Worthy of an empress as its name implies, Barceló Emperatriz is a swanky property tucked away on a tree-shaded block of Barrio Salamanca, the neighborhood just north or Retiro Park known for its upmarket shopping and restaurants. The hotel caters to your every need with knowledgeable concierge services, healthy breakfast options, and a surprisingly extensive pillow menu. The front desk will even provide a portable wifi hotspot free of charge, a boon to travelers who don’t have international roaming.
YOU SHOULD KNOW This hotel is a 10-minute drive from the center of town (and therefore, most tourist attractions), so set aside a kitty for taxis.
Even the entry-level Deluxe rooms feature king-size beds at Barceló Emperatriz, a testament to the hotel’s uncompromising commitment to luxury. Hardwoods, oversize mirrors, and comfy divans add to the opulence, as do private terraces and in-room hot tubs, perks you’ll find in the suites and Premium Empress categories.
Certain Premium rooms are designed to accommodate three guests.
Fluffy monogrammed towels, robes, and slippers feel like a warm hug after luxuriating in the rainfall showers and deep-sink tubs. Some bathrooms feature sliding walls that open into the bedroom.
On the smaller side for a hotel of this caliber, the lobby makes up for its size with comfortable seating, fresh flower displays, and welcoming front-desk staffers.
There’s a small pool on the rooftop terrace ideal for quick dips during Madrid’s hot summer months.
The compact fitness room, adequate for basic training, features cardio machines and big-screen TVs.
Though relatively unknown to locals and frequently empty, Mutis—the nueva cocina Spanish restaurant located inside the hotel—serves a truly delectable seafood-forward menu. Rice dishes are particularly standout.
Barceló Emperatriz is a 6-minute walk to the Gregorio Marañón metro stop (Lines 7 and 10). Count on taking a taxi back to the hotel if you’re out after 1:30 a.m. (as the metro closes at that time).
The Salamanca district boasts two of the best spots in the city for tortilla de patata, Spanish potato omelette: Casa Dani (6-minute taxi), a noisy bar tucked in the back corner of Mercado de la Paz, and Estay (8-minute walk), a stylish restaurant with a fantastic €2.50 breakfast deal. After sundown, embark on a tapas crawl through the east side of the neighborhood, hitting La Bien Aparecida (wine and finger food), Cinco Jotas (premium jamón ibérico), and Ultramarinos Quintín (rawbar and flatbreads), all located 6 minutes from the hotel by taxi.
The quiet streets surrounding the hotel belie a number of exciting nightlife venues. Start your evening at Ten con Ten (5-minute taxi), the swanky “gin bar” that incited the gin tónic frenzy a decade ago that hasn’t abated since. Then, make your way to Arts Club (9-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 Barceló Emperatriz, but the hotel is a vacation in itself with its designer décor, decadent rooms, and impeccable service. Real Madrid fans will appreciate its proximity to Santiago Bernabeu stadium, and every type of traveler will feel at home in Barrio Salamanca, a true-blue Madrileño neighborhood with hidden-gem hangouts around every corner.