Hospes Madrid $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
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
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