Fodor's Expert Review AC Santo Mauro, Autograph Collection
Calle Zurbano 36, Madrid, 28010, Spain See on Map Fodor's Choice
This fin-de-siècle palace in the Chamberí district, first a duke's residence and later the Canadian embassy, is now an intimate luxury hotel (managed by Marriott), an oasis of calm removed from the city center. Hand-painted frescoes crown stately halls and soaring guest rooms, balconies jut out over a tranquil garden, and marble stairways spiral between floors. Despite the Old-World aesthetic, modern amenities abound including a gym area, complete with a sauna and steam room, and a Spanish nueva cocina restaurant.
Rooms are elegant and homey with neutral tones, parquet floors, and contemporary splashes of art; some retain original crown moldings and double-height ceilings. 24-hour room service is a boon to nightclub-going travelers, since late-night food options in this residential neighborhood are few and far between. Upgraded rooms and suites add separate sitting areas with sofas and walk-in closets.
Views vary; request a room with a terrace overlooking the gardens.
Spacious bathrooms sparkle with buffed gray marble and polished chrome fixtures, and some boast clawfoot tubs.
You'll feel like a VIP every time the front-desk staff welcomes you by name. There are two opulently decorated lounges where you can relax with a book or a cocktail (or both). All common areas display striking yet tasteful neoclassical architecture and period furnishings.
Make a beeline for the concierge desk upon arrival to save yourself the hassle of buying tickets to museums and events.
A small sauna and steam room, perennially stocked with fluffy white towels, is available to guests free of charge.
An abbreviated yet functional fitness center features a number of cardio machines, dumbbells, and exercise mats.
La Biblioteca, a formal restaurant serving modern Spanish fare, occupies what used to be the mansion's library. Reservations are required.
The art deco-inspired Gin Bar is renowned for its variegated gin-tónic menu, but the hotel's most memorable feature—weather permitting— is Santo Mauro Gardens, the lush outdoor terrace venue where you can enjoy a quiet drink or a full meal, depending on your mood.
You'll want to set aside a kitty for taxis, since the hotel is approximately three miles from the city's main attractions. The closest metro stop, a 4-minute walk away, is Rubén Darío (Line 5).
Calle Ponzano, Madrid’s trendiest (and least touristy) tapas street, is a 15-minute walk from the hotel. Start your evening at Sala de Despiece, an ultramodern bar serving small plates derived from hand-selected local meats and vegetables, before making your way to Toque de Sal, a swanky bistro-style restaurant that treats ingredients like art. Tortilla lovers shouldn't miss the famous ooey-gooey rendition by nearby Sylkar.
You’ll want to venture slightly south of the hotel to the Salamanca district for exciting nightlife. There’s Ten con Ten (10-minute walk), the buttoned-up “gin bar” that incited Madrid's gin tónic frenzy a decade ago that hasn’t abated since. After a cocktail there, make your way to Arts Club (13-minute walk), a buzzy bar and discoteca that heats up on the weekends with international DJ sets.
WHY WE LIKE IT
You may not be steps from Madrid’s main attractions at AC Santo Mauro, but you’ll thank yourself later: Getting ever so slightly off the tourist track and experiencing a true-blue Madrileño neighborhood will show you an intimate side of the city that most vacationers don’t get to appreciate. Inside the hotel, there’s lots to love as well, from the sleek yet comfortable rooms, to the well-equipped gym and sauna, to the breathtakingly gorgeous garden terrace.