It’s time for another round-up of stylish places to stay in some of my favourite destinations, and today I’m turning my attention to Madrid.
I’ve visited the vibrant Spanish capital several times over the years – most recently at the end of the ‘Sunny Design Days’ tour in July, when I couldn’t resist tagging a quick city break onto the end of the week – and I’ve always been captivated by its energy. It may lack the major sights of Paris and Berlin, but it’s full of charm: maze-like alleys open onto grand boulevards and 17th-century plazas, and the whole place is brimming with innovative restaurants, cutting-edge boutiques and lively bars (this is famously a city which never sleeps). It’s also home to plenty of wonderful hotels – here are my top recommendations…
7 Islas Hotel
I’m starting with the place where I stayed during my last visit to Madrid. Located between the bustling Gran Vía and the hip neighbourhood of Malasaña, it’s a stylish yet affordable base in the heart of the city. The hotel was originally founded by the Canarian grandfather of the sisters who now run it (hence the name 7 Islas, which refers to the seven islands of the Canaries), and has recently undergone a total transformation thanks to eccentric design store Kikekeller.
The 79 rooms blend airy minimalism with subtle industrial touches. You’ll find black crittall doors, eye-catching woven headboards, bespoke furniture created from salvaged metal and monochrome bathrooms with toiletries by Malin + Goetz, plus pops of colour in the form of rugs from Spanish brand GAN. Downstairs is a vast lobby and lounge-bar with an open fireplace and a menu of drinks and snacks; from there, steps lead down to the vine-entwined breakfast room in the basement. And, if you want to explore Madrid on two wheels, there are bikes to hire outside.
7 Islas Hotel, calle Valverde 14, 28004 Madrid; double rooms from €90 per night.
Set on the Gran Vía itself, Praktik Metropol is another good-value option with a super-central location. The 68 simple but stylish rooms were created by famous interior designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán (who I had the pleasure of meeting during the ‘Sunny Design Days’ tour) and combine vintage and Scandinavian influences. All have white-panelled walls, leather chairs, sculptural black lighting and compact bathrooms, plus rows of pegs for storage; particularly popular are the corner rooms, which boast banks of windows on three sides. The lobby doubles as a lounge, with comfy armchairs clustered around a fireplace and a long wooden table where you can tuck into breakfast or coffee. But the real treat lies on the ninth floor, where you’ll find a terrace with loungers, walls of plants and a panoramic view out over the city rooftops.
Praktik Metropol, calle de la Montera 47, 28013 Madrid; double rooms from €80 per night.
Also on the Gran Vía but a step up in terms of price and luxury is Dear Hotel. It occupies a towering white building topped by an ornate dome, overlooking the tree-lined Plaza de España. The 162 Nordic-inspired rooms are minimalist and serene, with Marset lighting and upholstery in subtle shades of grey and taupe; effective sound-proofing means they’re also incredibly peaceful, despite the busy road below.
I haven’t stayed at the hotel but I have eaten in its top-floor restaurant, Nice To Meet You – a light-filled space perched 14 storeys above the city, with sweeping views in every direction. It was designed by the renowned Tarruella Trenchs Studio and serves up sophisticated dishes fusing Spanish and Asian influences – think red tuna and tomato tartar or gyoza filled with Iberican ox cheek. Best of all, it opens onto a rooftop terrace with a bar and plunge pool – the perfect spot for cocktails during Madrid’s sultry summer months.
Dear Hotel, Gran Vía 80, 28013 Madrid; double rooms from €120 per night.
Tótem Hotel opened its doors in 2016 and quickly won rave reviews for its quiet, understated luxury. It sits in the refined district of Salamanca (home to high-end restaurants and designer boutiques), in a beautifully restored building which dates from the 1800s, but the interiors take their inspiration from an altogether different era. With its potted palms, blue velvet sofas and panelled walls, the ground-floor cocktail bar evokes the glamour of the 1920s – as does the adjoining bistro, which is named after F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Beautiful and the Damned (Hermosos y Malditos in Spanish). Designed by Paco Llonch, the 64 rooms above blend sophisticated whites and greys with splashes of chartreuse and yellow. All encompass banquette-style seating areas and sleek black wall lamps by Serge Mouille; some also have statement pieces from Scandinavia, including Space Copenhagen’s ‘Fly’ sofa for &tradition in the suites.
Tótem Hotel, calle de Hermosilla 23, 28001 Madrid; double rooms from €110 per night.
The Hat is more a boutique hostel than a hotel, but it’s a great option for visitors on a tight budget. Many of the spaces are shared dorms – albeit stylish ones with bespoke plywood furniture and crisp white linen – but there are also airy ensuite double rooms for those who prefer privacy. The lobby houses a bar clad in striking monochrome tiling, and there’s even a lantern-lit roof terrace where you can feast on tapas long into the night. As for the location, it’s ideal for exploring – just behind Plaza Mayor in Las Asturias (the oldest quarter of Madrid), surrounded by restaurants and less than five minutes’ walk from the gourmet delights of the famous San Miguel market.
The Hat, calle Imperial 9, Madrid 28012; double rooms from €60 per night.
Top image, 7 Islas Hotel image 8 and Dear Hotel image 10 by Abi Dare; all other photography via the respective hotels