi-Macs (a kind of malleable Corian); others (Arad's) with a ten-foot circular sofa; yet more (Chipperfield's) with black terra-cotta beds canopied in lacquered blue material. Oddly, the owners, the Silken Group, whose hotels have been multiplying like triffids, claim to be all about service and comfort, with a side of design. While service is up to scratch, comfort is often sacrificed; some of the beds and showers are too small and chairs look good, but don't feel it. Go here if you're looking for the visual-sensual experience of inhabiting premier architectural space—and be aware that the world's most ambitious hotel is located between the airport and the city, so none too central.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Ritz
5 Plaza de la Lealtad
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 34 91 701 67 67
comercial@ritz.es
www.ritzmadrid.com

An easy distance from museums and shopping, this 100-year-old Belle Époque hotel in Retiro has "an excellent location." "Facilities were wonderfully old-world"; spacious rooms are individually designed, with handwoven rugs, antique furnishings, and French windows that open to views that include the Prado. Goya's dishes, such as beef stuffed with foie gras, combine French and Basque elements. Hotel staff are "gracious, attentive, and efficient."

(167 rooms)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Urban
Carrera de San Jerónimo, 34
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 91 787 7770
Fax: 91 787 7799
www.derbyhotels.com

Aptly named, this 21st-century crystal palace is all iron pillars, wall upon wall of glass, and remarkable art on loan from the Clos Archaeological Foundation. The art includes ancient Egyptian and Hindu pieces, 19th-century totems from Papua New Guinea, and 18th- and 19th-century Chinese portraits. Strangely, it all blends with the black-leather-and-steel-mesh furniture, transparent Philippe Starck Louis chairs, wood-paneled walls, and bathrooms of Macael marble and chrome (though it may be disconcerting to wake up face-to-face with a life-size bedside Qing Dynasty figure). There's a cool pool on the roof deck, along with La Terraza del Urban bar; other drinking and dining options are the first-floor Glass Bar and Restaurant Europa Decó on the ground floor—all happening options for a night out in the city center on the Paseo del Arte. Fans of Barcelona's Claris may recognize the style; this property is in the same group.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Villa Real
10 Plaza de las Cortes
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 91 420 37 67
Fax: 91 420 25 47
www.derbyhotels.com/eng/villa_real_in.htm

This classically designed hotel garners three perfect scores—for "spacious and comfortable" rooms decorated in soft colors and antiques, "accommodating service that makes you feel welcome," and a location near Puerta del Sol and the Retiro Park that "could not be more convenient" for art museums like the Thyssen-Bornemisza. Roman mosaics and Greek Apulian vessels are among the artworks showcased throughout. Andy Warhol lithographs accent East 47, where the "passable food" includes Galician sirloin tartare.

(115 rooms)

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
ME Madrid Reina Victoria
14 Plaza de Santa Ana
Madrid
Spain 28012
Tel: 34 91 701 6000
memadrid@solmelia.com
www.memadrid.com

Once the hotel of choice among visiting bullfighters, the 192-room ME in Madrid, formerly the Grand Hotel Reina Victoria, could just be the coolest hotel in the city, or at least it's trying very hard to be. Where else would you find a room with David Bowie quotes etched into the bathroom mirror? Rooms have flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, a purple retro-style mini bar with matching armchair, and a special light switch called "Hey, You Sexy Thing," which turns on a set of purple strip lights behind the bed's headboard, should you get lucky with one of the beautiful people who frequent the Penthouse, ME's rooftop bar. The seventh-floor venue overlooks the buzzing Santa Ana Square and its many tapas bars and restaurants.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Petit Palace Embassy Plus
Serrano St., 46 (Near Hermosilla St. & Ayala St.)
Madrid
Spain
Tel: 91 431 3060
Fax: 91 431 3062
embassy@hthoteles.com
www.hthoteles.com

Opened in June 2005, this 6-story 19th-century town house is one of the newest of a young chain that's rapidly engulfing Madrid (plus several other Spanish cities). Centrally placed in a businessy area near the National Library, its 75 rooms are proudly wired (after all, the group's acronym HT stands for High Tech): In-room computers have free fast Internet, and there are flat-screen satellite TVs and the group's signature whizbang shower units with hydro-massage and sauna built in. Most of them also have in-room stationary bikes for simultaneous surfing and exercise; the ten that don't are family-size to sleep up to four. The public spaces are similarly space-age, with a central lit-from-within command module of a reception desk in the lobby, glass-walled bathrooms, and molded plastic chairs. The facade, on the other hand, is reassuringly staid.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Selenza Hotel
67 Claudio Coello
Salamanca
Madrid
Spain 28001
Tel: 34 91 781 01 73
recepcion.madrid@selenza.com
selenzahoteles.es

Located on the toniest street (Claudio Coello) in Madrid's toniest neighborhood (Salamanca), the Selenza is easy to miss from the outside, its graceful yet sober nineteenth-century facade eschewing any special attention. But inside, it's a frenzy of postmodern rococo style—all textured walls and look-at-me oversized chandeliers and lime-green settees popping out from a high-contrast white, black, and silver color scheme. Even meals are bountifully over-the-top: At chef Ramon Freixa's eponymous restaurant (which received a Michelin star), the amuse-bouche is actually ten different small bites, and breakfast consists of five different pastries, two different juices, two hot drinks, and an array of sliced meats set before you on a massive tray. The service isn't quite as polished as it should be, and not all of the design touches are felicitous (witness the fake marble in the bathrooms), but rooms are generously sized by Madrid standards, and the mosaic-tiled floors, full-size mirror that resembles an ice sculpture, and playfully upholstered furnishings certainly give guests a lot to look at. Large, well-lit closets, plus thoughtful touches like a jogging map for the nearby Retiro park, help make the Selenza the hotel of choice for visiting style mavens.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Westin Palace
7 Plaza de las Cortes
Madrid
Spain 28014
Tel: 34 91 360 8000
reservations.palacemadrid@westin.com
www.westinpalacemadrid.com

First opened in 1912, the Palace was built to impress, and the huge stained-glass rotunda on the ground floor remains a meeting place for Madrid's power players. Suites retain a traditional European feel with marble bathrooms and mahogany wardrobes, but they have been modernized to include soundproof windows, air-conditioning units (a must for Madrid's searing summers), and high-speed Internet. Art lovers will find this the perfect base, with the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Prado across the street and the Reina Sofía nearby. Ask for a room at the front facing the Neptuno fountain—the higher the better, as the top floors have great views of Madrid's ornate central post office.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.