January 11, 2023
Tablet is your source for discovering the world’s most exciting boutique hotels — places where you’ll find a memorable experience, not just a room for the night. For over twenty years we’ve scoured the earth, evaluating hotels for every taste and budget, creating a hand-picked selection that’s proven and unforgettable. Now, we’re the official hotel selection of the legendary MICHELIN Guide.
Here are the top 10 boutique hotels in Madrid, Spain.
Madrid’s got luxe old grand hotels, and it’s got striking modern boutique hotels. And in Urso Hotel & Spa, it’s got a bit of both. Set in a stately early 20th-century palace, Urso’s neo-classical architecture complements the modernist oak and marble interiors by Antonio Obrador, the celebrated Spanish designer who was also behind its sister hotel Cap Rocat, a majestic, renovated 19th-century military fortress in Majorca. At the center of the city, sandwiched between the residential neighborhood Chamberi and the trendy Chueca district, URSO is surrounded by embassy buildings, local cafés, upscale boutiques, and the new Barceló food market, which delivers the hotel’s fresh Iberico ham daily.
Thoughtful, design-conscious touches make it clear that URSO is much more than the sum of its (very aesthetically pleasing) parts. Many of the building’s original features — such as an elevator, a grand marble staircase, and a stained-glass windows — were lovingly restored. Even the Chinois wallpaper accenting the lobby is authentic — re-created from wallpaper found in another neighboring palace. Meanwhile, light-filled rooms, airy neutrals, and drum-shaped lampshades will make you feel at home rather than at a museum.
The grand old square that is the Plaza Mayor is one of Madrid’s most prestigious addresses, not to mention picturesque, and with a head start like that, the Pestana Plaza Mayor Madrid almost can’t help being one of the Spanish capital’s most extraordinary hotels. Some luxury boutique hotels are neither fish nor fowl, but this one is the best of both worlds: as luxe and elegant as its elevated setting demands, and as stylish as many of the city’s dedicated design hotels.
It’s made from two heritage buildings married together, and details from the historical architecture show through — some rooms feature charmingly uneven brickwork, and the rooms facing the square have delightful little balconies. References to Goya, Velázquez, and Spain’s Islamic tradition lend depth to the design, and little luxuries like Nespresso machines and marble bathrooms underline the hotel’s upmarket status.
It would be difficult to overstate just how famous the Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is in Madrid, where he spent nine seasons at the peak of his career. Here, on the Spanish capital’s Gran Vía, is the first Pestana CR7 hotel outside of Portugal, and it’s a perfect synthesis of the brand and the place: like its cousins in Lisbon and Funchal it’s a modern design hotel whose graphics and artwork are full of tributes to the sporting life, and as you’d expect from a luxury hotel in Madrid it’s set in a century-old building whose architecture is an ever-present reminder of this city’s regal character.
Each floor bears an inscription with a different motivational motto, and every room, from the cozy Cabins to the top-end CR7 Studios features clean contemporary décor and up-to-date comforts like 49-inch televisions and built-in USB chargers. The hotel’s “Fitness Box,” as you’d expect, is rather more elaborate than a typical hotel gym, with facilities for functional training and yoga and meditation sessions. And three dining/drinking venues serve as the hotel’s social spaces: a pizzeria from one of the founders of Roberta’s in Brooklyn, a lounge that takes the “sports bar” genre in an unusually luxurious direction, and a terraced rooftop bar with a 360° view of the city.
Madrid may be the more conservative of Spain’s big cities, but there’s plenty of modern design, made all the more striking by the contrast with the city’s prevailing classic architecture, much of it dating to the 18th century and earlier. In the center of Habsburg Madrid, near the Puerta del Sol, stands the Hotel Urban, a stunning modern structure surrounded by centuries-old buildings, its metal and glass construction standing out against the neighboring stonework. Contemporary design isn’t the whole story, though. The Urban may have the slightly edgy, industrial feel of the most stylish new boutiques, but it adds to this formula a generous helping of individuality.
Owner Jordi Clos is not just a successful hotelier but a noted art collector as well, and the head of an archaeological society whose collection the Urban was designed to display. A basement gallery houses a permanent collection of ancient Egyptian artworks, and the guest rooms are furnished with antique Hindu and Chinese pieces, complete with explanatory notes in the manner of a museum program. The result is a engaging: while many “design hotels” resemble nothing so much as art galleries, with their blank white walls and minimalistic furnishings, the art is conspicuously absent. The Urban, in contrast, is a rich and welcoming space, and the art-museum trappings don’t even begin to introduce a note of sterility or emptiness.
Madrid’s Hotel Villa Real may be a bit more traditional in style than its sister, Barcelona’s Claris — but that’s to be expected, given the stylistic differences between the two cities. The Villa Real may not be an ultra-modern design showcase, but for conservative Madrid, it’s downright striking, Roman mosaics from the collection of owner Jordi Clos mixing with modern furnishings and classical 19th-century Spanish architecture.
Rooms are spacious and calming, with soundproof windows and rich leather furnishings. All have satellite TV and 24-hour room service, and many are split-level, with separate sitting areas. The Royal Suite features a whirlpool bath, the Family Rooms spread out across two levels, and the Junior Suites are laid out in an airy open-plan design.
It took a while, but the Hospes group has moved into the capital. The patented Hospes formula (classic building, modern-luxe interiors, signature spa and restaurant) is on display in this classic 19th-century building just off the Plaza de la Indepencia, deep in the heart of Madrid.
The forty-one rooms and suites are an object lesson in contemporary luxury design, spare but not minimal, very short on ornament but nevertheless plush in all the right places. This, most notably, means highly efficient (and well-lighted) modern bathrooms and endlessly comfortable furnishings, including great heaping king beds.
When the first One Shot hotel opened, we had a feeling that, despite the name, there’d be more. After all, who can resist a stylish, youthful update to Madrid’s stately, formal atmosphere? Hotel One Shot Fortuny 07 is located in Almagro, an upscale neighborhood that’s home to embassies, art galleries, expensive homes, and high-end shops and restaurants. Which is to say, a hotel could get away with being a whole lot more conservative than this one.
Instead you’ll find these elegant spaces, with their hardwood floors and Art Deco flourishes, livened up with curvaceous modern furniture, adventurous contemporary artworks, and accents in eye-popping Klein blue. Single rooms start out at a cozy 15 square meters, but come with comfy beds, work desks, and rainfall showers. And as you move up into Executive and Premium rooms, on your way up to the One Shot Suite, you’ll add plenty of interior space, and, in the suite, a bathtub and a private terrace.
One of the underrated charms of traveling in Spain is the presence of the NH Hotel Group, which specializes in a certain understated luxury and an equally understated — but always handsome — modernist-inflected style. And handsome understatement is a perfect style for the regal city of Madrid, home to several NH hotels, including the NH Collection Madrid Gran Vía.
The Gran Vía itself lives up to the promise of its name — this is Madrid’s central thoroughfare, convenient to any number of commercial and cultural destinations. The hotel occupies a restored heritage building that’s right in the thick of the action, but by the time you reach the reception, on the eighth floor, the noise of the streets is left far behind, thanks in part to the tranquil atmosphere and also to modern interior construction and quality soundproofing.
By now the idea that Barcelona is the fun one and Madrid is the serious one is simply a long-dead stereotype. But there is something to be said for the way that Madrid’s gems often lie hidden beneath a stately and sober exterior. Hotel Unico is a case in point: behind an elegant 19th-century facade in the city’s swanky Salamanca district is a 44-room boutique hotel that serves up contemporary style with a generous side of sophistication.
And while it’s perhaps a bit more grown up than the average boutique hotel, its design references reaching back a half-century or more, the Unico is as up-to-date as anything in Spain. While it’s not exactly a traditional luxury hotel, it’s not short on luxuries — there’s round-the-clock room service, a pillow menu for picky sleepers, and plenty of modern gadgetry.
The Spanish royal city of Madrid is well stocked with opulent hotels, but one of the most luxurious is this representative of a homegrown brand: Gran Meliá Palacio de los Duques. Given the name, it may not surprise you to know that this extravagant city-center hotel was once an aristocratic residence, specifically a 19th-century palace belonging to a pair of dukes. And while the renovation required to bring it up to modern five-star standards was a thorough one, enough of the original architecture remains to ensure that the Palacio still feels like a palace, rather than just another luxury hotel.
The rooms are decorated in a color palette that’s an explicit homage to the paintings of Velázquez, which lends a memorable aspect to all of the lodgings, from the Classic rooms to the Penthouse and Royal suites. The comforts are first-rate, from the baths, beds, and bedding to the soundproofing and lightproofing — the last a particular concern under the blazing Spanish sun. And no fewer than three restaurants deliver on the promise of Spain’s fine culinary reputation — the best of them, Dos Cielos, serves the creations of the Torres brothers, a pair of Michelin-starred chefs.
After a long day of walking all the plazas and eating all the tapas, a spa hits the spot. The following boutique hotels have the goods:
Pestana Plaza Mayor
Hotel Unico Madrid
Urso Hotel & Spa Madrid
Hospes Puerta d'Alcala
VP Plaza España Design
There’s nothing like a view of Madrid from above. The following boutique hotels have excellent rooftop terraces:
NH Collection Madrid Suecia
Pestana Plaza Mayor
The Principal Madrid
VP Plaza España Design