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Madrid is home to some of the most extravagant boutique hotels in Europe. Set out of sight above street level or in former palaces, these hotels are more than just a place to sleep in Spain’s capital.
Whether you’re admiring masters in the Prado Museum, boating on the Retiro park lake or dining on tapas in the La Latina district, you’ll undoubtedly be charmed by the style and beauty of Madrid. Rather than staying in a bland, chain hotel, enhance your Madrid experience with a boutique stay. Options are plentiful; how about a duke’s former residence, or perhaps an LGBTQ-friendly hotel with a cave bar?
Considering this hotel’s name – a nod to the seven Canary Islands – you won’t be surprised to hear that founder Juan Rosa is from Lanzarote. Opening the hotel in 2002, he envisioned a haven for fellow islanders when visiting the Spanish capital. In 2012, his three granddaughters took over and updated the boutique to appeal to a wider crowd. The family-owned hotel now has an art gallery, a gastrobar and a luxurious penthouse with a private terrace. Redesigned by the Kikekeller design studio, it has mid-century modern decor and an industrial feel. It’s situated in the heart of the hip Malasaña neighbourhood, so you can browse vintage shops and sip on craft beer and coffee at any number of popular bars in the area.
Historic 19th-century architecture collides with contemporary design at this cosy boutique in the La Latina neighbourhood, a stone’s throw from Plaza Mayor and the busy public square, Puerta del Sol. Work by local artists decorates the bedroom walls, while exposed wooden beams give the space a rustic feel. You can while away an evening at the in-house restaurant, La Enotaberna, and enjoy one of more than 300 bottles of Spanish wine. Sample a traditional dish of cocido madrileño, a hearty stew of chickpeas, sausages, and vegetables native to Madrid.
Located in the historic Las Letras neighbourhood, Axel Hotel is aimed at LGBTQ travellers, while also describing itself as hetero-friendly; staff create a welcoming atmosphere for all sexual orientations. Bedrooms are stately and glamorous, while the rest of the hotel is inspired by the 1980s with striking designs, bold graphics and colour pops. The ’80s decor references La Movida Madrileña, a time in Madrid’s history when the gay rights movement was in full swing. After a long day, lounge by the rooftop terrace pool or enjoy a late-night cocktail in the underground cave bar.
Set in a 19th-century building in the upscale Salamanca neighbourhood, Relais and Châteaux stays true to its historic roots. Decorated with handpicked period furniture, each room is unique, setting Hotel Orfila apart from the cookie-cutter chains. Dining is as decadent as the decor, with the Michelin-star El Jardín de Orfila on site. If you’re looking to relax, head to the private and serene back garden.
In a city that allows dogs on trains and in many bars and restaurants, there is no reason to leave your pooch behind. For a small daily surcharge, pets are welcome at Hotel Hospes Puerta de Alcalá. Handily, the hotel is situated right next to Retiro Park, one of the largest green spaces in Madrid, so you can go on a scenic dog walk before grabbing lunch at one of the nearby terraces. After exploring, hit up the elegant spa in the hotel, where you can get a massage or a facial or just unwind in the large jacuzzi.
Live like royalty at the former residence of the Duke of Santo Mauro, a member of the Madrid elite during the late 1800s. You can now relax in decadent common areas such as the Red Room, or dine in the former library, which has since been turned into a lavish dining room. If the bustle of the city gets overwhelming, escape to the lush garden terrace for a drink or two.
Leon Beckenham contributed additional reporting to this article.