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Best hotels in Madrid for city centre sights and noteworthy nightlife

Annie Bennett shares her pick of the best hotels in the Spanish capital 

Annie Bennett
Thursday 03 August 2023 18:08 BST
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<p>From central hotels  to new-found gems  </p>

From central hotels to new-found gems

Loved for its vivacious art scene, marvellous architecture and fine-dining restaurants, Madrid ticks all the city break boxes. And you don’t have to settle for a boring hotel, as the same three elements can often be found in properties across Spain’s capital. Groovy new hostels and revamped palaces have cool rooftop terraces, Michelin-starred restaurant chefs and cocktail lists so tempting that you may never leave the bar.

Whether you’re looking to stay in the beating heart of the city, Centro – known for its shopping thoroughfare on Gran Vía and grand square, Plaza Mayor – or perhaps one of the surrounding neighbourhoods, such as medieval La Latina or hip Chueca (where the nightlife is), you can drop into any of the places on this list for a drink or dinner and get some inspiration for your next visit.

No matter your interests, take a look at our favourite Madrid hotels for every occasion.

Best for luxury: Gran Hotel Inglés

Gran Hotel Ingles may be one of Madrid's oldest hotels, but it retains a contemporary feel

Neighbourhood: Barrio de las Letras

Madrid’s first proper hotel – dating back to 1886 – reopened in spring 2018 with a glamorous new look and the feel of a private club. Located in the centre of the Barrio de Las Letras, one of the city’s liveliest and most characterful areas, this five-star hotel has sumptuous rooms and suites with free-standing baths and local craft beer chilling in the minibar. Enjoy some of the best tapas and cocktails in the capital at the lobby bar, LoBbyto, where you’ll also find live jazz music every Thursday to Saturday.

Best for art-lovers: The Pavilions Madrid

The black bear chair and artwork in The Pavilion's lobby

Neighbourhood: Chamberí

The first thing you see when you walk into The Pavilions is a huge black bear lying in the lobby. Fear not – it’s actually an artwork that doubles up as a squashy sofa. The Álvaro Alcázar gallery provides changing selections of paintings and sculptures in this boutique hotel, which is just beyond the more touristy areas but still walking distance to shops, restaurants and museums. Raspberry, teal and tangerine tones dominate the rooms – no bland minimalism here.

Best for spa: The Madrid EDITION

Neighbourhood: Sol

The rooftop pool at Madrid EDITION

This luxe boutique, a two-minute walk from Sol metro station and just four minutes from Plaza Mayor, hits you with striking design features the second you step in through the entrance, where a smooth, white, swooping spiral staircase dominates. A fuscia-lit tunnel leads from the reception-level lounge bar to the restaurant; glam, all-white rooms are given an injection of grandeur with backlit, oversized, cut-out headboards and sumptuous beige furs. Speaking of the restaurant, Jerónimo is a must-eat destination, where Mexican-inspired dishes and drinks are exceptional (don’t leave without trying their classic or mezcal margarita, or the melt-in-the-mouth octopus slivers dressed in herb mayo and toasted chili vinagrette). Oroya, meanwhile, serves more relaxed tapas-style plates in a greenhouse-esque setting. But the real reason to book is the rooftop pool and the new(ish) hotel spa, open since September 2022. The latter boasts five specialist treatment rooms featuring products from Spanish wellness brand Natura Bisse, a Finnish dry sauna, steam room and 24-hour gym.

Best for budget travellers: Generator Madrid

Neighbourhood: Gran Vía

With one of the nicest rooftop bars in the city – with drinks at sensible rather than silly prices – located in the heart of Madrid, the Generator gets you straight into the swing of the Spanish capital. If you like the hostel buzz but want a bit more comfort, opt for a private room instead of a dorm bed. But, if a gang of you are going to Madrid for the weekend, up the fun factor by staying in the eight-bed party dorm on the roof.

Best for panoramic views: VP Plaza España Design

The Botania Bistro at VP Plaza de España

Neighbourhood: Plaza de España

It’s all about the 12th floor at this massive new luxury hotel, where both Madrilenians and guests love the wraparound terrace and huge restaurant and bar spaces with 360-degree views across the city to the Sierra de Guadarrama. Rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows too, so you can also take in the cityscape from your bed – the best are on the 15th to 17th floors. At ground level, you can gaze across the Plaza de España from the hydrotherapy pool in the Biloba spa or grab a bite in the Botania bistro.

Best for cocktails: 7 Islas

Kick back in the contemporary confines of 7 Islas

Neighbourhood: Malasaña

Swerve by the bar as you enter the industrial-style lobby and prepare to get seriously distracted by the potions created by Narciso Bermejo. He likes to customise his range of gins, matching each guest’s taste with herbs from the mountains near Madrid – the perfect way to kick off a night trawling the bars of Malasaña. Book one of the top-floor Ático rooms to get a terrace with sunbeds and yoga mats.

Best for a romantic break: Relais & Châteaux Heritage Hotel

The Detalle Junior Suite at Heritage Madrid

Neighbourhood: Salamanca

This five-star hotel, in an elegant Belle Époque building in Madrid’s smartest area, has exquisite interiors by coveted designer Lorenzo Castillo. Blue silk panels adorn the walls in the Haroma restaurant, which is overseen by Michelin-starred chef Mario Sandoval. Rooms have hand-painted wallpaper in olive and gold and are furnished with antiques and original artworks. If you happen to have a special question to pop, the flower-filled roof terrace of this luxury hotel should fit the bill.

Best for nightlife: Room Mate Óscar

Room Mate Óscar's rooftop pool area is one of the most fashionable summer hang-outs in Madrid

Neighbourhood: Chueca

Tired of taupe temples? The Room Mate Óscar will bring a bit of zing back into your life, with an emerald and blue lobby and orange, black and white rooms. The rooftop pool is one of the most fashionable spots to hang out in summer and the cocktail bar up there stays open year-round. Overlooking a square in Chueca – Madrid’s main gay area and one of the coolest neighbourhoods – the Óscar is surrounded by cafés and restaurants. For more information take a look at our full review of Room Mate Óscar.

Best for shopping: Tótem

Contemporary chic is the order of the day at Tótem

Neighbourhood: Salamanca

The Tótem is on the corner of two of the loveliest streets in Madrid, which just happen to be lined with upmarket boutiques. There’s a lot of navy and charcoal, but cerise and purple pop up too, while indigo sofas in the bar are conducive to decadent slouching when you slope back with your shopping haul. With a restaurant that is packed with well-heeled locals and mid-century modern style in the rooms, the Tótem exudes chic glamour.

Best for a girls’ weekend: ME Madrid Reina Victoria

Enjoy drinks at the Radio ME roof terrace

Neighbourhood: Barrio de las Letras

You can always find your way back to this gleaming white building, as a purple beacon shines from the slate turret on the corner. Located on Plaza de Santa Ana, with its pavement cafés and tapas bars, the hotel is right in the thick of things, but the fabulous food at the trendy Ana La Santa restaurant at street level and the cocktails up on the Radio ME roof terrace mean you might struggle to leave the premises.

Best for fashionistas: Only You Boutique Hotel

Enjoy the Spanish sunset from the roof of Only You

Neighbourhood: Chueca

With snazzy interiors by in-demand designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán and a location between the bars of Chueca and the boutiques of Salesas, the Only You Boutique is chic without reaching peak hipster. Unusually, rooms are available for 24 hours from the time you check in, so you can sleep late and there’s no mad scramble down to breakfast either, as you can eat whenever it suits you. A spiral staircase leads up to suite 416, which has a pitched, beamed ceiling. It’s like your own super stylish loft in Madrid, if only for a weekend.

Best for mixing culture and nightlife: Room Mate Alba

Room Mate Alba

Neighbourhood: Barrio de las Letras

This is the latest opening from the cool Room Mate group, which has four other hotels in Madrid. The Alba, in a handsome traditional building, is on one of the best streets in the city for bars and restaurants, but is also a short stroll from the Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza and Reina Sofia museums. The décor combines Turkish and Chinese details with Op-Art features, a bit of Bauhaus and quite a few other influences too. It’s all rather louche and decadent – a perfect fit for a barrio that was once home to writers such as Cervantes and Lope de Vega.

Best for soaking up history: Pestana Plaza Mayor

Pestana

Neighbourhood: Madrid de los Austrias

Occupying the historic Casa de la Carnicería building, which forms part of Madrid’s landmark square, the Plaza Mayor, this new hotel is literally part of the fabric of the city. Contemporary design in the courtyard bar and restaurant draws on the gold, teal and mauve tones used by Velázquez and Goya. Up on the roof, you can gaze across the skyline of slate pinnacles as you slump on a red deckchair by the guests-only pool. In winter, you might prefer to loll in the sumptuous hammam under the brick vaults of the former cellars.

Best for discreet glamour: Relais & Châteaux Orfila

Relax in the refined Italianate terrace

Neighbourhood: Almagro

The ornate design at this boutique hotel still oozes old-school charm. On a quiet street in an elegant, untouristy area that is close to shops, museums and restaurants, the hotel has classic decor in the rooms and a secret Italianate garden at the back. Shaded tables mean you might still be lingering over your breakfast coffee at noon and the terrace is equally inviting for lunch and dinner. You could almost forget to venture out into the city.

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