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Of its 12 distinctive floors, our favorite at the Hotel Puerta America Madrid is the third level, designed by London-based David Chipperfield. We love its black, time-tunnel-like walls and its geometric-shaped rooms with handmade terra-cotta floors and floating blue bed canopies. In all, 19 top architects, artists, and designers — from Bagdad-born futurist Zaha Hadid to famed Japanese architect Arata Isozaki — have left their imprint on Madrid’s most talked-about contemporary hotel. From the moment you enter the stark semi-circular lobby, with its myriad wood slats and off-white leather walls, you know you’re experiencing art.
Avda. de America, 41
Among the ritzy touches at the Hotel Ritz Madrid: Regular guests are entitled to their own fluffy Ritz bathrobes, personally monogrammed and awaiting their next visit. One of Europe’s original grand hotels, this elegant manse opened its doors in 1910 at the request of King Alfonso XIII, who wished for a playground for royals, diplomats, and aristocrats to rival the Ritz in Paris. Today, every guest is privileged — whether booking the $7,600-a-night Royal Suite, with its king bedroom, sitting room, two bathrooms, antiques, paintings, crystal chandeliers, and personal butler (upon request) or partaking of other, less pricy indulgences in the on-site Bodyna Wellness Center. The hotel’s Goya restaurant also attracts pop royalty, including Madonna. Opposite the Prado and Thyssen Museum, the Ritz boasts handcrafted carpets, 19th-century clocks, silk damask wall coverings, and closets large enough to live in.
Plaza de la Lealdad, 5
The family-owned Room Mate hotel chain relies on the clever concept that travelers would rather stay with an old friend than in an unfamiliar hotel. Witness Room Mate Laura, an assemblage of 36 apartments in a smart Descalzas District building only minutes from the Puerta Del Sol. Amazingly reasonable for this urban lair (most rooms are less than $200), these digs are stunning and creative, as indicated by the chain’s slogan: “We are passionate about design.” Hot tip: Grab the attic room if available; it is breathtaking.
Travesia Trujillos, 3
See bullfighters in the Neoclassical-style public rooms of the elegant Hotel Wellington. Ensconced in the stately Salamanca neighborhood just steps from historic El Retiro Park, this five-star member of the Preferred Hotel Group is a cherished overnight stop for Madrid visitors who have come to shop. The city’s toniest galleries and boutiques surround the landmark granite building and a steady parade of beautiful people frequently flows inside the hotel for its irresistible homemade cakes. People watching is best accomplished over cocktails at the Bar Ingles or at the outdoor pool.
Calle Velazquez, 8
+34 915 754 400
Fun as Madrid may be, it can also be frenetic. Those who long for a bit of quiet, especially with the intention to linger awhile, have at their call the all-suite Mirasierra Suites Hotel, a contemporary high-rise and member of the Preferred Hotel Group in the Über upscale neighborhood from which it takes its name. A 10-minute taxi ride (or even shorter metro trip) to the city center, the hotel offers commodious rooms lavishly outfitted with marble, fine woods, and the most up-to-date décor and technology options. Asian in atmosphere, the Mirasierra’s use of space and light serve as a backdrop to top-notch five-star service. Be sure to book the Juban Club rooms, an even more deluxe hotel within a hotel, offering such indulgences as a selection of aromatic bath products and essential oils, not to mention a bar booked with the finest wines. All guests receive free access to the gym and spa.
Calle Alfredo Marquerie, 43
+34 91 727 79 00
A former palace nearly destroyed by the Spanish Civil War, the glorious InterContinental Madrid is now restored with thoroughly modern amenities. Tops are a spa sanctuary, the delightful indoor-outdoor El Jardin restaurant, and one of Europe’s friendliest — and well-informed — hotel staffs. One bellman divulged how much time to devote to the Prado (at least four hours), while a breakfast waiter recommended the terrific Sorolla art museum next door, and the concierges knew the best ham sandwiches in every neighborhood in town.
Paseo de la Castellana, 49
By Paula Conway
My last-minute trip to Louisville was also my very first — guaranteeing one delightful surprise after another.
As a neophyte, I was urged by a friend to try a Hot Brown (an open-faced turkey sandwich, smothered in cheese, with bacon), to sample a Derby Pie (a cookie stuffed with chocolate chips, walnuts, hot fudge, [...]
RUMBAR, inside The Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne, lays claims to being Miami’s only live Latin music venue. On weekends, a four-piece band in white dinner jackets will take you back to Old Havana with rhythms of vintage Cuba. Order a rum flight for a vertical tasting of Miami’s largest selection of rums from Trinidad, Barbados, [...]Read More