A veritable jewel box of glowing lights, harlequin furniture, and gilded mirrors, the soaring Barceló Torre de Madrid is the trendiest hotel in town—and one of the newest, opened in February 2017. Jaime Hayón, the Madrid-born designer behind the property’s idiosyncratic interiors, strikes a balance between playfulness (zebra-striped bear sculptures) and drama (photos of flamenco bailaoras with piercing eyes), and it all feels so unapologetically current, from the millennial-pink walls, to the spherical light bulbs, to the microgreen-garnished dishes. Though the Barceló Torre de Madrid is still ironing out some kinks in service, it's on the fast track to become one of the city’s greatest hotels.
Taking concierge services to the next level, Barceló Torre de Madrid’s “The Locals” program invites guests on limited-access experiences with Madrid influencers and intelligentsia including photographers, musicians, nightlife personas, and art historians.
Every room in this 1957 building looks like a page ripped from an avant-garde design magazine. There are gargantuan mirrors with gold inlay, side tables in the form of smiling chimps, and evocative Moorish-inspired photos by Klunderbie. King-size beds—with an array of pillow types—add to the luxe feel; so do balconies and palace views, perks that come with upgraded rooms. Housekeeping staff are meticulous and provide daily turndown service, though “do not disturb” signs are not always heeded (we experienced a rude awakening one morning, literally).
YOU SHOULD KNOW For such a modern hotel, there are surprising technological foibles such as a shortage of HDMI cables, non-functioning bathroom sound systems, absent in-room entertainment, and unconfigured smart TV mirroring.
Bathrooms have a retro luxury feel with zigzag-patterned walls, green marble vanity tops, and monogrammed linens, but there are plenty of modern amenities, too, such as towel warmers, Pure Herbs toiletries, and rain-effect showers.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Some bathrooms have an open format with separate offshoots for toilets and showers; the frosted glass doors to these offer questionable privacy.
A soaring space whose protagonist is a zebra-striped bear sculpture (the emblem of the hotel), the ground-floor lobby is mostly a transit area. The sunny lounge, located two stories above, is better suited to lingering over magazines and coffee-table books.
Check-in is on the second floor. (The person at the podium to the right of the main entrance is a PR rep.)
Get a bird’s-eye view of Madrid from the two-lane lap pool on the 8th floor. “Sensations” showers, a sun terrace, and a sauna are also at guests’ disposal.
Boasting two flat-screen TVs, Technogym cardio equipment, dumbbells, three weightlifting machines, and an assortment of bands and rollers, the fitness center is inviting and well-equipped.
A destination in itself, Somos is an innovative restaurant in the sense that it features two disparate menus for lunch and dinner, the former focusing on minimal, market-fresh Spanish preparations and the latter hinging on international flavors (think braised eggplant with honey, katsuobushi, and smoked cheese).
The outstanding breakfast buffet has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a freshly blitzed smoothie (available in three types), a sampling of artisan regional cheeses, or a slice of Spanish potato omelet. Our only quibble is with the sub-par coffee—it simply doesn’t stack up against the rest of the spread.
Garra Bar is a swanky cocktail spot that stands out for its circular marble bar, sexy recess lighting, and expertly made drinks. There are periodic live concerts; check the hotel’s website for the current lineup.
The hotel’s westerly location means you’re close to the Royal Palace and surrounding sites, but you’ll want to take the metro at Plaza de España (Lines 3 and 10) or Santo Domingo (Line 2) to reach the Retiro and “Golden Triangle” museums.
You’re steps from Conde Duque, Madrid’s hottest new neighborhood, known for its eclectic mix of trendster tapas spots and dusty abuelo bars. Get your caffeine fix at Federal Café (7-minute walk), an American-owned spot that brews the only decent coffee in the vicinity. Come nightfall, head to El Maño (6-minute walk) for old-school tapas (garlicky white anchovies, Spanish-style meatballs, and spicy fried potatoes), or post up at La Carbonera (4-minute walk), a pocket-size “cheese bar” known for its hard-to-find quesos and funky wines by the glass.
Beer lovers unite at Fábrica Maravillas (9-minute taxi), Madrid’s only city-center brewpub. Choose from a dozen draft beers that were brewed just steps from your barstool. If cocktails are more your speed, duck into La Bicicleta, a retro café one block up that transforms into a low-key, dimly lit bar by night.
WHY WE LIKE IT
The Barceló Torre de Madrid awakens all the senses with its mouthwatering cuisine, invigorating wellness center, and eye-catching art and design. Though it would be tempting to just hole up in your comfy room for the duration of your trip, the hotel’s location on Gran Vía, the city’s main artery, puts all of Madrid’s main sights at arm’s length.