Madrid is arguably best known for two things: football and art. Real Madrid are the most successful, and probably most recognisable, club in European competition; El Prado is regularly named one of the best art museums in the world.
The allure of these two institutions alone draws thousands of visitors to the city each year, but Madrid is far more than a two-trick pony.
It’s a sprawling, diverse, lively and cosmopolitan town, with streets and lanes winding through its heart which are packed with exciting new spots to discover.
At its centre, adjacent to the famous Puerta del Sol and moments away from the Royal Palace, is a gorgeous edifice, originally built to house no fewer than seven banks, which now plays host to an international icon of luxury hospitality: Four Seasons Hotel Madrid.
The hotel has become a place where visitors and locals come together to enjoy the finest food, drink and surroundings the city has to offer.
Why Stay Here?
Firstly, it’s convenient – the journey from the airport is only around 25 minutes, and once settled in, you are moments from most of the main city attractions. Business travellers will find the financial hub of the area just a few minutes’ walk away; tourists will be able to reach all major landmarks, as well as the lesser-known places which are always more fun, in similarly short order. Restaurants, bars, theatres, and even the casino are all on your doorstep, but the real standout features are in the hotel itself.
These days, a hotel is not truly luxurious without its own spa, and Four Seasons Madrid certainly doesn’t let the team down in this department. It takes over the top four floors of the building, with a fitness centre and treatment rooms in the lower section and a beautiful rooftop pool at the top. Natural light floods the pool area from the gargantuan skylight above, and the terrace section which surrounds it is perfect for lounging in the sun after a swim. Early risers will find reclining here to watch the sun come up over the city skyline a wonderful, peaceful beginning to the day.
Downstairs, the hotel sprawls through the period building it occupies. There are more than 1,500 works of contemporary Spanish art decorating the corridors, rooms and suites – a collection it took more than five years to curate, bespoke to the hotel – and roaming the halls to discover it all is an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. Guidebooks are available in your room to help you find your way around and identify each piece.
How’s the food?
The lobby is home to the first of three dining spaces, known as El Patio. The opening of this hotel coincided with the downturn in international travel, but the intention was always to offer luxury hospitality to the city’s residents as well as her guests, and El Patio is key to this – a quickly-built reputation for being the best place to pop into for afternoon snack and drinks prevails today. One floor up, Isa serves a modern Asian-Mediterranean blend of cuisine, in elegant low-lit surroundings and with a soundtrack provided by resident DJs. Locals flock here for the experimental cocktail menu, presented with no small amount of panache and drama and featuring spirits often re-distilled and refined in the in-house “lab”.
Like the dinner menu, the cocktail list evolves regularly, meaning repeat visits always involve new discovery.
Dani Brasserie comprises a restaurant, terrace and bar spanning the hotel’s fifth floor. It is presented in collaboration with the Spanish celebrity chef Dani Garcia, shares the rest of the property’s commitment to refined-but-relaxed atmospheres, and combines seasonal Andalusian cuisine with signature dishes from Garcia’s long and illustrious career. The lunchtime set “Best of Dani” menu is a great way to explore the chef’s past triumphs and familiarise yourself with a modern icon of Spanish cooking.
When service is not in full flow the terrace remains open for snacks, drinks and coffee, and the views from here of the bustling city streets are the perfect accompaniment to all three.
Breakfast is also served in Dani – this side of the building is best-placed to watch the rising of the sun with your choice of continental buffet or comprehensive a la carte.
What are the rooms like?
The heritage of the building is key to the design of the current incarnation, with many period features retained and restored. Original parquet flooring is found throughout, along with period detailing to the ceilings and even some original (and extremely heavy) doors in the corridors.
The palatial Royal Suite was once the office of the president of the bank first found here; the high ceilings, marble fireplace and carved wood throughout are preserved from his time there.
While not all of the accommodation here boasts its own fitness area and dining room, they do all have their own unique works from that incredible art collection. Even the smallest spaces here are generous by other city standards, such is the scale of the place, and the attention to detail of the design makes the whole place feel like home as soon as you step through the door.
Whether you choose to spend most of your time here recharging on-site or head out to explore the local area (Barrio de las Letras is just outside, and full of hidden gems), it will be the little personal touches which elevate your experience. From the moment you arrive the team here are paying close attention, and any little hints from even the slightest conversation will lead to thoughtful, personal and impressively pertinent enhancements to your stay. It makes the place truly feel like home.
Rooms from €900. fourseasons.com